Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.

- Welcome -

If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.


In the Black Swan, Nina’s distorted perceptions based on fantasies and limited vision become hallucinations she believes. Brain cells deprived of nutrition do not function normally. Nina believes perceptions which take her deeper into her hallucinations and guide her behavior.

The end of the film shows the extreme of glorified and malignant romanticism based on unrealistic definition of personal perfection.  Nina glorifies meaningless

death and destruction.

A population of women with anorexia and bulimia exists who support each other’s illness flagrantly on pro ana and pro mia sites.  They glorify and raise their wasting away to death and their belief in the worthiness of their goal. They see their lives as being lived in pursuit of ultimate perfection. They are Nina's in real life.

This malignant romanticism could come from distorted thinking of a malnourished brain. It also can come from an attempt to compensate for a poorly developed identity. with massive gaps that leave her bereft unless she fills herself with fantasy. Either way or both, the person denies herself the physical and psychological nourishment she needs to feed her brain and move on with her core and much needed human development.

In the film Nina’s life force explodes out of her as she exerts herself beyond her limits, beyond anyone’s limits in her final dance as the Black Swan. That force coming out is thrilling for the audience. She’s a cataclysm of grace and energy supplying others with sensation and life experience as her own life drains from her body. 

This too is anorexia. I think of the life force of Karen Carpenter, pouring through her voice and out of her body completely.  It’s difficult for me to hear her beautiful singing without thinking that I am listening to a life force hemorrhage that will leave her dead. That is indeed, anorexia.


The film ends where it does. I invite you to take it further. 

What are the consequences of Nina’s final action where she smiles and happily murmurs, “I was perfect.”

What happens to the members of the troupe? What happens to the investors?  What happens to the friends and families of the people involved who certainly will need support, caring and healing after the tragedy?

What happens to all the teachers and musicians and choreographers in any way connected to Nina’s career at any time?

The swath of destruction is vast.

And what happens to the mind, heart and soul of everyone in the audience who applaud as she kills herself before their eyes?

This is another discussion entirely.  It goes into the human fascination of watching death defying action.  This includes stock car and sports car racing, dangerous sports, bull fighting, duels, trapeze artists working without a net, circus lion tamers and Las Vegas tiger tamers. The activity has to be real with occasional deaths to prove that the activity is truly death defying. And humans watch with fascination, hearts in throats, breathless.

Maria Spelterini crossing the Niagara gorge on a tightrope on July 4, 1876 caption for suspension bridge picture

Maria Spelterini crossing the Niagara gorge on a tightrope on July 4, 1876

I hope the thrill of watching a person come close to death is not part of what seems to be a cultural fascination with eating disorders.

I hope the person with an eating disorder doesn’t mistake that fascination for caring and praise.

What do you think?


Black Swan: Beautiful Public Appearance and Ugly Secret Body Destruction (1-8)

Black Swan: Narrow Life Obsession (2-8)

Black Swan: Mother/Daughter Control Issues and Sexuality (3-8)

Black Swan: Stealing (4-8)

Black Swan: Violence and Danger (5-8)

Black Swan: Danger to Others (6-8)

Black Swan: End of the Film and Beyond (7-8)

Black Swan: Is Help Possible for Nina? (8-8)





Who's Online

We have 801 guests and no members online