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.

pandabear said...
on Mar. 13 2011 at 4:51 pm
Wow!  This is a really great story, but it's sad how the girl is so inconfident.  It really takes friends to change someone's behavior.

on Mar. 13 2011 at 3:08 pm
StayClassy1 SILVER, Stockton, California
5 articles 1 photo 40 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Buy me food so i know it's real"

actually i just wrote a report on anorexia, alot of people at my school are having problems with anorexia. it's sad really... thanks for putting this up, it's touching

WriterGeek<3 said...
on Mar. 13 2011 at 11:27 am
This was very inspiring. I suffered through a very mild eating disorder and serious depression. I know exactly how you feel and how hard it is to recover. And i know from personal experience that a part of you never really recovers but keep trying! Never give up on yourself. 

Duckie430 said...
on Feb. 22 2011 at 8:39 am
Duckie430, Riverside, Rhode Island
0 articles 0 photos 228 comments

Favorite Quote:
“The secret to life is being who you are and being happy with who you are.”
"Whatever does not kill you only makes you stronger."

This piece is very inspirational. I've been anorexic myself for years, & I still struggle, been through so much treatment & counseling & hospitalization...stories like this are truly inspring. Check out some of my work if you'd like-"Anorexia" or "I Love Me, I Love Me Not"

balletgirl21 said...
on Feb. 19 2011 at 8:30 pm
this was very moving and it is very brave of you to go throught this, fix it, then write about it! very touching!

on Feb. 19 2011 at 7:47 pm
ArtChildCliche, Madison, Wisconsin
0 articles 7 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I swear I will not die today for any man's persuasion"

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.

on Feb. 19 2011 at 3:27 pm
AthenaBook SILVER, Arlington, Virginia
5 articles 0 photos 36 comments

Favorite Quote:
You should not live the way the world asks, but the way that you ask of yourself.

But it is so hard to listen to something if doing this one thing (in this person's case, starving yourself) if you think you are happy doing this. Anorexia is such a hard thing to overcome... I'm so proud (even though I don't know her) that someone had the couarge to overcome this.

on Feb. 19 2011 at 12:09 pm
WerewolfWriting BRONZE, Eerie, Nevada
4 articles 0 photos 32 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life is not about the breaths we take but about the people who take our breath away."

You are quite a strong person to come back from that. And be able to talk about it.

on Feb. 19 2011 at 10:36 am
brookie52297 BRONZE, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
3 articles 3 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"come hither my slave" carli

i am suffering from anorexia too, i left a comment with my story

on Feb. 19 2011 at 10:35 am
brookie52297 BRONZE, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
3 articles 3 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"come hither my slave" carli

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 they have a lot of attention. my mom and dad both were working late. i never had a doctors appointment or counseling. just people who cared about me. soon all i had was my boyfriend and my two best friends. i now am 5' 3 3/4" and 108 still strugglnig to gain weight. i had to buy an all new wardrobe basically when i lost all that and i loved tight tanks, becasue they showed how skinny i was. now it just shows the weight ive gained. i hate it. i still only eat 1 to 2 meals a day but am working hard. your story is inspirational and i am actually about to join dance. thank you for sharing your story

on Jan. 28 2011 at 7:00 pm
shelterisland GOLD, Montclair, New Jersey
14 articles 0 photos 175 comments

Favorite Quote:
-Biting's excellent. It's like kissing only there's a winner."-Doctor Who, The Tardis

you never heard of anorexia...?

on Jan. 28 2011 at 4:59 pm
chelsrose BRONZE, Teutopolis, Illinois
2 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

Great love and great achievements involve great risks.

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! 

on Jan. 28 2011 at 3:35 pm
Monica@Roman SILVER, New Haven, Connecticut
8 articles 0 photos 48 comments

Favorite Quote:
"This too shall pass"

wow then this is a truly amazing story then. im glad she overcame this...i have respect for strong people like herself :)

on Jan. 28 2011 at 3:26 pm
remembermeplz PLATINUM, Friend, Nebraska
36 articles 10 photos 230 comments

Favorite Quote:
"when the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace" -- Jimi Hendrix

You do know that this is a true story right?

ErinRose GOLD said...
on Jan. 6 2011 at 8:05 pm
ErinRose GOLD, Colchester, Vermont
14 articles 1 photo 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Why my piggy?! WHY?! I loved you, piggy!! I loved you..." -Gir. Invader Zim. (:
"GOOD FRIENDS would always knock on your house door. BEST FRIENDS would just enter and yell IM HOME at the top of their lungs."-Unknown

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!!

on Jan. 6 2011 at 11:59 am
gloriasinferno37 SILVER, Needham, Massachusetts
6 articles 0 photos 26 comments

Favorite Quote:
When I grow up I want to be like me
-Kurt Cobain



on Jan. 6 2011 at 8:23 am
bonjouritsandi SILVER, Des Plaines, Illinois
5 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The world wide world is my stage." -Lily Allen,

 I know excatly how you feel. You're very brave to write this. Keep up the good work!

on Dec. 15 2010 at 10:11 pm
Monica@Roman SILVER, New Haven, Connecticut
8 articles 0 photos 48 comments

Favorite Quote:
"This too shall pass"

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 :)

on Dec. 15 2010 at 8:26 pm
Novelwriter14 GOLD, Durango, Colorado
16 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Either write somehting worth reading, or do something worth writing."-Benjamin Franklin

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...
on 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