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World's Thinnest Woman Fights for Her Life While Fans Idolize Her

by Deborah Cruz on December 21, 2012 at 9:41 PM

Valeria LevitinValeria Levitin, 39, weighs only 56 pounds and is currently the world’s thinnest woman. She also happens to be one of the saddest and loneliest women in the world. She is fighting for her life, but because of websites that encourage the anorexic lifestyle, she has become an unwitting idol of many teen girls -- and even gets fan mail regularly.

Valeria developed anorexia in her teens, after years of her mother weighing her to make sure that she didn’t become obese. She wanted to be a model but was told she was too heavy, at a healthy size 12.

As I read this story, it is all too familiar to me. It pained me to watch her video and made me very uncomfortable because like Valeria, all it took was a parent making me feel like if I could be a certain size, if I could be perfect, I could be loved more, I'd be more deserving. It only took one comment to push us both right over the edge.

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I could have been Valeria. We are the same age, we started our road to eating disorders around the same time, and we even lived in the same area of the country. Her story is my story with one exception: I quit my eating disorder 15 years ago. I found something to live for.

Now, she, too, has found a purpose greater than herself that has caused her to want to get well. She wants to become a mother and to be a mother, you need to be alive and healthy for your child.

She has gone public with her story to help others avoid falling prey to her disease. But instead of getting support for becoming healthy, Valeria started receiving fan emails from young women who idolize her and want to follow in her footsteps. They want to know how to do it. They want her to tell them how to kill themselves.

I’m not being dramatic. If you develop anorexia and don’t get help, two things that will happen: you will live miserably and you will die alone.

Anyone, who has ever been diagnosed with an eating disorder knows that there is nothing glamorous about it. It is lonely and sad and very quickly spins out of control. The very thing you used to gain control has now taken a life of its own. It's a murderer. It will kill you.

Every man and woman who has ever survived an eating disorder wouldn’t wish one on their worst enemy. Valeria is trying to survive this disease and these girls have put her on a pedestal. They want to be walking skeletons. They think anorexia is cool.

There is nothing cool about your body trying to shut down on you. There is nothing cool about being so frail that stairs are a chore and a slight tumble could break every bone in your body. There is nothing cool about your heart giving out at 25. There is nothing cool about people staring at you like you are a freak when you walk down the street. There is nothing cool about dying alone with nothing but your disease as company.

These girls should admire her for trying to get well, not for becoming grotesquely thin. For those of us who have had anorexia, it is our greatest pain to see someone else go through it, especially if we feel some sort of responsibility toward inspiring them.

There is nothing cool about anorexia -- and there is nothing cool about dying before you ever had the chance to truly live.

What do you think about this dying anorexic woman getting so much fan mail for being so thin?


Image via BTV

Filed Under: body image, diets, eating disorders, mental health, weight loss

Comments

69
  • Sarah...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Sarah UsedtobeZech Cone

    December 21, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    Sad but not surprising in today's society.I'm glad that's she's trying to overcome this. I wish her the best of luck!


  • Missj
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Missj

    December 21, 2012 at 10:04 PM
    I've been fighting a pretty severe form of anorexia since I was 14. Nearly 10 years of self destructing, and starvation. I can attest that anorexia is a horrible, horrible disease. It has nearly killed me, and by sheer luck, I'm still alive, and able to live a mostly normal life.
  • amazz...
    --

    amazzonia

    December 21, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    Omg,how can she still be alive? That's so sad, and how can other women idolize her? After seeing how she is ruined her self, how can you wnt to become like her? Makes me want to cry, I just pray that my daughters will never end like that, she was such a beautiful little girl and young woman 


  • abra819
    --

    abra819

    December 21, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    Doesen't matter if she "overcomes" this. Her body is completely shot anyway.


  • Reepi...
    --

    Reepicheep.CSL

    December 21, 2012 at 11:02 PM
    This is incredibly sad. I pray that she gets the help she needs.
  • Miche...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Michelle Tribble

    December 22, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    That's amazing. She looks like a mummy but alive. It's so sad too....sometimes I wish I understood eating disorders, other times I'm glad I don't.


  • Heath...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Heather Moore Connelly

    December 22, 2012 at 1:28 AM
    My cousin suffered for over a decade getting down to 58 pounds. She fought and managed to live til she was 30 before her body was too weak to fight off a simple infection and she died. Not a day goes by 9 years later that she isn't in our thoughts. There is nothing glamorous about looking like a Holocaust victim.
  • krelia
    -- Nonmember comment from

    krelia

    December 22, 2012 at 11:39 AM
    While I hope this woman gets better. A "healthy size 12" isn't a typical model =/ Also it's much larger than most "healthy" 6s and such I hang around.
  • Carme...
    --

    Carmen8706

    December 22, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    I wonder how these women suffering from the disease and idolizing another who is would say if you showed them a picture of those starving to death in a concentration camp during the Holocaust.  Would they say those suffering people are attractive?  Would they be able to see that Levitin looks just like them?


  • jessi...
    --

    jessicasmom1

    December 22, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    wow how sad this is 


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