In this episode of True Life, two young girls lives are documented as they struggle with pica, an illness that makes people crave non food items to eat, and trichotillomania, an illness that makes a person pull out their hair and sometimes eat the hair follicle as a way to relieve stress. Each girl’s narrative was written in quest narrative format. The episode documents how the girls struggled with their addictions, what they did to receive help from the control of their addictions, and how they benefited in the long run from being strong and overcoming their addictions. There was strong emphasis on the girl’s mental well being through out the episode.I chose to focus on the girl with pica.
The stigma behind pica, in which this episode of True Life showed a girl that ate 8 nail files at day, is that people are not suppose to want to eat nail files, or even enjoy eating nail files. Culturally, the mother of the girl, as well as, the girl’s friends were concerned that ingesting the nail files would lead to health concerns, a concern that was rather revealed by a dentist in the episode that stated the girl’s tooth enamel was almost gone. Most people she told about her addiction did not accept it as an illness. People would tell her to stop and did not understand that there was more to the addiction than just being able to quit, the girl was not able to quit easily. However, this girl did not seek medical professional help, rather she relied on friends and family for support and developed self control for her addiction. This girl had a very stressful life. She shared a small apartment with her cousins, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa, herself, her mom, and her sister. She has the responsibility of making sure all of her cousins and siblings were ready for school and she was in charge of making their meals. To relieve her stress, she ate the nail files. She never was not able to do something because of her nail file eating addiction, however, most of her free time was consumed with eating and obsessing over the nail files and when she would be able to buy more. Like in the blog post, “Fibromyalgia + The Type “A” Personality”, the sharing of the stories of illness help the girl and the blog post author connect and find peace with themselves regarding their illnesses. Also, this blog post may help the girl with pica relate to how crazy she feels internally and how the addiction has such a tight hold over her and her “control freak” attitude. Families with loved ones struggling from not well understood illnesses can read these blogs are maybe get a little bit of a better understanding of what their loved one is going through. They can see into their loved ones daily thoughts and why they do certain actions. Health professionals can see the narratives and can develop a plan to help the sufferer cope and manage the disease, as well as, any mental help they may need to do so.
Caito, Edwina. Blog Her. Accessed July 24, 2014. http://www.blogher.com/fibromyalgia-type-personality-chaos-frustration-and-near-insanity?page=full.