Being a veteran of pro anorexia websites, I feel that I am in a position to comment on how they are structured.Since the age of ten, I have been hospitalised once and have seen four different therapists in a bid to rid my body of anorexia. It is truly no different to the rehabilitation of an alcoholic or a drug addict as you can only get better when you are ready to do so.

The first time that I stumbled across pro ana websites, was two summers ago.It is still in existence so I will not reveal its name but for the last two years it has provided me with the support I needed to get myself better.Many people believe that they are detrimental to young girls(and boys) who are in a vunerable position but it honestly depends upon the individual and how they use them.

Many people came in for diet tips;these were usually sent packing with a stern word or two ringing in their ears as anorexia is not something that can be taught. It is one of the purest forms of self destruction. Yes, there were tips swapped between us but the majority did not involve any drugs and could already be found if looked for either on the internet or in your local bookstore. There was positive encouragement for those who wanted to get better and those who were dangerously underweight were encouraged to gain a little. Bulimia, orthorexia and compulsive overeating were talked about in a similar way.

If anything can be said about these anorexic websites is that they offer a support network for terrified young women where they can talk about domestic violence, rape, incest and any other problems that can lead to the want to starve for perfection. Most of the pro ana websites provide a disclaimer along the lines of:

Diatribe of the moment: The Mission Statement

Neither I, nor this site, are trying to help anyone kill themselves. I have said before, will always believe, and always say whether I recover on not - Anorexia Nervosa is a mental disease that reflects an imperfection in the make up of your ability to process emotion and stimulus yes, I made that up, it's not regurgitated pap-speak from some Cosmo, like haters use.

ANOREXIA NERVOSA IS NOT A LIFESTYLE CHOICE. You will *never* hear me say that. Anyone who believes that it is is wrong. Sorry. If you are indeed anorexic, you have no control over your mind, and can not make that kind of choice over what you put into your body. You crave control, and think that by doing this you are indeed in control, but in fact, you have less control than you ever imagined. This sounds like a anti-statement, but hell, it's true. I even hate the term "ana" because it takes the edge of the seriousness of the disease - makes it conversational. Makes it the in thing. makes it okay.

THIS SITE IS NEVER MEANT TO TEACH PEOPLE HOW TO BE ANOREXIC. I don't think it's something that you can learn anyway. And even if the tips on distracting yourself can get you to skip a meal or two one day, that does not an eating disorder make.

I don't want anyone here who wants to "lose weight". I do not want anyone here who thinks they are fine but could stand to "lose a couple for their boyfriends". Tips are to give you fresh ideas on how to stay on track so that you don't fall into a depression and kill yourself - not to teach you how to "not eat".

If you are anorexic, then you do not need tips on how to not eat. You do not need to be told how to stop eating. You do not need to be motivated. You look in the mirror. Problem solved. If not... surprise! Go to Weight Watchers. This ain't no diet. This is pure mental sickness. This site is for support: We pat each other on the backs for our successes as they are successes to us and hug each other for our failures. We support each other through the rough patches and demand that you take care of yourself when another is in danger.

So much more than anti-food-ness goes on here. We have a way of being able to bare our souls to each other because we don't need to hide the most basic part of our mental makeup. It is a starting point: we all know where each other are coming from, we don't need to explain that, and we can trust each other more than anyone else in our worlds. It's a support group in the best sense of the phrase: You're not okay, and that's okay. You can come here and try to find a bit of comfort in knowing that you're not alone, won't be judged and no one is going to tell you to fix yourself. You'll do that on your own when you're ready. And we will support you in that decision as well. Because that takes the most strength of all: Wanting to be normal

This is taken from the website that I used to frequent the most-you build up friendships with the other girls and some I am still in contact with now despite the fact that I will never return to the website in question. Why will I never return? Because a door has shut on those ten years of my life that I wasted due to me hating the reflection in the mirror.