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How Much Do You Know? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   ANOREXIA. The word itself sounds appropriately sharp, pointy and hollow. Say it in your head a few times. What images come to mind? Stereotypes and misconceptions, no doubt. How much do you really know about this disorder?

Forget all the hype you have heard in advertisements about fashion models and Barbie dolls causing anorexia. Blaming eating disorders on the media is similar to blaming alcoholism on beer commercials. How many people do you know who have become alcoholics after watching a beer commercial? None, because alcoholism is a disease and people have a genetic predisposition to it. Anorexia is very similar.

Anorexia is predominately about control. When everything seems to be beyond your control - school, relationships, family, work - there is one thing you can control: food and weight.

I set out to prove something to myself but it was so long ago I forget now what that something was. I guess I wanted to prove that even if my life was in a shambles, I could still control my body. I could abstain from sugar and butter and meat and all things bad for me. Every time I said no to food, it was a little victory for me. Every time I ate less than I did before it was another little victory.

There are so many aspects to anorexia nervosa. It is a very complicated situation for most people to comprehend unless they have been there and measured the one quarter cup of skim milk diluted with water to eat with the 35 calories, no salt, no fat rice cake. It is a scary experience for all involved. The best advice I can give to any friend of an anorexic is to be supportive and non-judgmental. It is much too late for compliments or criticisms - all you can do is be there and wait.


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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