Beating Anorexia This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

“You can sit there. The ­doctor will be right with you.” The nurse gestured me to the waiting room. Come on, do I really need to be here? I'm not sick enough to be here.

“Jane! The doctor will see you now.”

Great … The office door closed behind me.

Let me explain how I got here. I'm a dancer. I've always had problems with my weight. I was never fat, just chunky. I always felt self-conscious in my leotard. I think that's what triggered it. One day, at the end of freshman year, I told myself I was going to stop eating and get skinny. So that night I skipped dinner. And that's how it started. I would skip meals or throw them away. I drank a lot of water and ran on the track at school during lunch.

It felt so good to see the pounds melt away from my body. I was invincible. But in reality, I was ignoring the symptoms I was feeling. I was light-headed, dizzy, cold, and tired. By now it was May, and I was always absolutely freezing in school. I wore two sweatshirts and was still chilled. But I was losing weight and that was all that mattered to me. People were noticing too. All of my friends told me how great I looked. It was such positive ­reinforcement. Only they didn't know that I wasn't just exercising – I was starving myself.

My parents started noticing when I was at the point of no return – the point where I couldn't go back to regular eating. They said I was getting too skinny and needed to stop. They took away my gym membership, like that would make me stop. In fact, I started eating even less because I couldn't work it off. I was so preoccupied with my weight and calories that I avoided my friends. I would never go out to dinner with anyone. The friends I still talked to were annoyed with me ­because all I would talk about was dieting.

School ended, and I went to summer camp. It was perfect. I didn't have my mother monitoring how much I ate, so I did what I wanted. I didn't eat much, and when I did eat, I had salads. No dressing. When the two weeks were up and my mom came to get me, she was shocked at my appearance. I was skin and bones. You could see my back bones through my skin. I was so proud of myself, but this was the last straw for my mom. She made an appointment with a doctor.

At that first appointment, I weighed 104. My mom was shocked and angry with me. I had lost 21 pounds in a month and a half. My doctor went on and on about how my weight was too low for my height – like I cared. I loved to hear that. By this time I was sick. I had anorexia.

I spent the next few weeks doing exactly what I had been doing – not eating and lying about food. Then it was my first day of summer dance classes. I hadn't danced for about two months. The first thing my teacher said was, “Jane, you're looking very thin. Are you eating enough?” It was a serious question, but I smiled and nodded yes. I was so proud of myself. A week into dance class, my teachers asked to talk to my mom and me. They told me I looked very unhealthy and that they didn't want anything to happen to me. This meeting made my mom cry. I hated that. My mom made another doctor's appointment for me.

At the appointment, I weighed 99 pounds. I had lost another five pounds. I tried to hide the smile on my face. But this time, they took my vitals. My temperature and blood pressure were both low. My heart rate was low. My body was starting to shut down. I knew this too. Now I had to have weekly doctor's appointments to make sure I wasn't dying.

I lost more weight. I was 94 pounds, and I had never been happier with myself. My mom set up weekly counseling sessions with the school social worker. The counseling did help. We found out why I was doing this. It ­really had nothing to do with food; I needed control.

What really hit me, though, was when one of my friends said she didn't want to be my friend anymore. That way, she explained, when I die, it won't hurt her as much because it wouldn't be her best friend who had died. That got to me. Then another friend said, “You will die if you keep going.”

Hearing my friends say this changed me. Slowly but surely I started to gain some weight back. Let me tell you, it wasn't easy. I hated stepping onto the scale and seeing 100 again, and then 105. All that hard work was being ruined. My favorite feeling used to be my stomach growling. But I had to let it go. I didn't want to lose everything I had.

I started gaining weight and people starting telling me how beautiful I looked. So I became healthy again, and my vital signs improved. This made everyone happy. My mom was happier, my friends, my doctors. I'm still recovering, but now I know I need to stay healthy for everyone who loves me. But most importantly, I need to stay healthy for myself.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

Join the Discussion

This article has 204 comments. Post your own now!

BlueySky7 said...
Mar. 16, 2014 at 2:00 pm
This writting was really good,it gives me. Its so detailed and touching.
Rosalynne said...
Feb. 27, 2014 at 12:38 pm
This was touching... it inspires me... Maybe I should eat lunch today...
mette_tinggaard_ replied...
Apr. 16, 2015 at 3:41 pm
I don't know, but maybe you can help me. I am doing an Outline for my english topic, and have chosen 'bodyimage', and I thought maybe you could help me?
OracleIz said...
Jan. 14, 2013 at 3:57 pm
Believe me when I say I know exactly the thoughts that drive someone too this. Luckily,my friends caught on quickly and managed to help me through it. You are so brave,love.
sarahnicole7 said...
Sept. 14, 2012 at 7:49 pm
you are so strong. i was in the same place as you, and still am. you can do this i know you can
Bambi67 said...
Sept. 13, 2012 at 7:10 pm
wow I really enjoy reading this piece it's a great story and it turn out very positive,glad your doing better!
Dakota88zxc said...
Sept. 13, 2012 at 5:50 pm
I clicked five stars automatically because I knew I was going to choose it anyways.   Anorexia sucks...It's hard to deal with. You're really strong.
avalongirl24 said...
Aug. 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm
I was also anorexic and have a similar story... It's called Recovering from Anorexia, it's on Teen Ink- look it up :)
Elizabeth S. said...
Aug. 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm
i am anorexic
KaileeM This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 22, 2012 at 8:41 pm
Everybody is BEAUTIFUL in EVERY way. Stay.Beautifulx
aduke9 said...
May 26, 2012 at 10:17 pm
This was an inspirational/ incredible/amazing piece.
Plethora said...
May 26, 2012 at 9:25 am
Wow. I love the way you put what you feel into words so perfectly. I've been through a similar experience, and I can totally relate to what you felt.
bella049117 said...
Apr. 12, 2012 at 7:03 pm
i am a dancer as well and i would like to thank you for putting every single one of my feelings into words perfectly. 
His_Princess said...
Feb. 28, 2012 at 7:53 pm
Great article, well-written, and sooo inspiring.  I am so proud of you!  Never forget that you are truly beautiful. ♥
starbucks_queen21 replied...
Mar. 9, 2012 at 4:38 pm
WOW!!! This was sooo good! I'm struggleing with this very thing right now. I feel exactly how you felt!(before you started to recover.) At this point I have no intentions of stopping, but reading this has def. helped me see that I'm not the only person out there that struggles with this. I noticed it said you were from New Hampshire. So am I!!! I thought that was really cool! :) 
kairi.kaylyn said...
Feb. 6, 2012 at 10:32 am
I love how you use real feelings and thoughts. Good article.
Lady-Milano said...
Nov. 9, 2011 at 5:35 am
the problem with anorexia is that we always think we are in control of the situation. great article
kaylarocks said...
Nov. 3, 2011 at 10:02 pm

I have thought about starving myself before, i am a 110lb 7th grader snd i cant take anything that anybody says anymore, i now have second thoughts and i think i shouldnt


ClarinetPower replied...
Jun. 20, 2012 at 10:14 pm
Don't ever worry about your weight. Worry about being healthy. 
towritelove37 said...
Jul. 1, 2011 at 10:17 pm
This is beautiful. And you have such talent. You put emotion into your writing and it makes you feel so much. It's relatable and honest. It's open. And you're a  beautifull, strong person for having the capability to do such wonderful writng. Keep on writing. I can't wait to see more from you!
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