For the last few years, this “Anna Rexia” costume has been making its rounds on the web right every Halloween.
While some may take it lightly, to Jessi Davin, this costume was no joke—because that skeleton was her.
The costume mocking the disease inspired her to write a powerful blog post that is speaking volumes about the experiences of those who suffer from eating disorders.
In her blog post, Davin opens saying, “Real sexy huh? Not really. This is “Anna Rexia’s” real monstrous face.
She continued, “Think Anorexia is funny? Sorry. I am a survivor and find NOTHING cute about this.” Davin then outlined what it really takes to dress up like an anorexic…
All it takes is:
-4 years of hospitalization
-A nasogastric feeding-tube because you’ve starved yourself so much that your body doesn’t recognize food as a good thing and tries to attack itself.
-Re-Feeding Syndrome, which can kill you.
-Emotional struggles for years.
-A father crying and pleading on his knees begging for you to get help
-A mother who cries every time she sees you because you look and SMELL like death.
-Holidays missed, birthdays crying in a hospital.
-Almost every major organ in your body failing.
-A shower chair – because you can’t stand in the shower because you’re too weak and the warm water could make you pass out.
-A wheelchair, because you are too weak to walk and it could make you go into cardiac arrest.
-A lifetime of medications for anxiety and the health issues “Anna Rexia” caused.
-Plenty of money for multiple ER trips due to “Anna Rexia” even in recovery.
-And if you don’t get help like I do, or even if you do, a coffin. Because I’ve lost more friends to this eating disorder then anything I’ve ever faced.
-I almost died from this. I know it’s supposed to be funny [and] yeah I get that, but seriously.
In the two years since Davin first shared her story, her post has been shared thousands of times across different social networks.
“I definitely didn’t expect it to get so big,” she told BuzzFeed. “I’m very happy it did. Even if I did put myself out there into a vulnerable spot.”Davin’s just glad that her transparency has been able to raise awareness and paint an accurate picture of how dangerous eating disorders really are.
It may look all cute and punny when tied in an adorably sexy “Anna Rexia” bow and draped on a full-figured woman.
But what that risqué little skeleton can’t show is the excruciating pain behind those dainty ribs and the sheer mental torture lying behind that cute little bone-bow on her head.
Eating disorders aren’t cute. They are serious. They are painful. They are life-draining. And when you’re caught in the middle of them, ED’s are the deepest black holes of misery guised as a girl who “just wants to be skinny.”
She concluded her post saying, “Want to dress as “Anna Rexia”? Just go as a Vampire, or a Zombie. Because 1/3 of us are dead.”
“I think eating disorders are a disease a lot of people really don’t take seriously in the first place, and to see that costume really just made me think ‘OK. I can’t be silent about this anymore. I need to show the harsh reality that is anorexia. It’s not a joke.’ So I did just that,” said Davin.
“I think costumes like [‘Anna Rexia’] really show how much we as a society have to learn about mental illness and the way it affects the people around us,” she said. “People need to know that if you suffer from an eating disorder — you aren’t a joke.
Though it was scary to put herself out there, nothing could be as scary as watching girls prance around in a costume that glamorizes such a devastating disease.
Her post has already helped so many people. Families of loved ones suffering from eating disorders have reached out to thank her for helping them understand, and some people have said that her post was the final revelation that they needed to get help for themselves.
Davin recently got married and has a daughter on the way. Because of her illness, it is a high-risk pregnancy.
“If my post helps spread awareness for anorexia and other eating disorders and helps those who don’t understand maybe comprehend just a little bit more,” she said, “then I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.”
But she’s currently back in treatment to make sure her anorexia doesn’t affect the health of her baby girl.
She’s received all kinds of reactions. Family members of people with eating disorders have thanked me for giving them a better understanding. Some people have told her that her post made them realize they needed to get help.
The ED battle is a brutal one, but Davin’s not giving up until she wins. And her fight has been an inspiration to so many.
“If my post helps spread awareness for anorexia and other eating disorders and helps those who don’t understand maybe comprehend just a little bit more,” she said, “then I’ve accomplished what I set out to do,” said Davin.