• Rachel

The woman upstairs is a conspiracy theorist

I find conspiracy theories fascinating. Not because I buy into them, but because I think they reveal a lot about the depths of the human mind. Their existence reflects what I believe is a fear for all of us to an extent, just channeled in a kind of unique way.

No one can really be trusted. And we especially can’t trust authority.

The majority of us, myself included, look upon the latest crazy conspirators on our TV screens and sneer. Of course the Earth isn’t flat, you maniac. And rightly so, for conspiracy theories are all too often at best laughable, and at worst incredibly dangerous. I know I can often pride myself in my understanding of the scientific method, and feel undeniably irritated when people don’t under basic principles like

correlation not equalling causation and using spurious data trends to make barbaric conclusions. (this is a fun website demonstrating that -

But this morning I realised something. Anorexia is a conspiracy theorist. Not just a follower. She actually comes up with this stuff. My academic background makes me one of the first to question the validity of anomalous, out-of-the-ordinary ‘evidence’. Yet, when the woman upstairs assures me that my overnight kilo weight gain is definitely, unquestionably because I over-ate yesterday...I believe her every time.

Anorexia is convinced that I am the exception. Science doesn’t apply to my body. Everyone else can eat x, y, z and not immediately gain weight, but not me. Overnight weight gain in everyone else is definitely water weight. But not me. This has happened hundreds of times before and it’s always returned to normal, but not this time. This time it’s definitely fat, and it’s going nowhere. Oh and you only pooped yesterday, so it definitely can’t be poop.

There is no real evidence to back this claim, just the number on the scale and some clever scaremongering. There is overwhelming evidence supporting the contrary. I wouldn’t listen to someone claiming to be certain that Covid-19 is all a hoax. I wouldn’t click on an ad claiming to have found the one secret to perfect skin that doctors don’t want me to know about. But I listen to her. Every single day. And she is all too often at best laughable, and at worst incredibly dangerous.

(Side note, if you’re interested, I’d very much recommend this six part podcast series on the idea of conspiracy theories —

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