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.

Similar Articles


This article has 206 comments.

on May. 31 2010 at 10:17 pm
Nightshade BRONZE, Ringgold, Georgia
2 articles 8 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a persistant one," - Albert Einstein.

Hey doll,

I haven't been through exactly what you've been through... but it still hit home with me. I've been through a similar situation myself, and I believe you can make it work out.

This really made me cry, doll. I feel terrible when people go through this. I'm impressed that you've taken your story to this site, and that you've helped people actually save themselves.

Kudos, doll. :)

banna42 BRONZE said...
on May. 31 2010 at 5:55 pm
banna42 BRONZE, Connellsville, Pennsylvania
1 article 0 photos 13 comments

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

Thank you:] I really appreciate the attention that eating disorders are getting..they are dangerous and life threatening and girls need to see that they are really bad:] thankss!

Eilatan GOLD said...
on May. 31 2010 at 4:18 pm
Eilatan GOLD, Old Greenwich, Connecticut
11 articles 1 photo 307 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Nobody is normal. Everybody in the world is a weirdo freak. Except you, which makes you a weirdo freak."

wow, this is a really touching article. Good job, it can't have been easy to go through something like that. I'm sensitive about my size as well, and have been thinking that maybe not eating would help, but you've showed me that there are far better ways to deal with your weight and anorexia isn't worth it. thank you.

vtmmmmm said...
on May. 31 2010 at 2:34 pm
this is great. i went thru the same exact thing, u described it perfectly. i always pray for people struggling with that cuz its so hard to snap out of it.
well done.

brendadawn said...
on May. 31 2010 at 11:37 am
I have never had a problem with food, but your story made me tear up.  It was a good thing.  I am so glad you had people who cared about you enough to take action.  You probaly didn't like it when they made you go to the doctor.  I am glad you had a real friend who was willing to tell you the truth.  Best of Everthing

on May. 31 2010 at 11:03 am
Sketched97 PLATINUM, Silver Spring, Maryland
31 articles 4 photos 167 comments

Amazing, touching article. good luck :) truly. I know what your going through, and its tough. 


LadyLuck GOLD said...
on May. 31 2010 at 8:50 am
LadyLuck GOLD, Cumming, Georgia
14 articles 0 photos 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

wow, this is an amazing story. I've battled with anorexia and i know its hard to pull yourself out of the death spiral. good job and thanks for sharing your story

on May. 20 2010 at 11:47 am
chartothalatte GOLD, Cleveland Heights, Ohio
10 articles 1 photo 62 comments
this is a great article that is good to hear. anorexia is eating america and people are starting to be inspired by people who are too skinny. it isn't healthy. i'm not always the most comfortable with my body, and i do try to eat healthy and exercise, but i am not anorexic. this is inspiring for many people, not only me. many, many, many people. please keep writing articles like that! and i'm glad the weight is coming back. you weigh only a little more than me and i'm 13 and 5'3.5''. good luck is all i can say! and thanks. (:

krzykrys GOLD said...
on May. 9 2010 at 4:55 pm
krzykrys GOLD, Baldwinsville, New York
15 articles 0 photos 51 comments

Favorite Quote:
i have many favorite quotes

its great to hear this story because my friend has anorexia and she keeps pulling away fro me and i think its because im one of the few who knows how it all began. she was doing well then slowly began to lose weight again. i know shes scared but i am too.

on May. 9 2010 at 3:58 pm
Xblue_raspberryX SILVER, Greensburg, Pennsylvania
5 articles 10 photos 17 comments

Favorite Quote:
I may not be Mrs. America or popular at school, but i do a lot of nice sh** in life. I want some attention too!

omg girls at my skool need to hear this story. all they eat is salad and nothing much else. THEYRE ALL CRAZY SKINNY! its discusting! im in the middle of skinny and chunky and im proud of that. im in the middle

izzy2 SILVER said...
on May. 9 2010 at 3:08 pm
izzy2 SILVER, Charlottesville, Virginia
5 articles 0 photos 3 comments
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.

on May. 9 2010 at 12:00 pm
shelbywashere21 BRONZE, Louisville, Kentucky
3 articles 0 photos 1 comment

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

that was amazing, i've also struggled with anorexia, it's great that you're getting over it.

mandmarie said...
on Apr. 17 2010 at 4:21 pm
Thank you for writing this article. The topic of eating disorders really needs to be discussed more often.  My daughter suffers from anorexia so thank you again.

on Apr. 17 2010 at 3:11 pm
carolinestarr PLATINUM, Ellicott City, Maryland
28 articles 2 photos 30 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It's not about who we are, but who we choose to be."

Very poqwerful story. Thank you for sharing it with us.

on Apr. 17 2010 at 10:35 am
HeyAmanda SILVER, Rancho Cucamonga, California
8 articles 0 photos 47 comments
yes it is i am a well overweght girl and  I am someone who needs to lose weight it always makes me feel worse when friends who are fine just the way they are call themselves fat. does that make me enormous? no skipping meals is like starving yourself of nutrition and noboy wants to see u die of malnutrition

on Mar. 26 2010 at 8:27 pm
firstsnowfalls DIAMOND, Marcellus, New York
51 articles 6 photos 105 comments
wow. very powerful. thank you so much for sharing your story.

TrinaL SILVER said...
on Mar. 26 2010 at 8:21 pm
TrinaL SILVER, Mississauga, Other
8 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"What lies behind us and before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us" - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I think it's amazing that you've inspired so many people to come out with their problem. It's a wonderful story and congratz! I think to all those girls out there who are in this situation, be strong ladies there's always someone to talk to that will listen and stay by your side. What really helped me through my eating disorder was knowing that not only the people who love me care but that random people care because everyone brings some kind or amazement to this world. Be healthy, be strong and remember that right now people are praying for you and there will always be someone who wants everyone in this situation to get better!! Your body is the temple that houses your soul, so take care of it!! :)

.rauha said...
on Mar. 26 2010 at 4:05 pm
.rauha, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania
0 articles 1 photo 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life is short; buy the shoes."
Haha, not about, "It is what it is."

That comment about your friend made me cry.

Your story is really inspiring, and I am so proud of you. I wish more girls who had eating disorders were as strong as you.

on Mar. 26 2010 at 3:05 pm
vegerain BRONZE, Poolesville, Maryland
3 articles 2 photos 5 comments
l love how in the sixth or seventh paragraph you come right out and you admit how you have a problem, because one of the hardest things about having a problem is admiting you have a problem.

morgnessx3 said...
on Mar. 26 2010 at 11:21 am
i know what your going through and its hard to listen to people when you really feel like you are okay and not doing anything wrong, itts like if you are happy why would you think anything is wrong i know what your feeling and you cant give up