My Battle With An Eating DisorderI wrote this story about 5 years ago for a class. It sums my story up well. If you are struggling right now, some of it may be triggering, just to warn you.
It seems as though everyone I talk to has some period in their past that they aren’t proud of, or when they rebelled against what they know was right. As a teenager, I was a pretty well behaved kid. I gave my parents minimal trouble and I basically always did well in school. I came from an upper middle class family and lived in one of the nicest parts of town. I never had any trouble making friends and I was always involved in activities around school. Most people probably thought that I had the perfect life. What I have learned since then, is that no one has ever lived a perfect life. Growing up I was always naturally thin, which wasn’t unusual since most children of my generation were often playing outside or in recreational sports. I had never given my body weight any thought until the first semester of 7th grade. I was standing in gym class with my friend, Brianna, when a bunch of girls started talking about their thighs. We put our knees together and looked at how much space there was between our thighs. Brianna had the most space, and some girls had no space at all. I had a little bit of space, but not nearly as much as some of the other girls. This was the first time in my life that I have ever given weight a thought and ever since then I have never stopped thinking about it. That year I worked a lot harder in gym, walked home a little faster than I usually would, and I never ate lunch. For some reason I became very aware of what I was eating and what other people were eating. I started saving my lunch money and rationalized that saving the money was much more practical than buying a lunch. No one really mentioned it since a lot of girls didn’t get lunch because they felt self conscious about eating around boys. The summer before the 8th grade I went clothes shopping with my mother and my sisters as we always did before a new school year. We walked into Old Navy and I grabbed armfuls of pants, all size 0 or 2, and rushed to the dressing room. The first pair I attempted to put on were a pair of khaki cargo pants, which had just become the latest style. They didn’t fit. My mom asked me to come out and show her the pants, but I refused. Then she threatened me by saying that if I didn’t show her the pants, she wouldn’t buy them for me. I reluctantly told my mom that the pants didn’t fit. She told me that it was fine and that she would grab me a 4. I was disgusted. When my mom came back the 4 fit me perfectly. How could I have allowed this to happen I thought to myself. It was clear to me that my weight was getting out of control. Throughout the 8th grade year I restricted my calories as much as I could. Instead of taking the bus home, I would lie to my dad and tell him that I was staying late and getting a ride home from a friend's parents, but really I would show up late because I was walking home. My weight obsession continued, but I never really completely stopped eating. I didn’t know much about fitness or nutrition, and I never had heard of anyone who didn’t eat and lost weight. In second semester 9th grade health class, we learned about Anorexia Nervosa. Most of the kids in the class just shrugged it off or napped as usual, but I listened intently. I thought that this whole "not eating" concept was intriguing. I had considered not eating, but I didn’t really know what would happen if I did. I thought that I was the only one who had even considered something such as this, and even though it was described as dangerous, a voice inside me was telling me that once I was back to a size 0 I could just start eating normally again and my life would be perfect. That night I logged onto America Online and ran a search on Anorexia. Most of the links were very boring and just went on and on about how dangerous it was. Of course, I ignored these sites. I didn’t want to know about how cure my disorder; I wanted to know how to lose the weight even faster. I was almost ready to give up when I came across a site called Blue Dragonfly. The site was called a "Pro-Ana" site, which I hadn't heard of before so I decided to check it out. This was the most shocking thing that I had ever seen. This site taught people how to starve themselves and lose weight. It had tips on how to not eat, what foods had "negative" calories, how to hide that you aren’t eating, excuses to use on your friends and family when they try to get you to eat, and there was even a chat room and a message board. I created a name on the site and started talking to dozens of girls with the same problems that I had. Only, instead of helping me get rid of my problem, they helped me make it worse. There were fad diets listed, journals of anorexic girls, and pictures of thin models. We called these pictures "thinspiration" and encouraged each other to keep notebooks full of these pictures so that whenever we had an urge to eat we could look at them. We could buy bracelets that would remind us not to eat. Everything was about control, and we encouraged each other not to let food control us. What we didn’t know, was that was exactly what were allowing. Suddenly the secret that I had been keeping for so long that had made me feel all-alone could come out. I would log onto the website every night after my parents went to bed and talk to all of my new friends. The girls were from all over the world, and after a couple of months, the membership grew from 40 people to over 300. I had become one of the regulars and became very close with some of the girls, who sometimes would even call me on the phone. Even though these girls had very little else in common with me, it felt good to talk out loud with a person about my secret. I would often partner up with people on the net and we would be fasting "accountability partners". I bought myself a scaled and would weight myself 10-15 times a day. I became very withdrawn from my friends at school, although my grades didn’t suffer because my desire for perfection spread from just my weight to every aspect of my life. I started stressing out if there was anything in my life that wasn’t completely perfect. I wanted to be in control of everything, and if I felt as though I wasn’t, I felt as though I was going to die. It wasn’t until the 10th grade that I got extremely thin. When you stop eating you get a thin la