My Battle With An Eating Disorder

I 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 layer of hair on your skin that looks like peach fuzz, and you are always cold. My temper was very short and I was always very fatigued. My parents sent me to a therapist but I never told her about Blue Dragonfly or the eating problems. When she would mention that I was not eating or the changes in my life, I would blame it on school or say that I was stressed about friends. I knew that I couldn’t tell anyone, because I was scared that they would try to make me eat. At the time, I couldn’t have imagined anything worse. The Blue Dragonflies and I referred to anorexia as affectionately as "Ana", as though the disease were a person that we held in regard as our best friend and our worst enemy at the same time. None of us wanted to let Ana down. Because of this my entire life became a lie. People at school would ask me what was wrong, and I would tell them it was trouble at home. At home they would ask me what was wrong, and I would tell them it was trouble at school. I lied about missing meals during the school day, and at home it didn’t matter because everyone was so busy that we hardly ever sat down and had a meal as a family anymore, so I would just lie and say that I had already eaten. My friends surprisingly put up with my attitude this whole time The summer before 10th grade my parents made me go to an "Eating Disorder Camp". It was like a Nazi Prison to me, they made you eat all the food that they gave you and you couldn’t go to the bathroom after you were done eating, because they feared you would make yourself purge. They wouldn’t let you exercise for long amounts of time, or even weight yourself. All the size tags were ripped out of our clothing, and we were given uniforms. It would drive me insane that I didn’t know what size uniform I was wearing. I stayed here for 2 weeks, but my parents buckled on the first visit that was permitted and let me leave. I promised I would eat, and I did for about a month afterward. Since no one knew about Blue Dragonfly, I still logged on every night. I became more determined to keep the weight off and not let anyone make me gain. I convinced myself that all of these people were just jealous and wanted me to be fat so that they would feel better about themselves. I continued the behavior all of 10th grade year, only it became more difficult to hide. However at this point I was almost a professional at faking that was eating or lying about having eaten. I would only eat in the presence of my parents so that they thought that everything was normal. The lies continued to grow, and so did my relationships to the girls at Blue Dragonfly. One afternoon in 10th grade my mother had come home from work a little bit early and we were watching Oprah on the couch. To my horror, the episode was on Pro-Anorexic sites on the Internet. Several sites were named, but luckily for me Blue Dragonfly wasn’t. I was horrified that my parents would find out, so now I had to be even more sneaky, always remembering to delete the history on the computer after I logged off at night. Soon after this, Pro-Anorexic sites started getting banned from the Internet. The webmasters of these sites had to become sneakier because mainstream web hosts such as Yahoo and Angel fire would no longer allow such sites to exist on their domains. However, Blue Dragonfly remains untouched to this day and is more popular than ever with over 1,000 members. I wish that I could end this memoir happily stating that I have heroically overcome my eating disorder, but that wouldn’t be true. Although I have been doing better for about a year, I still cringe every time I eat and count every calorie. My parents have made a deal with me that if I keep my weight above 120 I can continue to go to college, but I will soon have to find my own strength to keep me from turning back. I know now how dangerous this disease is, and I have seen many of my close friends die. I know that it is "stupid" but for some reason it controlled me, and sometimes still controls me. Although I don’t think that I will ever sink so low as to starve myself again, I will never be able to say that I am healed. Much like an alcoholic, an anorexic can never truly say that they are free.
CallipygianVenus CallipygianVenus
22-25, F
28 Responses Feb 11, 2008

Thank you for sharing your story. I also went to blue dragonfly all the time and was an active member. Blue dragonfly is a symbol of recovery for me - my struggles and everything I went through- treatments etc- and the struggles I still have today. Keep fighting.

i workout 5 to 6 days a week and have a tummy on me and all the ab work does nothing

i am obsessed with my stomache

Than you so much for sharing your story! I went to bdf quite often too. I recovered now, but would love to know what your user name was, and how you are doing now. Moronic Rose...

I used to be anorexic and bulimic and I used to go to pro-ana sites, including blue dragonfly. Since then I have experienced other addictions. They are terribly interconnected.<br />
I guess the most positive outcome has been that I havegot through it all and my mood is finally manageable. I'm not as obsessive but I still have more work to do. But honey.... If only I could explain the spiritual and intellectual growth you have ahead of you, it's truly incredible and although it's so *****ng hard, it's like what life is about. A bit like being born.<br />
Try harder to understand that your value in this universe is not your physical form. It is a very closed minded and naive way to think.<br />
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Good luck sweet girl xx

Nice story....<br />
I appreciate your efforts.

gday, im not shor i understand, your gorgeous body image is ****** up, you can take it from me sweethart if anyone has somthing to say about your body there is somthing wrong with them, if your the one who has a problem with your body you might just need to stand infrount of the mirror and look, its all you have, and its beautiful and it's enough, except your beautiful and things will get better if you need to be tould contact me im honest and that has cost me alot in life, it's important to me so i will pay for what i, hope you can start to see what i see in you

When I was in 10th grade I had an eating disorder. I struggled with it for 3 or 4 years, but I just want to tell you there is hope! Psalm 139:14 says "I will praise you for I am wonderfully and remarkably made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well." God created each and every one of us exactly how we are for a reason. He thinks we are incredibly beautiful! I have been slowly getting better for 3 years now, and it gets a little easier each day. Are there still days I don't want to eat or I want to cut back? Yes. Are there still days I don't like what I see in the mirror? Yes. But they are consistently becoming less and less. God can bring healing. I've seen him do it in my life and my best friend's life. If you ask Him, He will help you get through this. You don't have to struggle with this for the rest of your life. You can overcome it and realize the beautiful creation you are in Christ. You are treasured and valuable to Him! Don't give up; freedom is possible!

You must have a lot of character to share this story. You have gone from extremely self-concious about your body to feeling better about yourself, but not truly better. That was just another problem you faced and climbed over it. I'm sure you were beautiful before and now you are after. Anyone, no matter what their weight, is beautiful. I know you may not believe me, but it's true. Don't let people's negative comments change the way you look at yourself. It's okay if you eat that twinkie or that piece of pizza. It will barely effect your weight at all, just as long as you have a healthy intake of the stuff. Don't worry about your body, nature will take it's course and you will end up the way God intended you to end up. I hope this helped everyone. I <3 u! :D

You must have a lot of character to share this story. You have gone from extremely self-concious about your body to feeling better about yourself, but not truly better. That was just another problem you faced and climbed over it. I'm sure you were beautiful before and now you are after. Anyone, no matter what their weight, is beautiful. I know you may not believe me, but it's true. Don't let people's negative comments change the way you look at yourself. It's okay if you eat that twinkie or that piece of pizza. It will barely effect your weight at all, just as long as you have a healthy intake of the stuff. Don't worry about your body, nature will take it's course and you will end up the way God intended you to end up. I hope this helped everyone. I <3 u! :D

I just read your story and want to encourage you to keep going on your journey. I was anorexic for 8 years and have now been "sober" for 9. I have not had one relapse in my eating disorder in those 9 years. So, don't feel like it is impossible- you can fully recover. <br />
I don't count calories or fat grams anymore- I eat sensibly but am not afraid of any food. I am at a healthy weight and very happy.<br />
One thing to keep in mind is that the decisions you make today will affect you in the future. I have one child, but have had 2 miscarriages in the past few months. My doctor has told me that it is related to all those things that I did to my body, so long ago. I am not classified as having infertility issues- 9 years later. It is good to remember that the things we do today will affect us possibly long into the future. Take care of yourself, you are worth it!

Wow what an amazing truthful story. thanks for sharing! I also have anorexia, most of the things you have said in this are basically the same as me. I found myself glued to this !

I'm so sorry. I wish you didn't have to go through this. People that you don't even know care about you so please take good care of your body : ) xo

I am so sorry you went thru all this. I am still there. I only eat one meal a day and am in therpy. I identiy with you the lies. I'm not hungry and on it goes. Thank you so much for you story. Knitting pretty

I also am anorexic, and bulimic. I understand everything you said completely, as I have done the same thing...<br />
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Good luck to you, and message me anytime you like.

My only way out of this disorder was to create fulfilling challenges in my life. I had to completely reorganize my thoughts and rearrange my priorities. A lot of people who suffer from EDs are obsessive. It would be to your benefit to channel your obsessive energies in to a positive goal oriented preoccupation (eg. athletics, artistic outlets, social groups, work etc.). I hope you can direct your talents in to something externally productive as opposed to a false sense of "internal" perfection. I used to tell myself that my ED was my "outlet" - the only private way to relieve stress (although it was the opposite). I used to think, where some others go running, eat, smoke, drink or use drugs, I have my little secret and since it doesn't hurt anyone why should anyone care. I told no one, not even my therapist at the time. I was ashamed about my neurotic thoughts about food and my body and it consumed me. <br />
Today, I realize that it will always be a struggle but I have better understanding of myself. I realize that I am, by nature, someone who obsesses so why not focus that on my work and helping my friends and family members. I try to relieve stress by taking drives or going running. Diverting my attention away from my obsessions has helped me. I don't struggle with the rituals anymore but I can truly emphathize with your struggle. I hope you find peace within yourself to let go...

I want to thank you for sharing your story. I have suffered from eating disorders(primarily anorexia) for about 14 yrs. i lost many young years that i will never get back. and i will struggle my whole life. I get so sick of people thinking i am "fine" or over it. And it is impossible to stop worrying about it when there is so much pressure to be perfect. i don't want to be skinny, i want to be perfect, and i have to kille myself just the same in looking perfect as i do to be skeletal. it is about so much more than looking skinny tho, and no one can truley understand how we feel unless they suffer the same. I am doing much better now bc i do not obsess as much over body image. it took me years to get to this point and it is due largely to my very supposrtive family and loving boyfriend. you are in my prayers, i am here if you need a can be a very lonely disease. God bless.

Been there, done that. People in my life were never happy with who I was. Can't please everyone. I was somewhat overweight some years ago. Three years ago started exercise at 4 am every day. Cut food intake also. Lost about 30 lbs. People now say I'm too thin: anorexic and bulemic. I've now stopped exercising completely Still losing weight. They weren't happy then, not happy now. Tired of being what others want. F them all and to those same people in my life a good night. I'm happy with myself at 5'9" and 130 lbs now.

I'm nearing my 30th birthday, and I've been trying to recover from both anorexia and bulimia for a couple of years now. I still pay the physical price of all those nutrient deficiencies; I was brought to the ER and stayed in the hospital for 4 days having potassium dripped into my viens because I was near death, I nearly crashed my car because my limbs and face went completely numb and locked while I was on my way to work and I couldn't move them to use directionals or work the pedals, this was caused by a B12 deficiency, and there's another deficiency yet to be pinpointed that causes my train of thought to temporarily derail, making me feel like a senile 29 year old. Sometimes my left arm will go numb, some times I'll get dizzy, or overtired, or I'll have heart palpitations, the consequences never end and its something the pro-ana nation doesn't even remotely take into consideration.

Thank you for sharing your story. I too have anorexia. I know how hard it is. take care doesn't exist anymore.

When I was in high school, I did the same thing. I started starving myself at first, when my grandfather died. He died at his home and we all (his fam) were there. It just so happened that I was standing by his bed that morning about 3:00 a.m. and watched him draw his last breaths. I started crying and just could not stop. My father attended to all us women and made us leave the room while the funeral home took him. My father was a gentleman and I loved my grandfather. He was my maternal grandfather, but I loved him. After that, I lost my appitite. At the same time, some girls at school started a vicious rumor which would mean nothing today, but then it could ruin a person. I had no-one. I couldn't bother my Mom, since she was coping with her Dad's death. I couldn't talk to my grandmother for the same reason. I did not want to talk to my father, because he expected so much from me, as to being a kind, cultured person. I stopped eating. I thought I was the only person ever to do this. I also thought I had invented purging. Oh, I lost weight, alright. Drastically. I thought that if I kept the weight off, the group of "it" girls who started the rumor would accept me again. It never happened. I am now over 50. To be exact, I am 59. I wear a 16 or 18 and sometimes a 14. I wish I had the control I had then to to not eat, but my brain takes over and says that if a person likes you, they like you. If they don't care for you, you cannot make them like at all. I am in therapy. I had a nervous breakdown in 2004 attributed to the treatment those girls gave me in school, a first bad marriage, and low self esteem. I had packed all this mess into my subconscience and my brain just "vomited it up". What a metaphor! My present husband has helped me with my self esteem. He and I have been married 20 years. One never gets over "Ana". One just has to ignore her. I still eat half my food at lunch and try not to eat at night. For breakfast I eat cereal or a slice of bread with cheese. I do not get much activity as I have arthritis. Therapy is helping me, but it is a long process. A person cannot go one or two times and find out what is wrong. One must go for a long period of time. Take care. We have all been there one way or another....Oh, yes, during that time in 11th grade, I tried to kill myself by taking a bunch of pills. When I told my mother I was scared and she asked "Why" and I told her about the pills she slapped me so hard (I was sitting on the commode in our bathroom) I fell off the commode and into the bathtub. Mother and Daddy took me to the nearby hospital and a "lovely" nurse gave me Epicac to make me vomit. She called me a ***** and said here's a bucket. If you miss and hit the floor, I"ll slap the Hell out of you. My, My, such good times in the sixties. Callalilly

here is what i have to add. start thinking about life from a sexual point of view. how many guys would really love a bunch of bones? A full and toned body is much more attractive than an anorexic one. ask any guy. start visiting health and fitness sites like look at how these girls are getting more in life. Whats the use of thin body if you cannot get any enjoyment out of it. <br />
Another thing that would certainly help is choosing or developing a philosophy of life. Yoga would most certainly help.<br />
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May God Bless you with peace and happiness

My daughter has anorexia and i had to block all these sites, but i never heard of Blue Dragonfly, i bet she has found it and now im battling trying to find it so i cant block it. I cant believe these people are such idiots leaving these sites open to people who need medical help!

Here is a reliable tip, STOP WORRYING ABOUT IT. I am 24 now, and I didn't get those problems until later in life than what you did. For 2 years all I did was diet and exercise, diet and exercise. I was an amateur kickboxer and had to watch my weight and wanted look good on stage. I was miserable and I was starving to death. Anyway a series of events happened that made me quit living like that. I haven't exercised for over a year, and I eat whatever I want, until I get full, and the shape of my body never changes. I have gained a little weight, because I was starving to death. But that only restored me to my natural body weight. You will get to a point where your body will stabalize, and as long as you are not gorgeing yourself, you will not become overweight. I do sympathize with you, but trust me, if you stop worrying so much, you will be just fine. Don't compare yourself to anyone else, you are a unique individual, one of a kind, good luck.

What camp did you go to? I have never heard of anything like that, only treatment centers.

Wow-you have tons of courage to share your story. I think you are really helping others by sharing this.<br />
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How have you been since then? Would you be interested in having your story featured? We are looking for some strong woman "survivors" (although we understand that an ED can be a lifetime recovery processes). Feel free to message me.