Hungry for Words: An interdisciplinary approach to articulating, communicating and understanding male anorexia nervosa
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Hungry for Words

This project focuses on the problems and perspectives of articulating, communicating and understanding anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders affecting men and boys.
 

 

For Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2019 we want to take poems out into the public and have asked people who are passionate about the project - GPs, nurses, students, teachers and siblings – to lend their voice reading them aloud.

Note: The poem below is personal, raw and honest. Some people may find it triggering although it is not intended so.

‘Healthy stethoscope’ by Caren Garfen

Healthy Stethoscope for Hungry for Words website

"The 'Healthy Stethoscope' is a take on the daily examinations performed on a person suffering from an eating disorder. Miniature versions of healthy food items were placed in the diaphragm to represent the small portion sizes ingested by the sufferer on their road to recovery." - Caren Garfen

 

"No Sugar" transcript

My brother won’t eat
sugar or fat,
meat or flour.
He runs 18 miles
on a cup of
oatmeal.
His eyes are black
and his fingers
like bone.
I hear his shoes
slapping the pavement
at midnight.
He flies like
a hummingbird
who can't find nectar—
For as long
as he can.

 

 

 

Read more poetry written from the perspectives of people affected by ‘disordered’ eating, including family, friends, health practitioners, and observers on our poetry page:

Poetry page

We welcome your thoughts about the above poem or any of the other poetry featured on this website. Please submit your comments using the feeback form.

Feedback on poetry

It would have been helpful in my recovery process to be able to read these poems as it would have given me the words I struggled to find to articulate myself. I feel they can provide a sufferer with support to seek help, to know that you are not alone with these issues and that it is nothing to be ashamed of.
 
 

Poetry

Poetry written from the perspectives of people affected by ‘disordered’ eating

Events

A mixture of workshops, gigs and outreach events

 
 Our poems in the news
 

Dr Gail article (6)

THE world is obsessed by weight at the moment. We have an obesity crisis. We know many cancers are now caused by being fat. We know the obese people with type 2 diabetes can be cured if they lose a significant amount of weight. That your blood pressure may come down if you lose weight. The obesity problem is everywhere. The advice? Lose weight, be thinner, diet, exercise.

But what about those who have a problem with eating? Those who control everything they eat and get thinner and thinner, or those who can't control what they eatbut force themselves to be sick or take laxatives to empty themselves out again? Those with an eating disorder.

As significant as the obesity crisis is the current mental crisis. This is affecting all ages, but especially our young. Self harm and anxiety, depression and suicide are all increasing, but so are eating disorders. Why? Perhaps social media, perhaps peer pressure. We don't know for sure but what we do know is that it is increasing and it is not just girls. Male eating disorders are also on the increase but are often not talked about. Eating disorders in men are real and under diagnosed.

I was privileged to recently be involved in an arts project raising awareness about eating disorders. Real stories routed in poetry from those who have struggled, and those who have watched the struggle from the ringside, helplessly observing their loved ones getting closer to death. The following poem, (written by a relative of a real patient with a severe eating disorder), I read aloud at a national conference this month:.

My brother won’t eat
sugar or fat,
meat or flour.


He runs 18 miles
on a cup of
oatmeal.


His eyes are black
and his fingers
like bone.


I hear his shoes
slapping the pavement
at midnight.


He flies like
a hummingbird
who can't find nectar


For as long
as he can.

If you or a loved one is struggling with any form of eating disorder please come and see your GP. We are here to listen and to help.

 

 Our follow-on project is looking to raise greater awareness for male eating disorders at the level of primary care using narratives of lived experience to create an innovative training resource.

 

 

Project investigators

 

 

Project partners

 

Hungry for Words: An interdisciplinary approach to articulating, communicating and understanding male anorexia nervosa




telephone:0115 95 15816
email: heike.bartel@nottingham.ac.uk