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.

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This article has 204 comments. Post your own now!

ArtChildCliche said...
Feb. 19, 2011 at 7:47 pm
I held my breath the whole time I was reading this. You are really strong to come back from that and be able to write about it.
WerewolfWriting said...
Feb. 19, 2011 at 12:09 pm
You are quite a strong person to come back from that. And be able to talk about it.
Brooke W. said...
Feb. 19, 2011 at 10:35 am
ive gone through anorexia, only, when i started, i was 5' 2 1/2" and 124 pounds. i ended up at 5' 3" and 89 pounds. in only a month. my boyfriend was the first to notice. he kept saying "babe you are losing too much weight" or "hun you neda eat". then was my friends. they said if i didnt eat theyd leave. i didnt care. all i wanted was gymnastics which i was too heavy for.  in my family im the youngest and have a sister in collage and a brother graduating so the... (more »)
chelsrose said...
Jan. 28, 2011 at 4:59 pm
kudos to you! overcoming something that difficult is definitely a very tough change to make. i'm glad you've realized how important your life truly is:) congratulations! 
KonLovesPB said...
Jan. 6, 2011 at 8:05 pm
I know exactly how you feel! I'm suffering from anorexia. It was my choice, and now im desperatly trying to start eating again. This story really touched me, and has given me the strength to try harder than ever before to eat something. Thank you!!
Brooke W. replied...
Feb. 19, 2011 at 10:36 am
i am suffering from anorexia too, i left a comment with my story
bonjouritsandi This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 6, 2011 at 8:23 am
 I know excatly how you feel. You're very brave to write this. Keep up the good work!
Mikky-girl said...
Dec. 15, 2010 at 10:11 pm
this is an amazing story, truly inspiring....i love the wholr plot and how the narrotor came to the right concludion about how important her health was..i love this..thanks 4 sharring :)
remembermeplz replied...
Jan. 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm
You do know that this is a true story right?
Mikky-girl replied...
Jan. 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm
wow then this is a truly amazing story then. im glad she overcame this...i have respect for strong people like herself :)
Novelwriter14 said...
Dec. 15, 2010 at 8:26 pm
Thank you so much for sharing this incredibly personal story. Struggling for control in an out-of-control world is something we all struggle with. I hope that you are doing better all the time.
. said...
Dec. 15, 2010 at 7:02 pm
wow thanks for sharing i know many people have this promblem many of my friends have tried but parents have stepped in starving is not losing weight it is sucide if you want to lose weight eat better things not less this was an amzing article thanks for telling us it must have been hard
alexisabandoned This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 15, 2010 at 5:05 pm

it almost makes me sick to see some of the comments people have left on this. does anyone have the slightest ounce of respect? when someone has a problem, you don't shove it in their face and laugh about it. it's not something to be laughed off. if you don't believe me, a friend of mine just committed suicide because of people talking to her in the same manner some of you here are commenting. you should be ashamed of yourselves.

as for this piece of writing, it was amazing. i'm sorry y... (more »)

CowanQueen said...
Dec. 15, 2010 at 8:38 am
Thanks I'm going to try the same thing. Hopefully it'll work but, it will be hard not eating. But idk what to do about my mom because she'll start asking questions and I don't need that. I hope this is the way out..
alexisabandoned This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 15, 2010 at 4:59 pm
the point of this was that the anorexia was a problem, even though it felt wonderful to weigh less and less. you'll make yourself sick if you don't eat. please don't disrespect yourself like that.
ClarinetPower replied...
Jun. 20, 2012 at 10:19 pm
Please don't! I have friends who are anorexic, and all I do is worry about them. Nothing I do makes it better.
xaint.eons said...
Nov. 23, 2010 at 10:00 pm

I appreciate your honesty very much. I've read other articles dealing with this subjects like, but none have been as honest as this. I like how you've added your thoughts on how you were proud of yourself--a real feeling that many others do not acknowledge because they focus more on the process of going to the doctors, etc. 

By the way, I was in your exact same position. I hit puberty early, so not only was I heavier than all the other underdeveloped skinny girls in my ballet clas... (more »)

Ashley97 said...
Nov. 23, 2010 at 7:45 pm
I'm impressed by how easily you talk about the subject. I feel inspired to stop my own food restrictions. I've never even been over 100lbs
Detective-Charriez said...
Nov. 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm
you're quite brave sharing this story...
Jillian F. said...
Nov. 5, 2010 at 10:06 am

This was relly interesting.  Thanks for sharing!


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