Wednesday, 9 October 2013

$69.7 Billion Worth of Misery

An organization referred to as the National Eating Disorder Collaboration in Australia produced an info-graphic which showed the estimated total social and economic cost of eating disorders in that country to be 69.7 billion in 2012. I can't speak to how this dollar value was derived or its accuracy - but suffice it to say there's a whole lotta' misery going on. Let's consider that price-tag for a moment - that is more than four times the value of the total BC health budget. I have tried not to harp on this issue - instead dwelling rather annoyingly on my failing kidneys - and that should be an indication of the shame associated with this topic for me. But I have been thinking lately that I would be abundantly annoyed if at some point my passing is described on an official document like a death certificate, as a product of a faulty organ - and I am telling you here and now - that will by no measure be the reason why. I suspect it won't make any difference - and I won't be around to argue about it - but it is suddenly important to me that the facts are straight. I won't get into the details of where I currently am as I know numbers and talk of the specifics can be incredibly triggering to someone who is suffering - but I will say that even the prospect of death hasn't warmed its icy grip. Rock bottom after rock bottom and still...But this, despite the uncomfortably personal nature of what I have shared, is not about me - it is about the prospect of shaking some anonymous someone who has a son or daughter, friend or acquaintance in danger of falling down this rabbit-hole. You may not be able to stop them - but maybe you can cushion their fall.
I know that people in all sorts of desperate circumstances find hope - in circumstances far more despairing than my own and I really do want the glass to be half full. But I am trying so hard to speak the truth - to call a spade a spade as if it really matters. This is one of those times when this blog is equivalent to a confessional - where the penance is the incredible risk of being written off as just another nutty nobody who lacked gumption. And that is where I sit - perched on the precipice of being entirely dismissed by trying to tell you just how real this can be and the dollar value of this lost cause? Priceless...


  1. Hi Michelle, we've never met but I also spent many years at the BC MoH, as a consultant, and I'm sure we have many mutual friends and acquaintances. Your blog was passed along to me by a friend in Victoria (I'm from there as well but currently living in the Philippines) and I've read, and appreciated, it all. Someone close to me has struggled with eating disorders and I've passed your URL to her as well. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us - you are much appreciated.

    1. Thank-you for taking the time to write Susan - and my heart goes out to your friend and to you - as I know it can not be easy supporting someone in this situation. very much appreciate your note...