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Youth Opinion : Anorexic Teen: ‘We Need Help, Not Insults’

I’m 15 years old and have anorexia nervosa. I’m not going to tell you that I’m recovering because I’m not. Sure, I’m seeing a psychologist and nutritionist, but I’m still firmly in the grip of this awful disease--still focused on eating little and losing weight.

A couple of months ago, a girl wrote in this column about her worry over a friend who wasn’t eating. I’m sure that must be very scary for her, but she has no idea about how scary it is to actually be that person.

Every morning, I wake up and tell myself, “This is stupid. Today, I’m gonna go and eat an ice cream or I’m gonna have a nice juicy hamburger.” But, no. I usually end up having a small peach for breakfast, a Cal 70 yogurt for lunch, and something like a bowl of rice or a baked potato for dinner. My “snack” is usually a handful of puffed wheat or a couple of pretzels.

I jog a couple of miles a day to try and burn off some of those calories. But it’s getting harder to run. I’m getting tired more easily and get the weirdest dizzy spells. It scares me how incredibly hungry I am. And every once in a while, I lose control and eat “too much,” which is more than 600 calories. (It’s nice to know that I can depend on my Ex-Lax to rid me of the awful food.)

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I don’t think of anything except food all day. I purposely look through magazines with pictures of food in them, watch cooking shows and bake delicious-looking goodies for my parents. I’m not going to tell you how it started or when because I’m not really sure. I don’t know how this thing is going to turn out, but I want you to try and understand, that’s all.

I’ve dieted myself from 135 pounds to 105 pounds. At 5-feet-6 tall, I’m not looking too good. I have dark circles under my eyes and I’m pale. Everyone’s on my case, and I still think I look fat. As miserable as I am, I still want to lose weight.

I’m asking those of you reading this to understand that it’s not our fault we have this disease. We are not stubborn, nor are we trying to hurt anybody. We can’t “ust eat.” Know that we need help and support, not insults or pleadings. If you are a victim yourself, know that you’re not alone. There are support groups out there that really help. Sixty percent of those with anorexia nervosa overcome the major symptoms, UCLA’s Strober says.

Thank you for reading this and to my fellow sufferers, good luck.

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