I Had an Eating Disorder
By Krissy, age 13, Illinois
Today people no longer have the same kinds of problems as in the past. We no longer worry about the autumn harvest or if there will be enough food for the upcoming winter. Now our brains are being trained to find importance in beauty and fashion. Magazine covers and television ads are sending messages that we all must fit "the ideal". This "ideal" look consists of perfect skin and super slim bodies. Films and TV programs feature toothpick thin girls and make us believe that we should look like this too. Models, actresses, and other celebrities are setting a standard that small and petite is the way you have to be.
It is not. Girls from all around the world are suffering from anorexia, and I was one of them.
1% of female adolescents are suffering from anorexia. This means that 1 out of every 100 girls you know are suffering from this awful disease. Anyone can struggle with anorexia, and it's not always obvious. Anorexia is a psychiatric condition with which you have low body weight and a distortion of your body image. People with anorexia often starve themselves, purge, vomit, or excessively exercise. Signs of anorexia include low self esteem, constant thoughts about food and weight, mood swings, clinical depression, and an intense fear about becoming overweight. This appalling illness is even spreading to girls as young as 10. With this understanding I can now begin my story.
At the age of 10, when I was in 5th grade, I started obsessing over my appearance. No one knew. I didn't even know myself. I didn't realize that my habits were hurting my health. I barely ate, and eating in front of people was not an option. I felt that eating made me weak. It made me feel ashamed. And when I did eat, I made sure it was healthy. I kept a diary and counted calories, and made sure my workout was difficult enough to burn them all away. I worked out every night, and if I didn't I felt terrible.
I always felt as if I were gaining more weight and that I looked disgusting. I wondered how people could lie to me and say that I was thin. Throughout my classes I constantly thought about food. I knew that I didn't want to eat, but I thought about it constantly. I thought about how I should go work out, and how fat I was getting. Negative thoughts kept flowing through my mind. People constantly told me I should eat more and they started worrying about me. Despite all these comments I didn't care.
My cousin kept telling me that I should eat more and stop obsessing. I told her I couldn't - that it wasn't even an option. Soon she became very worried. She told me I needed to stop harming myself, and I needed to lose weight in a healthier way, though I really didn't need to. I talked to her about everything I was feeling and what was on my mind.
That day my healing process began. It wasn't as if the next day all my issues were gone. After being ill all those months, I guess I wasn't used to eating normal portions. But after a few months I was back on track.
Still today it's hard to tell my story. Sometimes I still wish I were thinner and "prettier". But no girl should think that, and that's why I'm telling my story. For those who are still suffering the best thing to do is talk. Talk to your friends, parents, teachers, and confidants about your feelings and problems. It will help. The biggest lesson I learned is to be happy with yourself. Be proud to be who you are. Let no one bring you down or change who you are. Be who you want to be and don't let anyone tell you differently.
So go to the beach with your friends this summer in a swimsuit and strut your stuff. Remember, we are all different and unique in our own ways, and that is what makes us special.