A letter to those who need it

My name is Katie, and I'm 17. I have been struggling with Anorexia for three years. I consider myself "recovered" right now, but there are always days or weeks that I slip back into old behaviors, and not a day passes where I don't think about it. My eating disorder and the effects it had on my life will be with me forever.

It all started during the summer after eighth grade, and continued to get worse from there. I was so depressed that I refused to talk to anyone. When school started again, I made the volleyball team. Our coach really stressed the idea of dieting to make sure we stayed in shape. I took her words straight to heart, and immediately began to spend all my time worrying about my appearance. My parents didn't notice anything was wrong at first because I was so good at finding ways to hide what was going on, but after a while my disorder became obvious to everyone. My coach wouldn't let me play anymore because I wasn't strong enough, and all my friends tried everything and anything to get me to eat. But nothing seemed to work. I wanted to eat to make them happy, but I just couldn't. My mom took me straight to the doctor, who said I was going to die if I kept eating like I was. My mom cried every night and begged me to take care of myself. My dad would start crying silently and leave the room whenever he looked at me, and I'd never seen him cry before that.

On the day of my 15th birthday, I was hospitalized for Major Depressive Disorder and Anorexia Nervosa. The hospital was about thirty minutes from home, and my family visited every day. But I was miserable. The doctors continuously asked what I was thinking, how I was feeling, and they never stopped. When I would not do what was expected of me, I was put into the "Quiet Room," which is basically a jail cell; nothing but a mattress on the floor and blank, peach-colored walls. I started to fall behind in school. I couldn't concentrate on my homework anymore because my brain was dying while my body wasted away. Walking was hard because I was constantly dizzy. They weighed me every morning. It was extremely humiliating.

I felt so violated and out of control of my life while I was there. During the next five months, I went to two other hospitals, one in Iowa and the other in Illinois. I felt so alone. I was away from home for over three months in a row, never seeing my friends or my family or my pets. Doctors did all sorts of medical tests on me, and I was forced to stay in a wheelchair for two weeks because my heartbeat was so slow that they thought I was going to have a heart attack if I even stood up. I felt like I had gone insane and lost everything I had ever worked and hoped for.

I turned to cutting my arms and legs to take away my emotional pain. I was a wreck. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is worth doing that kind of damage to oneself. I was told I would have to repeat ninth grade because I missed an entire semester of school, that I would be in and out of hospitals for the rest of my life, and that my family would be put through never-ending pain forever. But somehow, I became hopeful. I don't know what happened or what caused it. Maybe the hope had been there all along, covered by stronger emotions. I still don't know. I began to fight my eating disorder with all the strength I had in me. Within the next month, I was home and on my way to being happy again. Even now, after being home for two years, I still remember every day I was in the hospital. Like I said, it's always going to be a part of me. But thanks to medication, support from my family and my friends, and my own strong will, I am healthy today. Please, don't put yourself and the people you love through that kind of experience. We all have so much to live for.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is a Black/industrial-metal band hailing from France, at the moment consisting of five members.

The lineup from the first album, named Exile (1997) consisted of the following:

Guitars - Maître Stefan Bayle
Vocals - Stéphane Gerbaud
Bass - Pierre Couquet
Guitars - Marc Zabe
Drums - Nilcas Vant

Exile was a very gothic and industrial-inspired album, also containing elements of the blackmetal they are known for in these days.
The album was acclaimed, but is not what Anorexia Nervosa is usually associated with,
After Exile, only Maître Stefan Bayle and Pierre Couquet stayed in Anorexia, while the others left.
Bayle and Couquet assembled a new band under the same name, and did some major changes in style and lineup.


Lineup for Sodomizing the Archangel (1999), Drudenhaus (2000) and Mother Anorexia (2001)albums:

Guitars - Maître Stefan Bayle
Vocals - RMS Hreidmarr
Bass - Pierre Couquet
Synths - Neb Xort
Drums - Nilcas Vant

The changes done after Exile resulted in a totally different sound, which might remind of Cradle of Filth, only harsher, faster and more talented.

Writeup is subject to change.
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder in which the afflicted individual avoids eating or eats extremely little out of an irrational fear of becoming or being fat. This fear/perception of being fat does not diminish as the individual loses weight (often to a dangerous extent -- some individuals may lose up to 25% of their original weight). This condition is most common among young women (ages 12 to 21) but is also found in men (particularly athletes, dancers, etc.) and in older women.

From the BioTech Dictionary at http://biotech.icmb.utexas.edu/. For further information see the BioTech homenode.

Women are not the only group that fall prey to this illness, however cases involving women get the greatest publicity. Some of the nodes I've read here dealing the subject of anorexia describe it as an individual starving themselves from a silly/irrational fear of being overweight. I am a male, I suffer from this disease every day of my life, and it is not because I am irrational, silly or depressed. It is because of my upbringing, and the way society classifies and ridicules its overweight population that I suffer from this. I will explain to you why.

People of average weight do not understand what it is like to be overweight, plump, fat, chubby, or whatever name people use to ridicule someone. I was overweight from the time I was seven years old until the time I was about twenty one. It was because of chronic overeating, however because my mother was also a chronic overeater and I was not taught how to eat responsibly. It was easy to eat as much as I wanted to, whenever I wanted to. So guess what? Fat in elementary school, fat in junior high school, fat in high school.

Being the fat kid for basically half your childhood and all of puberty can really shape your view of the world. I won't go into how absolutely degrading and dehumanizing the constant teasing and ridicule can be for someone, there are plenty of other nodes here on e2 dealing with that. I will say however that this constant torment shaped my self image into one of revulsion, disgust and horror. Having only a handful of what you would call real friends during these years did not help me to gain a better self image, and show how I could go about eating better and taking care of myself. In high school, when everyone was thinking about guyss and girls, I didn't have some magical switch that made my desire for the opposite sex go away. I acted on my interests in women and they quite readily voiced their revulsion to my appearance.

I will admit that as an undergraduate in college, I noticed people lose a lot of their clique-ish behavior and become more level-headed. I gained a group of very close, genuinely honest friends that I keep to this day. These people didn't care about my weight or how much I ate and accepted me as I was, though a lot of people still referred to me as that "fat guy" and the coeds didn't give me the time. I had a very buff roommate and it was like I didn't exist to women when he was around. After a couple years of college, I stopped trying to find dates (I might have had one or two) and put that energy into classes. My self image continued to go further downward.

Around my junior year I was about fifty pounds overweight. It was about this time that my four close friends had found relatively steady relationships and started having weekly get togethers for dinner and drinking. I regularly attended but quickly felt like the outcast being the lone man at the shootout. John started telling us stories about how awesome the sex was with Susan, and Will about how Michelle and he were at it five times a day. I was first in my class in engineering but I hadn't laid hands on a girl in two years. They started feeding me lines like "oh, your time is coming" or "you've got to try harder to meet people." Sure, ok. I'd had enough. Angela, a friend I was really interested in, let me brush her hair, but fucked one of my best friends instead. Angelique came over for dinner, and then got married to someone else. The list just goes on.

Sometime around the first week of January, 1996, my hatred of the word "fat" grew to the point that I decided that I would do whatever was in my power to move as far away from that label as possible. So, for the next ten months or so, I basically starved myself to death. Having absolutely no idea how to eat right, I ate a small bowl of cereal in the morning, maybe a bowl of soup and toast in the evening, and water and diet soda in between. And for the first time in my life, I was in control of this "problem." No one would ever be able to hold being "fat" over my head again. I started running then, about four miles a day. Not easy to do on 500-800 calories a day. But I did it anyway. I passed out many times walking to class. My sex drive went away, but I hadn't been laid in four years so I didn't care. After I lost about fifty pounds my friends said that I was a totally different person and that I looked amazing. If I had possessed a decent self image I probably could have stopped losing weight right htne. But it didn't matter anymore. Angelique came by one afternoon to return some music. Her sister was with her when she handed it back. Her sister said, "I thought you borrowed those from the fat guy." Yep, she sure did.

When I was down to about 150 pounds my friends and my family told me it was time to start eating again, but I had it in my mind that any piece of food would cause me to balloon again so I told them to fuck off. My dad and mother threatened to hospitalize me. People started ridiculing me again because I was too thin! It didn't matter though, because I wasn't fat anymore, and I was in control of my weight.

It was when I went to graduate school that I gained control of my life, but it took a while. Being isolated from a lot of people helped a lot, as I was no longer afraid of being ridiculed by anyone. I had easy access to the internet and was able to read about eating disorders, stories from other people that suffered from them (mostly women of course, but I could empathize), and I was able to learn about how to eat responsibly. I gained about twenty five pounds over the next year or so. I met and fell in love with a girl on the second floor of the graduate dorm. This one actually loves me back.

In the five years since then I joined the local gym and started gaining back all the muscle that I lost. This has been doubly hard to do because the fear of "fat" has never gone away. I have to sit on it at all times, put it in the back of my mind and remind myself that I am in control of my weight. Gaining muscle requires you to eat, and eat a lot, and it has been a very hard road forcing myself to eat what I know I have to. The unfounded guilt is still there. Sometimes I have the desire some mornings to not eat that day. But I have control of my disease.

However, the damaged self image remains. After years of seeing myself as less of a person because of the insecurities of other people, I have learned how to handle those feelings. I imagine that most other people that suffer from anorexia may also fight their self image on a daily basis. Counseling has also helped deal with some of this self hatred, but it is still there. Having to pay $100 an hour out of my pocket to fix damage these other people caused is insult to injury.

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