In this blog, we shall answer the question “did Gerard Way have an eating disorder?” and look at various eating disorders, their symptoms and treatment methods. We will also discuss why celebrities are at a high risk of developing eating disorders.
Did Gerard Way have an eating disorder?
Yes, Gerard Way had an eating disorder. In an interview done in January 2015, he said “I’ll look at pictures of myself then and see somebody that had relapsed into alcohol and was completely starving himself… I was just a very fractured individual.” His fans could relate with him strongly as he used music to confront his troubles.
He was then met with an enormous challenge of the pressure of living up to his reputation and this made him go back to negative coping strategies; depression, substance abuse and issues with his body image. Before delving deep into what eating disorders are and their treatment, let us look at who Gerard Way is.
Who is Gerard Way?
Gerard Arthur Way is an American singer, songwriter, and comic book writer. He is well known for being the founder and lead vocalist of the rock band, My Chemical Romance. He brought emo and punk music into the mainstream.
He has always been a shy person ever since he was little and this made him turn to alcohol addictions and cocaine to help him face the public. We will now look at different eating disorders and discuss why celebrities are at a high risk of developing eating disorders.
What are eating disorders?
Eating disorders are mental illnesses characterized by abnormal eating habits, and complex and damaging relationships between food, exercise and body image that impairs physical and mental health. Gerard Way disclosed that he had an eating disorder and had fluctuations in his body weight. He didi not disclose which eating disorder he was struggling with, so we will educate ourselves on the types of eating disorders.
Types of eating disorders
Pica is a feeding and eating disorder characterized by eating non-nutritive non-food substances such as ice, clay, soil, paper and stones. Can be caused by nutrition deficiencies, pregnancy, stress and cultural factors.
Rumination is an eating disorder characterized by spitting up digested or partially digested food from the stomach, re-chewing the food and either re-swallowing or spitting it out. It occurs within 30 minutes of every meal. The causes of rumination remain unknown.
Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder.
Formally referred to as selective eating disorder, is an eating disorder characterized by intense restriction or selection of food consumed. Unlike anorexia nervosa, people with this eating disorder are not interested in their body image, shape or size.
Is a severe eating disorder characterized by abnormal body weight, distorted body image, and unwarranted fear of gaining weight. In order to prevent weight gain, anorexic people try to control their body weight by vomiting food, using laxatives, diet aids, and excessive exercise. From the statement where Gerard says he was starving himself, we could assume that he was suffering from anorexia.
Common symptoms include extreme low body weight, dizziness, insomnia, fatigue, dry skin, hair that easily falls off, preoccupation with food, skipping meals, refusing to eat, denying hunger, complaints of being overweight, measuring weight often and lying about the quantity of food taken.
Causes include; biological factors such as genes, psychological factors such as temperaments and environmental factors such as societal demands.
Usually begins during the teenage and early adulthood years. It is more common in women than in men.
Anorexia is the most deadly mental illness. One study found that people with anorexia are 56 times more likely to commit suicide than people without an eating disorder. (Eating Disorders Coalition, 2016).
Is a mental disorder characterized by binge eating (consuming large quantities of food over a short period of time) followed by calorie-reducing strategies such as purging (induced vomiting), fasting or exercising excessively.
Bulimia is a severe, life-threatening eating disorder. Symptoms include; binge eating, vomiting, self-harm, fatigue, dehydration, avoiding food, irregular and absence of menstruation, constipation, heartburn and guilt.
Causes include genetic factors, psychological factors such as personality, dieting and societal pressure.
Binge eating disorder
Binge eating is an eating disorder characterized by consuming large amounts of food over a short period of time, and feelings of being unable to stop eating even when full. It is the most common eating disorder with a prevalence of 5.5%.
Symptoms include; eating large amounts of food over a short period of time, eating even when not hungry, feeling that your eating behaviour is out of control, eating until you are uncomfortably full, eating in secret, eating alone and feelings of depression and guilt.
Unlike people with bulimia, binge eaters are not concerned with weight reduction through vomiting, using laxatives or excessive exercise and can thus suffer from other physical conditions such as obesity.
It is more common in women than in men and usually begins during early adulthood. Causes include dieting and psychological issues such as depression and low self-esteem.
Reasons celebrities are at a high risk of developing eating disorders
Many celebrities have come out and opened up about their struggles with eating disorders. Gerard Way opened up about eating disorders so as to spread awareness on eating disorders. Though there are some who have not spoken about it, they are speculated to be struggling with eating disorders from their physical appearances and behaviours. The reasons celebrities are prone to developing eating disorders include:
The societal standards of beauty
Many people perceive beautiful women to be petite or skinny. The internet today is filled with beautiful women with petite figures and they represent the standards of beauty today. The most famous models and those who model for Victoria’s secret are extremely slender and are portrayed as beautiful or “sexy” and this has been accepted as the standard for beauty.
Men are also affected by societal standards and are also scrutinized from how they look. Gerard started getting body image issues due to the fame and this led to the development of eating disorders.
Technology today has allowed us to manipulate pictures to our liking. You can be transformed into a glamorous, thin woman by trimming, shaping and enhancing the photo on the computer.
Increased non-invasive surgeries
Many celebrities have been deluded into getting “perfect” bodies by undergoing surgeries to correct parts of their bodies that they don’t like. Procedures like liposuction and rib removal surgeries are in high demand for celebrities to achieve perfect body shapes.
Diet culture is an extreme belief that one’s appearance and body shape is more important than one’s general well-being. It gives the idea that controlling what you eat and how much you eat is normal. Examples of diet culture include:
- Having guilt or shame for eating
- Feelings of unworthiness due to your physical appearance
- Suppressing appetite with caffeine, nicotine, water, etc.
- Labelling food as good or bad
On-screen sexual objectification
Most of the time, women and sometimes men on-screen are seen as sex objects than cognitive and emotional beings. People tend to focus on the parts of their bodies. Influencers, musicians and actors/ actresses are criticized for how they look, their physical appearances and their body shapes. Sexually objectifying women in media can lead to self-objectification, body dissatisfaction, sexist beliefs and increased tolerance of violence against women.
Demand from their jobs
Most celebrities have demanding jobs that leave them little or no time to relax and engage in healthy eating habits. Most of them get used to having fast foods or snacks in between their busy schedules. Those in the film industry are forced to cut weight overnight so as to fit certain roles and these factors can be triggers for eating disorders.
Gerard’s need to live up to his expectations pressured him to neglect his health and that led to the development of depression, substance use disorder and eating disorders.
Two songs that Gerard Way used to show his struggles
The following two songs by the chemical romance are ways Gerard Way expressed himself an the struggles he went through.
See the man who stands upon the hill
He dreams of all the battles won
But fate had left its scars upon his face
With all the damage they had done
And so tired with age, he turns the page
Let the flesh submit itself to gravity
They’re… They’re these terrors
And it feels as if somebody was gripping my
They’re these terrors, And it’s like
It feels like as if somebody was gripping my throat
Like last night
They’re not like tremors, they’re worse than tremors
In this blog post, we have answered the question “did Gerard Way have an eating disorder?” and looked at who he was and what he said about his eating disorder. We have also defined eating disorders and looked at the types of eating disorders. Finally, we have looked at various reasons celebrities are at a higher risk of developing eating disorders.
Frequently asked questions: Did Gerard Way have an eating disorder?
Why did Gerard Way relapse?
After the band’s last release, 2010s danger days, he relapsed into alcoholism but the thought of his daughter growing up without his father made him tackle his addiction.
Does Gerard Way have any tattoos?
No, Gerard suffers from a condition called trypanophobia (fear of needles and injections) and it is so severe that he has never gotten any tattoo or body art.
Who is Gerard Way’s wife?
His wife is Lyn-Z and they got married in 2007
Let’s talk health, (February 15, 2022). Did Gerard Way have an eating disorder? Retrieved from https://letstalkhealth.in/mental/did-gerard-way-have-an-eating-disorder/
Rose E. (February 7, 2020). My Chemical Romance singer, Gerard Way, looks great claim fans. Retrieved from https://poptopic.com.au/entertainment/music/my-chemical-romance-singer-gerard-way-not-as-fat-claim-fans/
Cooper L. (February 9, 2019). Gerard Way on the end of My Chemical Romance: ‘It wasn’t fun anymore’ Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/feb/09/gerard-way-on-the-end-of-my-chemical-romance-it-wasnt-fun-any-more