Diary of an Anorexic
A poor self-image. A low self-esteem. A yearning for a better body. A loss of control. These are things that most anorexics have in common. I know, because all these things once described me.
The following excerpts from my journal cover all phases of the disorder: how I fell prey to it, my conflicted feelings during recovery, and the revelation of how even now—more than a decade later—my experience with anorexia has forever changed me.
My Struggle Begins (ages 12 and 13)
February 15, 1986
I'm so gross! I don't know how anyone stands to look at me. All the skinny girls in my classes get the boyfriends, the attention, and what do I get? I get called a pig. Jason is the worst. I know brothers exist to make their sisters' lives miserable, but I think the reason Jason's comments hurt so much is because I know they're true. I am a pig. I eat way too often and way too much junk food. Mom says 110 pounds is fine for being 5 feet 3 inches tall, but I don't like how flabby I feel. I think I'm going to try to lose a few pounds—just enough so Jason will stop teasing me.
I'm not doing too bad—six pounds and counting. Another six or eight and I might look OK. I'd love to lose these thunder thighs. Jason doesn't call me "oinker" anymore, but I think that's only because Mom and Dad told him to stop.
I've made a pact with myself to cut out all "munchies" (like potato chips) from now on. And I've decided to cut out all desserts, too. That should really make a difference! Guess what I found out? A McDonald's cheeseburger has over 500 calories! And the fat content is super high! I will never eat there again!
I want to learn the caloric content in everything. I wonder how many calories are in a postage stamp. Do vitamins have calories? I know a stick of gum has 10 calories, but if I were to chew gum instead of eating lunch, I'd come out way ahead.
I've lost 17 pounds since I started dieting. It's getting harder to do, though, because Mom and Dad are noticing that I poke at my food rather than eat it. Tonight they practically force-fed me. They lectured me on eating a full meal, then made me drink a whole glass of milk—that's 110 calories! I didn't want it! It makes me sick to think they made me do something I didn't want to do.
I've noticed lately that Mom's been putting extra globs of peanut butter on my celery. I think she's trying to trick me into eating more calories, but I'm the one who's tricking her! When I get to school, I throw my lunch away. Then, while my friends scarf down their fat-filled lunches, I spend 30 minutes walking the halls. So not only do I resist consuming calories, I actually burn some! Ha! Who's in charge now?
Tomorrow we leave for Michigan for the summer. I'm kind of glad to be getting out of town because the cabin has always been a relaxing place for me, but I worry that Mom and Dad will be studying my every move.