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 Aug. 5 2010 at 5:04 pm
HOPEfully SILVER, Clayton, North Carolina
6 articles 1 photo 30 comments

Favorite Quote:
My Cinderella. She is real. She exists. I pray for her constantly. May God satisfy the desires of her heart, draw her close, consume her. May He claim her passions, her identity, her refuge, her hopes, her strengths and weaknesses -Adam Young

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

on Aug. 5 2010 at 12:42 pm
alanacarlene DIAMOND, Mexia, Texas
55 articles 15 photos 592 comments

Favorite Quote:
Silence screams too honestly and loudly.
-Alex (aka GangstaEyes)
Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two equals four.
-Winston Smith '1984'
Don't go wishin' your life away...
-Daddy S2
"What a drag it was to be limited by reality."

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

on Aug. 5 2010 at 10:05 am
inksplatters21 SILVER, Mason, Ohio
6 articles 0 photos 84 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Character is how you live when no one is watching."

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.

Rainesy BRONZE said...
on Aug. 5 2010 at 9:31 am
Rainesy BRONZE, Owensboro, Kentucky
2 articles 2 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." -T.S Elliot

As a fellow dancer, thank you. Bravo on a story well-told and a challenge defeated. 

on Aug. 5 2010 at 1:17 am
mhmmalright BRONZE, Fresno, California
4 articles 1 photo 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The snow drifts into our zombie mouths crawling with grease and curses and tobacco flakes and cavities and boyfriend/girlfriend juice, the stain of lies. For one moment we are not failed tests and broken condoms and cheating on essays; we are cray

Thank you for sharing this story on the disorder many face but rarely speak about. As a fellow  teen struggling with eating disorders I know how hard it is to write, speak, or admit about anything dealing with your ED.

FOBluvr29 said...
on Jul. 22 2010 at 9:40 am
This story is absolutely amazing. I am currently getting too skinny, but not cos of skipping meals, but being active. I'm pissed at my current weight; 110 lbs, cos everyone i know is like, say about 80s, 90s something like that. Now, I dont really care anymore. Now, I stick to doing what I do best. Rocking out. And no one can stop me

on Jul. 14 2010 at 9:55 pm
writerinfinity PLATINUM, Arlington, Texas
35 articles 0 photos 105 comments
i'm very sorry that happened to you, but seriously the most important beauty is the inside not the outside

stargirl said...
on Jul. 14 2010 at 8:25 pm
Thank you for writing this.  In middle school, I started skipping lunch at school because I wanted to lose weight fast.  It never got any worse than that, due to my encouraging friends and family, and I'm thankful for it!  :)

on Jul. 14 2010 at 1:46 pm
zomgkellie BRONZE, Clarion, Pennsylvania
4 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
be willing to give the effort that separates the winner from the one in second place.

this story was beautiful.

im a thin girl thats always struggled with eating & control issues (never as far as yours got) & reading this really helped me.


Thrush BRONZE said...
on Jul. 14 2010 at 10:55 am
Thrush BRONZE, Tegaad, Other
4 articles 0 photos 65 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Live life to it's fullest extent, it's the only life you've got" "Enjoy yourself, be yourself, love yourself"

Excellent. Simply excellent. It's absolutely perfect.

on Jul. 14 2010 at 12:44 am
MercedesXO DIAMOND, South Easton, Massachusetts
52 articles 0 photos 280 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I realize that life is risks. It's acknowledging the past but looking forward. It's taking chances that we will make mistakes but believeing we all deserve to be forgiven."
-The Dead Tossed Waves.

I loved reading this. It was incredibly real, and serious. How you were on the verge of life or death, and how you CHOSE to be on that incredibly scary balance. I am soooooo proud of you and happy to hear that you are recovering and doing well. It makes me sad (and makes me sad) that when people are already really skinny, they feel the need to be skinnier..that it's never enough. Simply skinny to everyone else, is no longer your goal. starving, dying was what you wanted. and it's so empowering to see you recover, especially when you realized you were losing all that you loved and all that you had in the world. and not only were you hurting yourself, but others as well. i wish it could have been enough for you to try and get better because you needed to do it for you. but sumtimes, sadly, it's not enough. you need to do things for others. anyways, congratulations on your recovery.

my family thinks that i don't eat enough, which i think is absurd. they think i'm too skinny when i know im just average. but then i find that everyone thinks im really skinny. and sumtimes (like you said) that's all the motivation and "complements" (in our mind) that we need to CONTINUE on getting skinnier. when we once strived to lose those "so called 10 lbs of chunkyness", then when that goal was merrily wasn't enough. you were on a role, and nothing could stop you. no one could stop you. and i don't knw anyone that suffers from anorexia, but hearing your story, and the process you went through and how it literally consumed your life, to the point where you could die? that's sumthing that really makes me think. it makes me sad, and it makes me happy that you're doing better. but most of all? it makes me scared by the harsh reality that it sheds on what teenagers (or anyone in general) feels about their body. the extremes we'll go through to meet our personal ideas of "skinny", or perfect perhaps. and it makes me fear for myself, becuase your story makes me realize that i never want to be that way. and i mean that in a thank you way:) for showing me that i wud never want to put the ones i love through that, but least of all myself through that. great job:)

i recently joined the site and i submitted a lot of my work. but barely any or it has been published yet. however, two of my pieces have, and id love if you viewed them and told me what you think.

great job!!

emigini said...
on Jul. 13 2010 at 6:41 pm
emigini, Irving, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Love is friendship set on fire." - Jeremy Taylor

sorry, i had read someone else's post about being hospitalized and sort of mixed up the stories. i suppose i can relate to all of yours, then, except maybe the friend thing- my family was the one who got mad about my weight. again, great story.

emigini said...
on Jul. 13 2010 at 6:39 pm
emigini, Irving, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Love is friendship set on fire." - Jeremy Taylor

i can relate to almost everything in this post (except for the hospitalization... after a little under a year, i realized i needed to stop)... the method, the emotions, all of it. you portrayed it wonderfully. i'm glad you're healthy again.

princess6 GOLD said...
on Jul. 8 2010 at 2:23 pm
princess6 GOLD, Berwyn, Illinois
10 articles 0 photos 42 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You choose your own destiny" :)

omg so inspirational, girls try so hard to be the picture-perfect girl that they wud go through gr8 lenghts to achieve it even if it ment becomin anorexic. Gr8 story its so touching!

on Jun. 22 2010 at 5:44 pm
I had/have this worse than you do. I was hospitalized for a week 2 years ago and I still fluctuate a lot. My parents always had a gut feeling of what was going on, but things spiraled outta hand when I hit 84 and I am very tall, 5'7". The doctor had me on IV and protein shakes. I gained 10 pounds so they let me out, but then I became vegetarian which is a good cover-up to be skinny. I'm in the 90s now and if my parents start to notice I try to gain a few then I relapse again. I know its a problem, and I admit I have this problem, but I can't stay away from the rush of feeling hungry and seeing a flat makes me feel powerful and strong when really i'm harming myself. It's as if i'm more afraid of gaining weight than of dying from anorexia. All of you girls out there who think they don't have this, it all starts by skipping 1 meal and making 1 excuse, be true to yourself and be smart and healthy, love yourself and don;t go crazy for perfection or else you'll spiral downhill and its a lot harder to get back to the top when you are hungry...great article, best of luck!

Sarbear GOLD said...
on Jun. 22 2010 at 4:24 pm
Sarbear GOLD, Milan, Ohio
10 articles 4 photos 489 comments

Favorite Quote:
--Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away from them and you have their shoes.
--When life gives you lemons, squirt them in people's eyes.

this is so touching and i know that a lot of girls can relate to this. im glad you can share your story--keep writing.

banna42 BRONZE said...
on Jun. 22 2010 at 11:47 am
banna42 BRONZE, Connellsville, Pennsylvania
1 article 0 photos 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
"you have enemies? good, it means you stood up for something" -eminem

hey girl, this was touching, i went through the same thing. if you ever need to talk, let me know!! great work though, girl! kudos to you!

bigdreamer14 said...
on Jun. 22 2010 at 9:24 am
bigdreamer14, Y Ya Need To Know???, Louisiana
0 articles 0 photos 27 comments

Favorite Quote:
You can say that I'm a talented writer, but all I can do is write down my feelings on paper and form them into sentences with my own personal flavor.

I actually wrote a short story about this on a writing site called Model Skinnies (the story is on if u want to check it out). Im so sorry that this happened to u and I understand what u went through. However, u say that u were "chunky", not fat. What about the rest of us that are and we've tried everything? What about us? Ive done what u did and Im still not at my goal. What now, huh? What can anyone say about that?

_Mags_ SILVER said...
on Jun. 22 2010 at 8:22 am
_Mags_ SILVER, Somewhere, North Carolina
9 articles 7 photos 436 comments

Favorite Quote:
- I stare danger in the face and giggle
- Never argue with an idiot, people might not know the difference
-R.A.P (Retards Attempting Poetry)
-Tip Cologne ryhmes with alone

wonderful, i haven't been through the same thing as you before but it really hit home and it made me thing about my friends that want to lose weight. And dang 94 that's how much i weigh.

on Jun. 22 2010 at 6:32 am
iluvnacho PLATINUM, Somewhere, Colorado
28 articles 1 photo 67 comments

Favorite Quote:
\"Find the beauty in the ugly\"-Jason Mraz 5-19-10
\"Be kinder than nessicary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.\" Unknown 11-29-10

I love it. It's so inspiring because girls go through that and it's true. Wonderful job illustrating you story, just absolutlry wonderful. :D