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!

omgcharlie222 said...
Mar. 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm
I am not sure if I have a problem either I don't eat at breakfast or sometimes and lunch but, I eat when I get home I always have head problems but I have had head achs for years But I am starting to notice I can't eat as much I feel to sick Can anyone help me understand whats going on?
MarieAntoinette2012 replied...
Oct. 5, 2012 at 10:10 am
You might not have a serious problem, if your not skipping them just because you feel like you want to lose weight. Anorexia is basically a fixation with losing weight by not eating.
omgkrissy4 said...
Mar. 8, 2010 at 7:02 pm
Im not sure if i have a problem. but, i see my friends and i always want to be skinny than them, because theyre prettier and i feel taht if im skinnier then well be even or something. in health class we did our BMIs. the average is 20-28 or something and i got 20. i felt so bad that i could let it get that high. then today one of my friends said they dont have enough body fat to have periods every month. and i started thinking that i want to be like that. im jsut so confused. and dont wanna get ... (more »)
omgcharlie222 replied...
Mar. 22, 2010 at 2:47 pm
I don't know if I have a problem either mabie we can help each other
izzy2 replied...
May 9, 2010 at 3:08 pm
this reminds me of myself. i always feel larger than my best friends, who are twins, because i am nearly 6 ft and they are only 5'1". sometimes i don't eat much because i'm tired of feeling so big.
ccrocks said...
Mar. 5, 2010 at 3:15 pm
im in a dance class too. and i have to admit, i am very uncomfterble in my leotard. and when im on stage for my recidals, its really hard. because i think- what if people think im fat? what if they laugh at me? and every day im trying to lose weight. but nothing will work. i have a very slow metablisim, so its extremely hard to lose weight for me. and at this point i think i might be battling weight my whole life. so i can really relate to this. but of course, im not going to do what she did. sk... (more »)
luvdance said...
Mar. 4, 2010 at 11:42 pm
I'm a dancer too and I'm always consciouss of my weight, too. I want to be healthy but skinny at the same time. It's just so hard to be compared to all other dancers who are toothpicks but I'm the way I am so I should be happy with that. =)
mikehall said...
Mar. 4, 2010 at 2:43 pm
this story was very interesting
iLike how she recovered..most dont recover god must have been with her
budda said...
Mar. 4, 2010 at 2:14 pm
i can relate to all these people becouse they been throught alot of things in the past and i have too
paulavee said...
Mar. 4, 2010 at 1:38 pm
Im glad yuuu got healthy againn (:
congrats ;)
smart choice (:
MilesLowdotCom said...
Mar. 4, 2010 at 1:37 pm
THis was a true story. People are goning thru this daily. I dont know anybody personally, but this is the truth. No doubt.
Sarbear This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 4, 2010 at 3:58 pm
real nice...
litamariebby1 said...
Mar. 4, 2010 at 1:35 pm
i think that when girls are like that,that scares me because they can kill their selfs just because of other peaple and their comments shes givin all her power to people who dont even care and shes just tryin to impress other peaple!
little-miss-sunshine said...
Feb. 10, 2010 at 7:49 pm
Thank-you so much for putting this article out there. I know it must have been tough to share such a personal experience but I can't thank you enough for posting this. Anorexia is a big problem, and I hope that this will teach others about the danger of it, so once again- Thank you. Not only was the meaning of the piece great though the way it was written was too! All over fantastic!
ccrocks replied...
Mar. 5, 2010 at 3:19 pm
you are so right anorexia IS a big problem and that has really taught me how important it is to lose weight the RIGHT WAY
lilswimmer0818 said...
Feb. 10, 2010 at 6:05 pm
That was an awesome story. I know a lot of my friends that suffer from anorexia and that have touching stories but I don't personally know you and your story has been my favorite. I defiantly want to read many more of your stories as you are a very good writer. Don't ever give up on your dreams!!:)
daffodilsNblueskies This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 10, 2010 at 2:53 pm
I'm a dancer too so I know what you felt... there's a ton of pressure in the dance world to look a certain way. Your story really inspired me... I had gone through some of the things that you were talking about a while ago so it's encouraging to hear someone else's testimony. One thing that helped me was honestly my faith... I know that I'm made in God's image, and that's all that matters. Anyway, I'm glad you're ok now. What you did took real strength.
cheer9 said...
Feb. 8, 2010 at 8:01 pm
Wow this is great. Its amazing that you could admit something like that. Im 13 and i dont have a eating disorder but i will admit that i dont take care of myself(in eating habits) at all. I have Celiac Desiease and so I pretty much cant eat anything so i pretty much live off of french fries once a day and thats about it. My parents tell me all the time i need to take care of myself better or something drastic could happen but theres really nothing i can do about it. But i love this article, i th... (more »)
Steph8 replied...
Feb. 10, 2010 at 1:18 pm
You are so strong. The hardest part is admitting there actually is a problem and you did so much more. You pulled yourself out of it, even though it killed you to go back. It's tough and you made it through so much better than so many do. You are stonger because of it, and in my opinion...completely fearless.
B.R.Nack said...
Jan. 31, 2010 at 4:59 pm
wow that was a really good story, im glad it had a happy ending^^
marine6704 said...
Jan. 28, 2010 at 7:15 am
this takes courage admitting a problem you have. If all victims could admit it like you did maybe it would become less common
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