Comedian Joanne McNally appeared on the series finale of The Tommy Tiernan Show last night, and gave an open account of her past battle with an eating disorder.
Speaking candidly, Joanne told host Tommy about how she dealt with eating disorders bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. She explained how certain things can fuel the disease, and she gave some advice about what to do if someone close to you is suffering.
“One bit of advice that I would give – one that worked for me – if you say to someone with an eating disorder ‘you’re too thin,’ they don’t hear you saying they’re too thin (in a negative way)… they hear it as a compliment.
“What worked for me was friends telling me ‘you look really sick, you look sick, you look really unwell.’ You can’t tell someone they’re too thin because that spurs them on. They’re achieving what they want to achieve so I would change tact and say ‘you look really, really unwell,’ she said.
Joanne then went on to explain that she hit a low point, and it ultimately forced her to face up to reality. Her mother was sent to take her home from work because her body had began to shut down. She then entered treatment, but it was a long road to recovery.
“When I was in school there was a girl with an eating disorder and people would say ‘it’s not about food, it’s about control’ and I would think ‘that’s bullshit, of course it’s about her body.’
“I couldn’t understand it and I don’t think I really fully understood it until I was about a year into treatment, the penny dropped and I realised this has nothing to do with my body,” she said.
— RTE One (@RTEOne) February 9, 2017