Skinny As Hell
A memoir to pass on education and hope to women and men who suffer from eating disorders.
Skinny As Hell: A Rite Of Passage
To cope with intense emotional and mental pain stemming from childhood, Marissa developed both anorexia and bulimia. Though often numbed by her eating disorder, she was extremely fearful of everything life presented to her. By bingeing and purging her food, she avoided memories, nightmares, and family trauma, resulting in the deterioration of her mind and body. Though medicated since a young age and sent to a “premier” eating disorder rehab a few years prior, Marissa found herself relapsing. Her parents then sent her to Purposes, a rehab center fully covered by her HMO insurance. She had no idea what awaited her there.
Skinny As Hell is a rite of passage – almost. When Marissa enters Purposes hoping to recover from both anorexia and bulimia, she realizes that this center isn’t a place to get well, but rather a place to survive. A journey toward (or away from) recovery, Skinny As Hell speaks to the emotional complexity of the human condition, the psychological warfare of mental disorders, and the many downfalls of the American insurance system.
Through her extensive experience at rehabs, Marissa highlights the pitfalls of common rehab ideology, and how that ideology can further damage the rehab patient psychologically. It also encourages recovery by focusing on the root cause of the eating disorder (one’s identity) by approaching oneself in the opposite way depicted at Purposes: with understanding and love.
Purpose, Love, & Understanding
Skinny As Hell seeks to enlighten the reader as to the true and demoralizing conditions of a modern day American eating disorder rehab. Marissa's experience at "Purposes" encapsulates the ugly side of eating disorder treatment centers, where girls are taught that they are to blame for their ED. At such centers, men and women are taught they will not escape the battle with their behaviors in this lifetime, and therefore must fight and struggle to survive for the remainder of their days.
Throughout the book, Marissa alludes to a better and more successful way of recovery, one centered around purpose, love, and understanding.