Hmmm. I wasn’t sure about writing about the death of Isabelle Caro, but decided some folks could use this information as a warning. But now that I think about it, most people with eating disorders don’t give a shit about dying from their illness. Nevertheless, I’m posting this. By the way, Isabelle was barely 5’5″ and weighed a mere 68 lbs.
“Paris – A French model who allowed images of her skeletal frame to be photographed and distributed in a shock awareness campaign of the dangers of anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders has died, according to media reports.
Isabelle Caro stood 1.64 metres, but weighed only 31 kilograms, when she disrobed and allowed herself to be photographed by celebrity photographer Oliviero Toscani in 2007. The ad campaign highlighting her emaciated figure drew immediate worldwide attention.
Caro died in mid-November after a two-week hospitalization for a lung infection, the Swiss website 20minutes.ch reported Wednesday. Paris Match reported that she was in Japan at the time of her death.
Her age was listed as somewhere between 28 and 30. She first suffered symptoms of anorexia when she was 12 and endured several hospital visits after nearly starving herself to death.
‘You’re stuffed with awful food like a fattened goose. You’re forced to gain weight,’ she said once. ‘And as soon as you’re released, you lose all the weight again. At least that’s the way it was with me.’
Two years ago, she [Isabelle] released an autobiography titled The Little Girl Who Didn’t Want To Get Fat.
The thought-provoking photos of Caro were simultaneously an awareness campaign, but also advertising for an Italian fashion line. Toscani also photographed AIDS patients and dead soldiers for the campaign.”
An “ambassador for anorexia“? If Isabelle meant pro-ana, she probably was–but she certainly wasn’t an ambassador for recovery. Most of you guys know my sitch. In 2008, I weighed 95 lbs. and 5’7″ and spent some time at an eating disorder clinic. Yes, I had one excellent therapist, with whom I received daily one-on-one treatment, but it took my own fight or flight brain mechanism to get me out of that place. I hated the time I spent there (with the exception of one wonderful young woman I met there). But no matter how much I detested being there, I know for a FACT I’d be dead had I not gone to the facility. I woke the eff UP. Mostly.
Eating disorders are a slew of strange monsters who inhabit and completely take over one’s entire psyche. Most people with ED have physical/sexual/emotional abuse of some sort in their past. It’s truly the root of the self-destruction, and quite honestly, it never goes away completely. I know I hear that voice in my head still – but I try to not give in – and have been fairly successful. Unlike Isabelle (who was much younger than me) I gained weight like a mofo when I got home. My metabolism was so jacked up that I just piled on the pounds. I went through the embarrassment of being far too thin at one point, then embarrassed at the huge (to me, anyway) weight gain that came afterward. I’ll admit that ED is a crazy, self-imposed (?) road to the ultimate self-destruction. I kept saying, “God, I’m not like THEM!”, mainly because I wasn’t a bulimic. Whatever. I was just like the others.
I am toying with the idea of reading Portia De Rossi’s book, “Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain“, but I fear my loved-ones will think I am headed down that dark road again. I’m not. I’m not one of those chicks who goes on the pro-ana sites to learn “tips” on how to be thin. I really admire Portia. The analogy she gave that “a size 8 foot will never fit into a size 6 shoe” was interesting. I know that the weight I am right now is probably where I should be; but this body did fit into a Size 0 at one point, so I’m not sure Portia’s analogy is 100% psychologically accurate in the mind of an anorexic.
What’s my point? I don’t know. Isabelle Caro should be a cautionary tale, but I don’t think it will change an active anorexic’s mind. The girls I met at the ED facility seemingly had no interest in getting better. They were (mostly) girls in their early 20’s, whose parents sent them for treatment. A few of girls had been “residents” (they didn’t call us patients) for months and began to refer to the place as “home”. That freaked me right out. It sure wasn’t MY idea of “home’.
So. Another example of what can happen when you mistreat and starve your body of nourishment. You know how some people EAT when they’re sad, depressed or feeling “less than”? I did the opposite. I didn’t think I deserved the delicious food, because food was always a reward, or a celebration. I wanted to disappear because I was so sad about the past trauma in my life, as well as current issues that were thrust upon me. I was hardened quite a bit after coming home from “The Facility”. I couldn’t cry for over two years. I felt nothing, except maybe anger, resentment and mistrust.
God, this all reads like a 9th grader’s diary. Sorry. Some things just come back to haunt me, and I’m glad I have a place to dump it all.
I hope Isabelle can rest now.