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Living With Anorexia: Lizzy

A teen turned to dieting as a way of dealing with strong emotions, and later started her own anorexia-focused web site.

WebMD Feature

By Lizzy
Anorexia Crossing the Thin Line
I guess it all started with a diet when I was a sophomore in high school. I had been overweight for awhile, but I hadn't given much thought to it. Then, my grandpa died, and I thought, "Life is really short, and I'm tired of spending it in a body that I hate."

At least, that's what I told myself. Really, I think I was looking for something to take my mind off all the anger and emptiness I was feeling after his death. Dieting helped me deal. By the middle of my junior year, my diet had gotten much more restrictive and more intense -- I was barely eating 500 calories a day, and I was exercising as much as I could. But no matter what I did or how much weight I lost, I didn't like the way I looked. And I started thinking that maybe this was more than a diet.

I had heard about pro-anorexia sites a couple of years before, on an episode of "Boston Public." But I'd forgotten about them until I started wondering if I was developing an eating disorder. As soon as I went to some of the sites, I thought "Wow, yeah, I do." I didn't meet all the criteria, but there were things about distorted body image, looking in the mirror and not seeing what was really there, and no matter how much weight you lost, it wasn't enough.

That's me.

Her Own Anorexia Web Site

But even though those sites helped me realize what was happening to me, no one site had all the information or the images that I was looking for. I figured I could create a site and it would just be my own resource. I was posting on a few forums on the other pro-ana pages, and I put my link there. After that it just took off.

There's part of me that realizes how bad this disease is for me, and another part that says I have to be thinner no matter what. That's the side that's usually in the most control.

But my web site is about both sides. I want people to read the sections about how it's not all fun and games. Anorexia is not just being skinny: It's physical and emotional hell. I don't want people to think it's all so simple and so light. It's not glamorous.

In October 2003, I finally reached double digits on the scale, and I was just miserable all the time. I looked in the mirror and I didn't see anything different from when I was 148 and first started to diet.

I knew then that if I didn't get help soon, it would never get any better. After I got a therapist, she recommended medical treatment, and in March 2004, at my lowest weight of 88, I was put in the hospital for eight days. That wasn't bad compared to some of the girls who were on bed rest for a month, but it still sucked.

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