I am a 16 year old teenager living in Des Moines, IA and I have been diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. I have trouble eating food and I am seriously endangering my life. I am writing this note so that others can learn from my troubles and struggles and I hope to speak with others about Anorexia Nervosa.
It all began 4 years ago when I began thinking I was too fat and not slender enough to be good looking. Looking back it was sometime within 4 or 5 months of my 12th birthday that I began to become obssessed, OBSSESSED about calories, fat grams, food content, and nutrition. Some of my concern was about the massive food industry use of chemicals and unnatural processes, trans-fatty acids and saturated fats. I began researching on the internet and in my local library the abuse of animals, the use of pesticides, and the links to cancer and other horrible diseases from food.
I began to limit my eating to organic vegetables and fruits and would not even sit at a table with meat or processed foods. I cause a lot of trouble with my family and my parents fought with me constantly about being at the dinner table with my brothers and sisters, like we had always been required. I think my research was really scaring me, but just the disguise for my real problem, Anorexia Nervosa.
I continued to do very well in school as I always had so there really wasn’t any concern from teachers or my guidance counselor about my new habits. I avoided the lunchroom and eating any kind of lunch. I was eating limited fruits and vegetables throughout the day whenever I could between classes. My friends remained the same and I still the same but scared of this new information I had learned and also scared I would become fat. I could barely look at people overweight. I did my best not to look at people in the hallways, even my teachers or principals who were overweight because it made me nervous. No one noticed my paranoia except for me.
I began to notice changes in my weight sometime about 3 monthsafter my first obssession. This was about 2 months before my 13th birthday. My fights with my parents continued and even when they spoke with my teachers who made them know that my grades were still very good they were not happy about my food habits and not being with the family for dinner. I didn’t go out with friends or leave my house I just couldn’t sit at the table. I would get nauseous just thinking about the food they were eating downstairs and the amount. While my family ate dinner I ate two laxatives so I could be in the bathroom and bothered less about coming to eat.(My mom would come upstairs to check on me and ask me to join them and not make such trouble. My mom is sweet and caring and loves me and she never yelled. My Dad was really angry about the whole “mess I had caused”.)
I was losing weight and only was able to know this from my clothes that had once been tight or fitting were now loose or baggy. When I looked in the mirror I could not see any difference so I just figured I needed to be thinner. I felt I was still in danger of being obese or even just too big and stopped dressing for gym class. I kept complaining of cramps or headaches and my gym teacher eventually called my house. I explained to my Mom and Dad that I “just hadn’t been feeling well” those days. I then claimed to have forgotten sneakers, gym clothes, or even was sick for school or went late to school on gym day several times. I didn’t want other girls to see how much weight I still needed to lose and I couldn’t bare to see other girls larger than me. It made me nervous and anxious to think about dressing for gym.
I did begin to exercise a lot more than I even used to in order to control the added weight of my pretty much only fruits and vegetables throughout the day. I never ate cake or candy or a full meal or meat anymore. At my 13th birthday I almost puked at the amount of food at my friend Ashlee’s mother’s house. The cake my Mom bought for me the night before looked like a mountain! I compensated JUST SEEING all the food by doubling my laxatives to four each day and began to take five the next week.
I began to get in trouble when my excuse for not dressing for gym became noticed and examined by my gym teacher. She noticed certain changes in my appearance and withdrawing from competitive activities I used to enjoy and later she told me “your face had gotten skinnier”. I also began to get light-headed and the fake headaches turned into real headaches. I probably was constantly dehydrated and way, way malnourished.
When my gym teacher and guidance counselor and principal spoke to my parents and after lots and lots of questions they told them they thought I may be practicing Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia. I was forced to go to a doctor(I was scared of what would happen), and the doctor took blood, asked me questions, and then spoke to my parents and then all of us. He said I was what was called “a good candidate to recover from Anorexia Nervosa” because there was such early intervention.
I am now being closely watched and I am on a strict eating schedule that also agrees with my organic needs. I have been taking certain medications to make me hungry and have a new workout plan that will make me stronger again. I am still diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa because I still have bad feelings about food and eating and seeing myself as not thin enough and having trouble looking at big people. I am still struggling and not always happy I got “early intervention” I wish no one found out. I also realize that if no one had found out I could have died. Its scary stuff and maybe you can learn from my story.
About The Author: Michelle D. is a teenager from Des Moines, IA who struggles with Anorexia Nervosa.