Conspiracy theories are fascinating. I rarely buy into them, but they reveal a lot about the depths of the human mind, which I find intriguing. Their very existence reflects that which I believe is a fear for all of us, at least to some extent. We all fear putting our trust in people. After all, can we really trust anyone?
Conspiracy theories are just an extreme way of channelling that fear.
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 absolute maniac. And rightly so, for conspiracy theories are all too often at their best laughable; but at their worst, incredibly dangerous. I sometimes pride myself in my understanding of the scientific method, feeling undeniably irritated when people don’t understand basic principles such as correlation not equalling causation, as they use spurious data trends to make barbaric conclusions.
But, this morning I realised something ironic. Anorexia is a conspiracy theorist.
And what’s worse, she’s not just a follower. She actually comes up with this stuff. If she had fingers, she’d be at the centre of QAnon.
My academic background has taught me well 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 ate too many carrots yesterday...I believe her.
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 absolutely everyone else is definitely water weight, and I would tell them so. But not me.
My weight has fluctuated strangely 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.