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.

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This article has 206 comments.

hwisse05 said...
on Dec. 11 2019 at 2:28 pm
hwisse05, Henry, Tennessee
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
It is amazing how brave you are to share your story!

on Aug. 26 2018 at 11:26 pm
11399230 BRONZE, Las Vegas, Nevada
1 article 0 photos 4 comments
Thank you for sharing the struggle. I've been there too :). Thanks for being so strong and going into recovery!

on Apr. 16 2015 at 3:41 pm
mette_tinggaard_, Vinderup, Other
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
I don't know, but maybe you can help me. I am doing an Outline for my english topic, and have chosen 'bodyimage', and I thought maybe you could help me?

on Mar. 16 2014 at 2:00 pm
BlueySky7 BRONZE, Leeds, Oregon
1 article 0 photos 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
Everybody is beautiful there own way, we are all art!!!

This writting was really good,it gives me. Its so detailed and touching.

on Feb. 27 2014 at 12:38 pm
ImmortalRose GOLD, Arvada, Colorado
17 articles 1 photo 168 comments

Favorite Quote:
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Khalil Gibran

This was touching... it inspires me... Maybe I should eat lunch today...

on Jan. 14 2013 at 3:57 pm
OracleIz SILVER, De Queen, Arkansas
5 articles 1 photo 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." Shakespeare

Believe me when I say I know exactly the thoughts that drive someone too this. Luckily,my friends caught on quickly and managed to help me through it. You are so brave,love.

on Oct. 5 2012 at 10:10 am
MarieAntoinette2014 DIAMOND, Scottsburg, Indiana
54 articles 2 photos 237 comments

Favorite Quote:
Isn't it ironic? We ignore the ones who adore us, adore the ones who ignore us, love the ones who hurt us, and hurt the ones that love us.

You might not have a serious problem, if your not skipping them just because you feel like you want to lose weight. Anorexia is basically a fixation with losing weight by not eating.

on Sep. 14 2012 at 7:49 pm
sarahnicole7 BRONZE, Voorhees, New Jersey
2 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
hope for the best, but prepare for the worst

you are so strong. i was in the same place as you, and still am. you can do this i know you can

Bambi67 SILVER said...
on Sep. 13 2012 at 7:10 pm
Bambi67 SILVER, Chicago, Illinois
9 articles 1 photo 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
remember that the future comes one day at a time.
Dean Acheson

wow I really enjoy reading this piece it's a great story and it turn out very positive,glad your doing better!

notmehaha GOLD said...
on Sep. 13 2012 at 5:50 pm
notmehaha GOLD, Suffolk, Virginia
17 articles 0 photos 24 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be who you are and say what you feel. Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." -Dr. Suess

I clicked five stars automatically because I knew I was going to choose it anyways.   Anorexia sucks...It's hard to deal with. You're really strong.

avalongirl24 said...
on Aug. 26 2012 at 2:10 pm
avalongirl24, Horsham, Pennsylvania
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams" -Eleanor Roosevelt

I was also anorexic and have a similar story... It's called Recovering from Anorexia, it's on Teen Ink- look it up :)

on Aug. 23 2012 at 4:42 pm
elizabeth shropshire, 39047, Mississippi
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
i am anorexic

KaileeM BRONZE said...
on Aug. 22 2012 at 8:41 pm
KaileeM BRONZE, Magnolia, New Jersey
1 article 2 photos 18 comments
Everybody is BEAUTIFUL in EVERY way. Stay.Beautifulx

on Jun. 20 2012 at 10:19 pm
ClarinetPower SILVER, Macomb, Michigan
5 articles 0 photos 40 comments
Please don't! I have friends who are anorexic, and all I do is worry about them. Nothing I do makes it better.

on Jun. 20 2012 at 10:14 pm
ClarinetPower SILVER, Macomb, Michigan
5 articles 0 photos 40 comments
Don't ever worry about your weight. Worry about being healthy. 

bluhs said...
on May. 26 2012 at 10:17 pm
bluhs, E, Alabama
0 articles 0 photos 111 comments
This was an inspirational/ incredible/amazing piece.

on May. 26 2012 at 9:25 am
Plethora BRONZE, Austin, Texas
4 articles 0 photos 3 comments
Wow. I love the way you put what you feel into words so perfectly. I've been through a similar experience, and I can totally relate to what you felt.

on Apr. 12 2012 at 7:03 pm
bella049117 SILVER, Shell Beach, California
6 articles 0 photos 10 comments
i am a dancer as well and i would like to thank you for putting every single one of my feelings into words perfectly. 

on Mar. 9 2012 at 4:38 pm
starbucks_queen21 BRONZE, Belmont, New Hampshire
3 articles 0 photos 39 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Strength is nothing more than how well you hide the pain!"

WOW!!! This was sooo good! I'm struggleing with this very thing right now. I feel exactly how you felt!(before you started to recover.) At this point I have no intentions of stopping, but reading this has def. helped me see that I'm not the only person out there that struggles with this. I noticed it said you were from New Hampshire. So am I!!! I thought that was really cool! :) 

on Feb. 28 2012 at 7:53 pm
His_Princess SILVER, Maywood, Missouri
6 articles 0 photos 2 comments
Great article, well-written, and sooo inspiring.  I am so proud of you!  Never forget that you are truly beautiful. ♥