Dear Jackie Goldschneider from The Real Housewives of New Jersey,
You deserve better.
Bringing cameras into the recovery room was incredibly selfless, inspirational, and important for your fans who have been following your journey over the years and are seeing you struggling coming into Season 12. The Renfrew Center has been treating eating disorders since the mid 80s. It's amazing you have access to their services- and I hope they do wonders for your recovery.
The eating disorder treatment consult you shared with the world was hard to watch, though, so let's not pretend it wasn't.
Let's not pretend that going to the Shore and drinking vodka from a water cooler isn't an odd juxtaposition to the seriousness we just witnessed.
And let's not pretend that watching you play with your greens at lunch isn't anything but distressing for people who've been there.
I have been the cucumber-slice-calorie-counting woman hiding her hunger. And so, on this fourth day of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2022, I thought I may as well dive into the episode a bit since it was on my mind anyway.
Ana is all over this season of RHONJ
You should never compare your personal health journey or recovery story to another person's....but I cannot help that this week's episode made me immensely grateful that I am not in that stage of illness anymore.
Counting every calorie, cold all the time, tingling and numbness in the fingers... Yes, I remember Ana well.
Now, I've said it before and I'll say it again: I am not a medical professional! This is a personal reflection and opinion and lived experienced-based blog.
And from that POV, I see Ana's influence all over this season, to be real with you...and it's not a good look.
The superficial content has always been there, but it's been jacked-up in juxtaposition to your very real eating disorder segments, and it's...confusing and unsettling. I wonder what you think of the editing...
Because let's face it, beyond your story of starting Weight Watchers as a young woman and then eliminating more and more food items throughout your university years and entering into anorexia, there are your other castmates. Your story is being presented alongside theirs.
A far cry from the family-focused and legal dramas of seasons past, Season 12 has brought us little so far besides new noses and waists and faces and butts, all of which are presented in hot girl summer attire next to muscle-laden men who may or may not have cheated on their wives. It's a walking melting pot of "my body, my choice," feminism, capitalist agenda, insecurity, and instability! Gia and Joe's makeup doesn't makeup for any of this, either.
What is going on?
Is this empowering?
Is it even palatable?
Are ya'll okay?
The silence from the media on your segment is all the more damaging, and I hope you know you do deserve so much better- from Bravo, from reporters, from fans, and castmates who are quick to ignore you, reduce you to "that" or "her" and tell you you're overreacting.
Where is the storyline where these so-called friends show their support? Where someone pulls you aside to see if you are okay? Where is the realness?
Unfortunately, you and I both know this is real. This is what happens all too often for the millions of people struggling: people go silent, turn away, avoid, or flat out disregard you. This is yet another reason why these are considered invisible illnesses.
How sick is "sick enough" to get a headline? What about a recovery angle? ANYTHING would be better than these disappointing "top stories" from this week's episode.
Your relationship with Evan is honestly the only saving grace for the whole show right now. That said, I would probably applaud you if you broke the fourth wall to look at us and tell us you're turning the camera off for a while, for good, for a purpose.
Positive takeaways from the episode
Jackie, thank you!
By sharing your story, you are telling the world anorexia relapse can happen at any age and any pay scale, and that it requires treatment.
You let your followers know some of the real risks associated with undereating, being underweight, and being malnourished. You let us hear from a professional that eating disorders can lead to heart attack and sudden death (and that the initial recovery phase can be particularly dangerous).
I had no idea about the health risks associated with being underweight, or malnourished, or (overeating) as a form of cyclical self-soothing-harming-soothing until many years after I had * somewhat * stabilized my weight and started writing professionally about eating disorders.
My heart goes out to you as you hear about the personal risks you currently face after providing your medical information to Renfrew (and us), and how some steps need to be taken to ensure safety before "treatment."
Perhaps like so many others who struggle with eating disorders and addictions, when you want to begin treatment, you want to begin right away while you have that courage. I felt the sting of rejection as you heard more testing would need to be completed first.
But Jackie, just know, with the steps you have taken, you've already started treatment. Congratulations. I am cheering you on.