Mental health: eating disorders affect more than the mind.

I take care of my mouth.  I brush twice a day.  I floss.  I don’t floss EVERY day, but I floss most days.

I just went to the dentist and found I need to have about $1,600 worth of medical work done.  Writing’s great, but it’s not the kind of high-paying work that makes that type of bill painless.  Why does someone who takes care of his teeth need that kind of procedure?

Simple: for three years, give or take, I didn’t eat enough.  And when you don’t provide your body with enough nourishment, it eats away at stuff like muscles and organs.

So, if you know someone you suspect might have an eating disorder, bear in mind that it’s not a matter of helping them before damage gets done.  The damage is getting done, and it’s going to keep getting done until they get better.  This, and more, was the price of being “thin” for me.  It’s amazing what damage we’ll do on the backside to alter the parts of us that people actually see…

And on top of that, the dentist asked what I did for a living.  I told him and he let out a dejected “Awwww, man” and proceeded to tell me I should watch a movie called The Star of Bethlehem and that once I start looking at all the evidence it’s hard not to believe it.  Yeah, like I haven’t been told that by every Christian I’ve turned around and destroyed.  Proselytized to…at the fucking dentist’s office.  Welcome to small town, Arkansas.  “Yeah, your mouth has some problems.  Did you know the creator of bacteria loves you and that all of his creation is perfect?”

I felt like saying “Look, if the human body were intelligently designed, your profession would be unnecessary.”  But I didn’t.  God has the power to rise from the dead, but not to conquer gum disease.  Sounds legit.  I normally cultivate a healthy level of cynicism and anger which, I feel, motivates me while not impairing my judgment.  When it gets to be more than that, I tend to clam up and, after receiving the news about my gums I was not in the mood and decided that I’d rather err on the side of silence.

Next time, Gadget…

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.