Binge watching just got riskier!
by Nancy Kislin, LCSW, MFT, Parent Educator
All these years later – just listening to the sound of the actress' voice as she states that she can’t eat – it hit a nerve in me that I thought had died years ago.
I just finished watching the trailer for “To the Bone,” Netflix's new movie that premieres July 14 and portrays a teenage girl's battle with anorexia. I shed tears - old tears mixed with tears for the young women I currently help through this journey of hell called an eating disorder...
I survived that journey – Most of it alone except for an amazing therapist. But it was the darkest period of my life, the part I kept securely hidden from family and friends.
I struggled alone, searching to find control in a world that my young mind didn’t know couldn’t be controlled. Disorders like this take hold of you, and it's nearly impossible to separate yourself from it. I was one of the lucky ones. I survived and went on to have a healthy and productive life.
The scars, they are there. They never fully go away. They keep me hyper-alert for signs of eating disorders or other self-harming behavior when I am working with children and teens. I see and hear the undercurrent of anxiety that feeds the fierce desperation to find a way to have control in their lives. It is through my lens as a survivor and a veteran therapist that I ask,
“Why, Netflix, do you feel it's significant to release 'To the Bone'?”
I am sure many will be disturbed by the series. Let's be honest, eating disorders are upsetting, disturbing and more people die from it then any other mental illness.
An eating disorder series released right in the middle of bikini season...
After the last disastrous release of "13 Reasons Why," – Just yesterday, I got a new client who was triggered to almost commit suicide from this show - Really! -- I thought I better check out "To The Bone."
Can you hear my screams of "NOOOOOO!" followed by "Why?!"? Why is this series necessary??
Like "13 Reasons Why," is just another gateway to harmful behavior?
PARENTS: PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOUR CHILDREN ARE WATCHING.
If your kids want to watch this series, answer the following questions:
- Does your child have a history of depression, anxiety, addictive behaviors, eating disorder, suicide etc.?
- Are they over the age of 16 (and that age is me being generous)?
- Why does your child want to watch it in the first place?
- We don't need to see this series, we already know what the story is going to reveal.
Regardless of their answers, do not let them watch it alone. Watch the trailer together, and let that start a conversation about eating disorders, what they know about them and if they know anyone who struggles like the main character.
When the show does premiere on the July 14, watch an episode with them. Then decide - as the parent - if it's appropriate for your child to see.
Netflix please STOP glamorizing self harming behavior. There is nothing sexy about starving yourself to death.
Nancy Kislin, LCSW, MFT, Parenting Educator