Beating Anorexia | Teen Ink

Beating Anorexia MAG

By Jackie Whitcomb BRONZE, North Hampton, New Hampshire
Jackie Whitcomb BRONZE, North Hampton, New Hampshire
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

“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.

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This article has 206 comments.

on Feb. 6 2012 at 10:32 am
MarissaWhitecloud SILVER, Oskaloosa, Iowa
7 articles 0 photos 84 comments
I love how you use real feelings and thoughts. Good article.

on Nov. 9 2011 at 5:35 am
Lady-Milano BRONZE, Richardsbay, Other
1 article 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
"When ever someone says life is so hard I'm tempted to ask,compared to what?"

the problem with anorexia is that we always think we are in control of the situation. great article

on Nov. 3 2011 at 10:02 pm
kaylarocks SILVER, AURORA, Colorado
9 articles 0 photos 33 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The more you take responsibility for your past and present, the more you are able to create the future you seek." - Author Unknown

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


on Jul. 1 2011 at 10:17 pm
towritelove37 GOLD, Kewanna, Indiana
16 articles 0 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
You can't always get what you want...

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!

EkeBont BRONZE said...
on Jul. 1 2011 at 5:03 am
EkeBont BRONZE, Glasgow, Other
4 articles 0 photos 8 comments
Wow... thank you so much. Because in some sick way, I can relate to this. Of course not this extreme, but at times I feel fat and disgusting and I feel just like the way you desribed. And then for brief moments I feel normal again, but it's got me so scared. Thanks so much though. Thank you. Beautiful. 5/5

on Jun. 27 2011 at 8:08 pm
katibug919 BRONZE, Red House, West Virginia
4 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Me? Sarcastic? Im way to ditzy to grasp the concept of mockery"

coming from personal experience, i have been going through almost exactly that. at the beginning of my freshman year, i weighed 140 pounds, well, one day my boyfriend made a comment about my "chunky" cheeks and that did it. i told my self i would get down to 120 and be happy. But when i got there, I wasnt happy. I kept going. 4 months later(January 2010) i was down to 105. I looked sideways in the mirror and felt huge still. March rolled around and i weighed 94 pounds. Everyone was saying my face was sinking in, i had dark circles, and i was "scary" skinny. But what i saw was a cow looking at me in the mirror. the doctor had told me, i was going to die. but i didnt believe her...i felt fine... that was, until i started passing out for no reason and sleeping all the time. THEN i got scared. Skip to December 2010, i found out i was pregnant. WOW. i knew for the sake of the baby that i had to gain weight, 100, 105, 110. So i know what you felt. Its scary but sometimes....things happen for a reason. i love this memoir alot:)

_NoAir_ BRONZE said...
on Jun. 9 2011 at 6:35 pm
_NoAir_ BRONZE, Toronto, Other
4 articles 1 photo 463 comments

Favorite Quote:
There are as many ways to live as there are people in this world. Each one deserves a closer look.

–Golly (Harriet The Spy)

"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."


Couldn't have said it better!   =)

on Jun. 9 2011 at 12:40 pm
ClarityRedemption BRONZE, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania
4 articles 2 photos 4 comments

Very touching. Yet, true- this is what happens. I am glad that you are recovering.


on Jun. 9 2011 at 9:47 am
RanaHewezi1998 SILVER, Ames, Iowa
5 articles 0 photos 63 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I've ended up where I needed to be."
-Douglas Adams

this is a very deep poem and i'm very happy u got over starving yourself :)

evergreen232 said...
on May. 18 2011 at 6:00 pm
evergreen232, Portland, Oregon
0 articles 3 photos 21 comments
i agree- its sad to kno that she needed her friends to tell her to stop.  but im really glad she listened!!!!!

on May. 18 2011 at 12:28 pm
--faux.hope BRONZE, New York, New York
3 articles 0 photos 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
Don't tell me that the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon. ~

I find this very touching, and inspiring too. Indeed, it has been said previously, but I feel such a connection with your story; I, too, was uncomfortable with my appearance as I pranced about in ballet and on stages. The pressure and insecurity was too much; I took drastic measures, avoiding food at all times. I'm so grateful that I had wonderful people to help and guide me on the right path before I was led astray by my own actions. Thank-you for sharing! =)

on May. 1 2011 at 4:25 pm
RainWashed PLATINUM, Park City, Utah
46 articles 1 photo 86 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Repeat the good and the bad. Do it all again. And pile on the years."

Wow, your story is so touching. I've often thought about food and dieting. You write so well! I'm so glad you overcame this disease. I'm proud of you, since it is not easy. Please keep writing, I'm a big fan.

on Apr. 26 2011 at 11:42 pm
toschoolforcool BRONZE, Redwood City, California
2 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"People, in general, suck."
~my uncle, Joel

I have a friend just like this. she went to the hospital for it. when she came back she talked about how the only bad thing about losing weight was that it came from your chest first. it scared me that she still thought about losing weight. good for you trying to get better.

Becca17 GOLD said...
on Apr. 26 2011 at 7:00 am
Becca17 GOLD, Belleville Ontario, Other
10 articles 0 photos 36 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Seven Deadly Sins:
Wealth without work
Pleasure without conscience
Science without humanity
Knowledge without character
Politics without principle
Commerce without morality
Worship without sacrifice.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

one word, inspiring :)

on Apr. 26 2011 at 1:36 am
musiqqlvr31 BRONZE, Chennai,Tamil Nadu, Other
3 articles 0 photos 35 comments
Sometimes weighing less isnt the best thing..There's a girl in my classs who's stick thin..she's 164 cm(5.3 feet) and only 35kg(77lbs). I used to wish I was like her..but one day I held her hand and it gave me the I'm about the same height and weigh about 105 pounds and I'm happy about that!

on Apr. 4 2011 at 11:47 pm
Imaginationforever, Maricopa, Arizona
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"There is only do and do not there is no such thing as try." ~Yoda

It's sad that she choose that path yes, but you should be happy that she choose to stop.

Fate98 GOLD said...
on Apr. 4 2011 at 6:01 pm
Fate98 GOLD, Glasgow, Other
11 articles 0 photos 36 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life isn’t about how popular you are… What girl or boy you are dating or who you know. Life is about always being true to who you are or what you believe in. Never let anyone convince you that their way is better than your way. In the end all we have is our hearts.. and our minds. This is the reason we sing.. this is the reason we cry… this is why we live." - Andy six"

wow this has hit me hard because me and my friend had decided we wanted to lose weight. We were doing the same as you. I am not skin and bones nor is she but you have saved me from becoming it. Thank you and i hope you keep getting better. God bless :-)

on Apr. 4 2011 at 5:54 pm
TragicMagic SILVER, Smiths Grove, Kentucky
8 articles 1 photo 37 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life isn't about how popular you are... What girl or boy you are dating or who you know. Life is about always being true to who you are or what you believe in. Never let anyone convince you that their way is better than your way. In the end all we have is our hearts...and our minds. This is the reason why we sing... this is the reason why we cry... this is why we live."

I can relate to being the worried friend in this case, my friend was obsessed with losing weight. She was healthy too, that's what got me, said she wanted to be like me so she slowed down and almost quit eating before i talked her out of it. Sometimes a friend is all it takes to change ones mind.

shygirl101 said...
on Apr. 4 2011 at 4:59 pm
shygirl101, Martinsburg, Tennessee
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
that was an amazing story and sad too

crazzyman02 said...
on Mar. 16 2011 at 11:17 am
crazzyman02, Pine Grove WVU, West Virginia
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"In the dog house"

I think its sad what happened to the girl