Eating disorders are not often the subject of comics. This comic by Khale McHurst is quite compelling. “I Do Not Have An Eating Disorder,” which you can read here, follows the author on her journey of dealing with her eating disorder. There is the denial. And there are the facts. Ms. McHurst does a beautiful job of expressing how difficult it is to reconcile the two. But she knows that the truth shall set you free and she depicts how she goes about finding the truth.
Khale McHurst knows that she has an eating disorder and she also knows that she can convince herself otherwise. It is a very tricky place to be. You can be educated about nutrition in theory but then you need to follow through in practice. What McHurst really gets is that each eating disorder is unique and there is common ground as well. Words can sometimes feel like they are inadequate somehow to fully describe what’s going on and yet words must be found and spoken. With comics, there’s also pictures. This is one of those instances where comics prove their mettle. With McHurst’s comics, you gain a unique insight and find a successful way to relate and it happens bit by bit. Each installment is a new revelation, a message in a bottle, an attempt to connect with others and with oneself. Like an ongoing conversation that you have with someone close, that is picked up and expanded upon with each new visit, so her comics take this or that thought and build upon them as you read page after page.
What is an eating disorder? Essentially, it is someone who is engaging in disordered thinking when it comes to food. Instead of thinking of food in terms of nutrition and appetite, a person is thinking of food in terms of how that person thinks of themselves and how they look. That would be it, in general, with a multitude of personal distinctions. It’s a very personal thing but also a thing that wants to be shared. No one wants to hold on to such a secret if they can find a way out. For Ms. McHurst, part of that way out is her comics.
Ms. McHurst’s drawing style is very inviting. With her gentle and caring approach, it is easy to relate to. This is a subject that really needs different vantage points. She does very well with her depiction of the metaphorical eating disorder voice, or voices, that lure one down the wrong path. It may prove helpful for someone with an eating disorder who was looking for another way to consider that concept. And, then, just the journal style approach itself is very engaging and informative. As we keep reading, we find other perspectives such as McHurts’s lover, who is not afraid to tell the truth; and McHurst’s nutritionist, who is always helpful and supportive. What McHurst makes clear is that we all need to speak our mind, when we’re ready, and we all value and cherish support. This is a very worthwhile comic that will educate and inspire.