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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 203 comments. Post your own!

JennieSmile11 said...
Aug. 27, 2010 at 10:34 pm:
Love your body, love yourself :) Go for a walk-Thank God for your legs. Eat icecream, be thankful for you stomach. You are beautiful as you are, exactly.
 
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JennieSmile11 said...
Aug. 27, 2010 at 10:32 pm:
I'm also recovering from anorexia. Stay strong girl! It's a hard road, but it's worth it to be healthy
 
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DifferentTeenThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Aug. 27, 2010 at 4:16 pm:
I feel that way sometimes, and I'm not even chunky I'm just so self-concious and the girls in my school are skinnier than me so I want to skip lunch. Which I've done before. Lately I've been skipping breakfest lunch and dinner and I didn't even realize it.
 
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Drama_Queen13 said...
Aug. 27, 2010 at 3:50 pm:
That was truly inspring. You should be incredibly proud of yourself. Congratualtions
 
shygirl101 replied...
Apr. 4, 2011 at 4:59 pm :
that was an amazing story and sad too
 
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Macx14 said...
Aug. 27, 2010 at 3:21 pm:
Fabulous article and I empathize with you. I've ad issues with anorexia and I know it sucks that something you feel in control of that's yours makes everyone else upset, but it's just not worth it. Great job and get well:)
 
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mimirocks124 said...
Aug. 27, 2010 at 12:00 pm:
relly personal. good narration. i like the ending
 
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Aleksandra said...
Aug. 27, 2010 at 12:39 am:
Aw, this is sad. Especially since many girls do think that being super skinny is beautiful. It's not; it's repulsive. You need to have a weight that matches your height. So even though I gained five pounds over the summer, I don't care, because I don't look fatter and I'm still the perfect weight for my height. 
 
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cupcake420 said...
Aug. 17, 2010 at 11:24 pm:
wow i cant belive all of that you are very strong to have to go threw all of that i had a friend who was dealing with the same thing but her mom didnt even notice or it took her grand ma 2 months to notice that she was getting skinnyer ad skinnyer ad then all of her friends just tryed to ignor that fact ad i was the only one that stook by her side then 2 weeks after her grand ma noticed they took her to the doctor ad she got help im so proud that people that go threw that are still very strong e... (more »)
 
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DuriChick said...
Aug. 10, 2010 at 1:08 am:
Everyone is beautiful. Whether they weigh 90 pounds or 200 pounds. It's just a shame that no everyone can see that. 
 
AmeliaTheStrange This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 10, 2010 at 3:29 pm :
I agree. To each is own.
 
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Christy This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 9, 2010 at 1:48 pm:
Exact same thing happened to me, and I, too, have almost completely recovered. Your symptoms and thoughts and situation were so similar to mine. I'm so proud of you for writing down your story. It brings strength to the rest of us!
 
cupcake420 replied...
Aug. 17, 2010 at 11:28 pm :
i agree wif u completley you are a very strong person to tell your story .
 
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CallMeFelix said...
Aug. 5, 2010 at 9:30 pm:

Let me just say, you are beautiful =) Everyone is beautiful in their own special way!

If positive reinforcement is something anyone needs, check out www.operationbeautiful.com. It shows you how beautiful you are...on the outside, but more importantly, on the inside! xD

Great work, by the way. I really enjoyed this! Keep writing!

 
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Sarahtime This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 5, 2010 at 9:07 pm:
I'm happy for you, because I have an eating disorder as well. It's hard to get through, and I'm still working at it... but every day it get's less and less I think. I hate how I hate my body, and I'm glad you're learning how to love yourself. Hope I'll be along soon, too (:
 
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Amanda said...
Aug. 5, 2010 at 8:00 pm:

wasted by marya hornbacher.

'nuff said.

 
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TurtleShellTristani This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 5, 2010 at 5:04 pm:
wow. this is extremely powerful. it is so great for you to share your story with the world. my friend really needs to hear this. thank you
 
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alanacarlene said...
Aug. 5, 2010 at 12:42 pm:

This is great! I'm so happy you turned down the healthy road. I kinda know how you felt when your stomache growled and it made you feel good. I have no doubt that at 105 your beautiful!

Stay healthy because healthy=:D

 
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inksplatters21 said...
Aug. 5, 2010 at 10:05 am:
On days when you, as well as all of the other girls/boys here, are slipping, remember the rest of us.  When i'm having a hard day, I remind myself of the other boys/girls dealing with ED and I eat for them.  I hope your recovery goes well.
 
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Rainesy said...
Aug. 5, 2010 at 9:31 am:
As a fellow dancer, thank you. Bravo on a story well-told and a challenge defeated. 
 
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