Believing A Terrible Lie


mothermayiranaeRanae Von Meding


Ranae Von Meding is a 27 year-old old Dublin-based Chicago-born actress who has written a one woman show running until April 4 in Theatre Upstairs, Eden Quay, Dublin.

‘Mother May I’  is based on Ranae’s life experiences including an 11-year struggle with Bulimia.

Ranae writes:

This is a subject which is rarely touched upon in theatre, media or social networking. It is even more ‘taboo’ than depression or other mental meath issues.

It’s something that people don’t like to talk about. Don’t like to hear about. It’s not a nice subject and because of its shroud of mystery, many sufferers of this eating disorders spend years and years bottling it all up. This is something that many people like to pretend is not happening. It’s easier for everyone if we just don’t think about it.

But that is the very attitude which perpetuates the problem. You see, eating disorders are dangerous. They are insidious. They are like a cancer, that slowly take hold of every fibre of the person you used to be until you are unrecognizable. It can start as a very small seed of self doubt, or as a means to controlling a situation where you feel out of control.

Whatever the trigger for such an illness, what all ED’s have in common is that they are psychological illnesses defined by an abnormal relationship with food and body image to the detriment of the sufferers physical and mental health.

They are ugly and lonely. And suffering in silence can be the most isolating place in the world.
Eating Disorders are the number one cause of death of all Mental Illnesses.

You don’t plan for is this. You never p​lan​to become Bulimic. You would never wish this on yourself. You wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy.

I began controlling my eating patterns as a 16 year old. And for the next 10 years I struggled on and off with Bulimia. It would ping pong back and forth in severity, always coordinating with different events in my life.

When life took a turn for the worse or things were out of my control, I would turn to Bulimia as a source of control. I became an expert at deception.

I learned how to deceive those who loved me the most. And I ended up deceiving myself. I actually believed that this was just how I coped and that I wouldn’t be able to live life any other way.

But that was a lie. A terrible lie that my Eating Disorder told me. The hardest thing for me was actually admitting that I have an ED. It took me 8 years to actually admit it to myself and that I was not able to beat it on my own. Everyone has a different experience but in my case, I needed professional help.

Asking for it was the hardest part. And it can be a minefield but there are services available. A great place to start is Their website is a wealth of information regarding all forms of ED’s and they also run support groups for those affected by ED’s whether the sufferer or friends and family members.

This is a mental illness. Just like any other. And it needs to be regarded as such. Let’s do away with the social stigma attached and move forward with how we educate our children and teenagers about their bodies and their self worth.

Only through education and support systems will this debilitating illness become less stigmatized. Let’s open up the discussion and make it a little bit easier for sufferers to come forward and ask for the help they need. I am so grateful for how wonderful my family and friends have been.

In particular my Fianceé, Audrey, who stuck by me through it all. When everyone else had had enough of my illness, she was the one person who knew I had the strength to get better. She always knew that I would get to this point. Even when I didn’t believe in myself, she did, and that made all the difference.

My hope is that I can make it even a little bit easier for someone to admit to themselves and others that they are suffering from an Eating Disorder. Often to just say those words out loud are the scariest part. It becomes a reality at that point. But only by acknowledging a problem do you have the power to do something about it.

The first step is always going to be the hardest. And it is hard. Getting better is hard. I won’t lie to you. But I’m telling you. It is 100% achievable. I will never be fully ‘recovered’ in the tradition sense of the word. Recovery is a choice that you make. A choice you make every single day. I am an addict. But I choose to live.

Mother May I , Theatre Upstairs (Facebook)

7 thoughts on “Believing A Terrible Lie

  1. ivan

    Funny, if you were to look at that poster and guess what the subject matter of the play was, you probably wouldn’t think bulimia. You’d look at the title – ‘Mother May I’, the crossed ‘t’ in Mother, the cross superimposed on the girl in the picture and you’d be expecting a bit more religious angst….from Ranae’s description, there’s very little.

    That’s not to take from bulimia, or how serious it is – it’s just interesting that the poster appears to point to something else completely…

  2. Malta

    Are eating disorders really more than depression? Not that they are not serious, I’ve just been aware of them and many of the surrounding issues since my teens.

    Also, yes, that poster says this is a play about religion.

  3. Ranae Von Meding

    Ivan- yes you would think that the play had a lot to do with religion. And it does. It draws a strong correlation between my struggle with an addictive, guilt driven belief system that ended up manifesting itself in the form of an eating disorder.

    Malta- no! I strongly believe depression or any other mental illness is every bit as serious as an eating disorder. No one sickness is more dangerous than another. As a sufferer, I have the deepest empathy with anyone who struggles with a mental illness or sickness of any kind.

  4. Derval

    If you are over 40, how do you stay slim without being fairly preoccupied with body weight?
    If you just go with the flow and don’t think about it and eat the same way you ate when you were 20 – I’m fairly sure you will become overweight and unhealthy.

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