Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Envious and Pitying

I just saw this anorexic girl on campus in the coffe shop. Her face was all sunken in and her jeans were tiny and baggy, reminding me of how my size one jeans used to just hang off my hips. I watched her get a sald out of the cooler and get in line. Then she had a moment of hesitation, got out of line, stared at the cooler and then went back to the end of the line with the same salad. Then, about thrity seconds later, she went back to the cooler, put the salad back and left. About 10 minutes later, the girl was back. She was in line again for about 20 seconds, then she left again. I felt like i was watching a sporting event. In my head I was cheering, "eat the salad, eat the salad!" The girl was obviously hungry and she probably wouldn't have put any dressing on it anyway.
As I watched this girl today, I felt like I knew everything that was going on in her head. Her hunger and resulting cravings were in a heated battle with her distorted issues with food and control and weight.
Since i quit drinking and smoking weed a couple months ago, my eating disorders have begun to resurface. Reading all the pro-ana websites was definitely a trigger, but as my counselor tells me, I believe I am substituting one addiction for another. Chemical dependency and eating disorders are both very obsessive compulsive behaviors. Some part of me craves e.d. behaviors like i crave drugs. Something needs to be fucked up about my head. Its like my brain inherently resents normal behavior. Sometimes i really wish i could starve myself again, and i have no good reason why. I think a lot of it is the desire for self-mutilation. The desire to be thin and in control of my body has been making me throw up pretty frequently recently everytime I eat any amount of food that ends up making me feel uncomfortable. When I get sick of dealing with all this eating disorder behavior, I just really want to smoke weed. It is the only thing that ever made me stop caring so much about ED thoughts. Fuck this! Fuck this! I find it impossible to starve myself, because food is kind of like a drug to me now, too. It's like something to look forward to. Fuck!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Iced Tea is Calorie Free

Man, some of these anorexic girls really need to get their facts straight. At www.livejournal.com/community/Onlyforyou/ there are some entries from girls who feel guilty because they over did it on the diet coke or iced tea or coffee. Guys, nothing that has 0 calories is going to make you fat! If they were really devoted anorexics, they would know a little something about calories and the value of the nutrition facts label. Hell, diet soda is the only way I used to be able to get through the school day without chewing off my own arm out of hunger! The carbonation gave me some illusion of fullness.
One girl said that her sister told her that all the carbonation from diet coke would make her bloated. I'd say, if you aren't eating aything else, don't worry about it!. Ok, I am getting a little too sarcastic for my own good, so I'm going to go now! Talk to y'all soon!

94 lbs. and Still Obese

I ran into a blog by an anorexic girl at www.livejournal.com/community/0_ana_only_0/. Live journal actually host a lot of pro-ana blogs. This girl is complaining about how she weighs 94 pounds and she's fat.
Sometimes I think I wasn't very good at being anorexic, not that I think that's a bad thing, but I really believe my denial mojo wasn't working. For me, it started out being about being fat, but as I became skinnier and skinnier, it turned into more of a self-mutilation thing. I never looked in the mirror and saw a fat girl when I was down to 90 lbs. I saw the same emaciated girl that everyone else saw. I knew that if I ate more I would be healthier, but I didn't want to be healthier. I saw my mutilated body as an expression of how much I hated myself. It was somehow satisfying to look like shit.
I never weighed myself when I was starving myself. One day, my Dad picked me up and he was like, "Holy shit, Lauren, I bet you only weigh like 85 pounds!" I did not think there was any way I could weigh less than 105 or so, but I weighed myself and the scale said 91. My parents were terrified and I was so ecstatic! I felt so accomplished. I remember looking in the mirror, knowing I was emaciated, being so hungry and then being terrified that if I ate more than 400 calories in a day I would suddenly turn into an obese monster.
Wow, so many things I thought were contradictory. When I think back on it, anorexia has to be one of the most complicated of human conditions. I still don't really get it.

Starving Girls Can Really Cook!

When I was anorexic, I wanted to stay as far away from food as possible. I did not trust myself! I remember reading somewhere when I was about 15 that frequently anorexic girls liked to cook a lot and not eat anything that they cooked. It sounded like torture to me, but for some sick girls it's just part of the whole food obsession. Plus, for a little while it probably works as a good cover-up. "That girl is always cooking, she can't be anorexic."
I had a friend who was anorexic around the same time I was, and she really got into cooking. She would cook all these really healthy delicious looking foods and sit around and be proud of how much her family enjoyed them. She isn't anorexic anymore, and all those cooking skills she acquired are actually really useful to her now. Man, I wish I was a more productive anorexic. Maybe then I wouldn't eat so many frozen pizzas, now!
I found a website by an anorexic gir lthat is filled with delicious sounding low calorie recipies. I wonder if she actually eats them!? The URL is www.livejournal.com/community/250calsorless/.

Hell's Angels

The Hells angels in this context are not a motorcycle gang, but a gang of confident riled up pro- anorexics! You can find them at http://groups.msn.com/HellsAngelsRosesThorns . They proclaim to be "mentally unstable and proud of it!" At least they know they are mentally unstable.........I guess!? Like many pro-ana sites these angels have their own version of "the thin commandments." Even if someone is all about being anorexic, it is so hard to imagine them looking at these commandments without realizing how blatantly wrong they are.
Honestly, I lived by these commandments when I was anorexic, but I would never have outwardly stated them. I don't get how someone could look at them and not think how obviously self-absorbed and horrible they sound. They tell you things like, "being thin is more important than being healthy." Try to tell that to a starving child in Haiti. I urge anorexic girls to really study these commandments and think about how much rational sense they actually make. Do you really want to be so vain!?

Support For Pro-Ana

Most of the websites I have come across that are about Pro-Ana but aren't pro-ana, are against it. www.ipetitions.com/campaigns/SupportPro_Ana_Mia/ is a site whre one girl who is angry with all the pro-ana bashers and has started a petition to keep them on the web. This girl does not have an eating disorder herself. She just wants to support these girls who have pro-ed sites. I have a lot of respect for her. I agree with her that it is ridiculous to ban pro-ana from the internet as some people want to do. Just don't look at it if it offends you that much!

Also, as you know, I am not pro-Ana, but the pro-Ana bashing sites make me crazy. This is because most of them are very rude. What anorexic girls need is for more people to try to understand them, not telling them that they are freaks and they just need to eat! That just creates angry anorexics!

Pro- Ana lingo

To really be involved with other pro-Ana girls, you must have the lingo down. The lingo helps place where a person fits in the stages of anorexia. A good example of this can be found at www.livejournal.com/community/Onlythreeweeks/ This site shows the pictures and words of a 26- year old woman who is reverting back to her anorexic ways. She has already been treated in a hospital for anorexia. Now she ways 126 pounds at 5'6" and she looks great! She is not satisfied at all though. She wants to get down to 100 pounds. I'm only 5'2" and when I weighed 100lbs. I looked like a skeleton.

Some of the lingo she and other girls use:
- CW = current weight
- HW =highest weight
- LW = lowest weight
- STGW (starting goal weight)
- LTGW (long term goal weight)

Just for fun (and cuz I'm still kind of sick) this would be my introduction if I wrote on a pro-ana site.
Lauren Karaffa, 20. 5'2"
CW= 130
HW= 142
(I can't do the last two because I'm not on a diet, although I can admit I wouldn't mind weighing ten pounds less than I do.)

Pro-ana girls are not anorexic?

At http://islamicweb.com/archive/t-21195, I found an article by a therapist who does not think the people who host pro-ana sites are anorexic. She says that anorexia is involuntary and that anorexics are suffering, so why would they create these sites? She says"A pro-anorexia site goes against what anorexia is really about." She seems to forget that Anorexia has a lot of denial involved in it. Even if they are aware of the abnormalities in what they are doing (like most pro-ana girls), they still feel like they are living the way that they should. They think they are right!

Perhaps the original people who started pro-ana sites were not anorexic. They were just fascinated with anorexia and wanted a way to lose weight. I say this, because I can't imagine someone who actually has anorexia coming up with the idea, becuase it would require admitting to the public all the crazy things they do. I think the sites have made true anorexics feel accepted, though. It probably makes it harder for them to quit, as these sites confirm that what they are doing is good.

Nothing Glamorous About This

The website, which is a blog, found at http://livejournal.com/community/thinspiring/1277779.html claims to be pro-ana. The girl is anorexic and obviously not very close to recovery, but the first entry I read was absolutely miserable. Some of these sites, contrary to the sarcastic nature of my writing, do remind me of the empowering feelings that anorexia gives you. Sometimes you feel immortal, like "Ha! I don't need food to live!" Most of the time, though, you feel inhuman in a negative way ("Why can't I just live my life without thinking about food and worrying about gaining weight every five seconds!?"). This site did a great job of bringing me back to this place.

She is writing on a day where her friends take her out to eat, because they are worried about her. She 'splurges' on some soup and toast with jam. This would be a small meal for most people, but it makes her stomach hurt. The entry starts, "i've been on the toilet all day." I remember that feeling from taking handfuls of laxitives after 'binging' on a normal sized meal.

A lot of these pro-ana sites make anorexia seem glamorous, and the first thing I could think when I read this was, "Where's the glamour in this- shitting all day!?"

I remember one day after have a turkey sandwich with my mom when I was anorexic, I complained all day about my stomach hurting, because it did! She was like, yeah right, Lauren, shut up. You just ate a sandwich for christ's sake. I could see people reading about the girl eating soup and toast thinking, "how does that cause so much pain?" Her friends were probably like, "what's the big deal, you barely ate a meal?" People don't realize when a person has starved themself for months, any more than just a tiny amount of food can be really painful. I think one reason that it is so difficult for anorexic people to get better is that others are so insensitive to the problem, because they don't understand it.

My family and friends used to want to just shove food down my face. They didn't realize that not eating is only part of the problem. The rest of it is mental. Eating a bunch at once for a sick anorexic will only make them feel worse physically and mentally. You gotta start slow.

"Ana's Underground Grotto"- This girl knows everything!

Many pro-ana and pro-mia sites begin with a disclaimer stating that anorexia is a disease and they are not trying to give it to anyone. It is wild that they even do this, because I don't believe it subjects them to any less ridicule. They probably get more criticism actually for having a disclaimer that contradicts their site. Ok, many of them do admit that they have a disease, they just say they are not ready to get better, but the fact that they try and say they don't want to help people be anorexic is ridiculous. Half of these sites are full of tips on how to stave off hunger without consuming calories and how to fool your friends and family into believing that you eat.

I recently discovered a site called "Ana's Underground Grotto," http://www.plagueangel.net/grotto/id1.html that actually makes a distinction between two different kinds of anorexia. There is the involuntary kind or the eating disorder (ed) anorexia, which she admits is a disease. This people may follow the same practises as she does, but they have no self-control. These girls hate themselves as well.On the contrary, there is a group called "volitional anorectics" who voluntarily starve themselves, overexcercise and obsess about food and being thin.

I actuall agree with 'Plagueangel' that some people become anorexic involuntarily and some make a conscious decision to. I think that bringing anorexia into the main stream culture through pro-ana websites has a lot to with it, because for the first time, girls are being directly recruited for the lifestyle. Once it takes over their life, though, I think volitional and ed-anorexics alike have the same damn disease.

In support of volitional anorexia, PlagueAngel says that girl who practice it are bringing self-control back into American culture. She quotes Eleanor Roosevelt saying,"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Shesays that unlike ED-anorectics, volitional anorectics live by this motto. I really think a person must have already lost control over their lives when the idea of obsessively controlling their own weight begins to make them feel better.

Another bit of cynicism that I tend to agree with on this site, is where she says, "if the majority believes it, its probably wrong." There are many reasons that I believe this, and its not that hard to see why if you just take a look at the popular music these days and most obviously, the current political situation, but this girl sites as an example the food pyramid. First of all, I don't really think most people believe in the food pyramid... they certainly don't follow it or half this country wouldn't be ridiculously overweight! Secondly, the majority may usually be wrong, but I believe if something takes over your life and thoughts, destroys your health, takes away your ability to have children and will eventually kill you, it is probably not quite right either. good luck, plague angel!

Links to interesting sites (mostly pro-Ana)
































Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Ana Writes Us a Letter

The other day when I was discussing subjects for this blog project with my mom, she brought up that she had heard about a new on-line phenomenon of a growing pro-Anorexia subculture. I was considering using Anorexia as a topic for this blog project as we were encouraged to write about something we were familiar with. The idea of pro-Anorexia websites at first shocked me, but then it made perfect sense. Anorexics are usually in such denial about their disease that they believe their behaviors and ideas about food and body image are reasonable.

I was interested in what the girls (it is primarily girls) who setup these websites would have to say in defense of the disease they affectionately refer to as Ana. On one website titled "Starving for Perfection,"<http://lookingglasssupport.com/StarvingForPerfection/Ana/AnaIndex.html > was obvious that the author was delusional and hanging on to her delusions with all her depleted strength. At the same time, the site took me back to the time about five years ago when I took the same delusions to be gospel.

In " A Letter From Ana," a section of the Starving for Perfection blog, the author personifies her disease. Actually she makes Ana seem like a god who can aontrol your mind. Even though this was written on a pro-Ana site, it would be very for any healthy individual to read this letter and think, "wow, I really wish I had anorexia." It begins by describing how you have become " a fat lazy, and undeserving girl." Then it goes on to explain how Ana is going to change all of that by taking over your life and dictating what you do. She will teach you how to eat (or not eat), how to purge if you "cheat" and how to fool your family and friends into thinking nothing is wrong. As far as higher powers go, Ana seems very vengeful and cruel.

The letter from Ana was a very accurate description of what anorexia is in the mind. It is not glamorous at all. The letter describes how anorexia becomes your only friend and becomes important over everything. Even though a healthy person would read this letter and think, "how disturbing and horrible," I can see how a girl with anorexia or on the verge of having it could be comforted. Anorexic girls often feel as though they've lost all sense of control in their lives, and Ana promises to control everything for them. She promises to make them forget all their emotional issues involving other people, because all of their energy will be focused on food and excercise. All of these things are true, but she fails to mention all the horrible suffering Ana will no doubt bring along with her.

There is nothing on this entire site about how, even in the summertime, a starving girl will always be cold, always. It is not the surface level cold that you could put on a sweater and be done with, but a cold that penetrates your bones. Ana doesn't mention that after a couple weeks of not eating, you will not be able to sleep but will lay awake all night feeling your bony knees knocking together, awaiting another day of starvation. Ana doesn't say anything about how her tips for fooling people will work for about a month, and then everyone you know will begin harassing you about eating or, even worse, talking about you behind your back because you look horrible.

I have been in recovery from anorexia for years, but this website and all the pro- Ana websites I've seen so far bring up all the psychoses I had regarding food. Intellectually, I can see how sick these people are, but part of me is thinking, "wow I am fat and disgusting. I should stop eating." These websites give me the desire to be part of their club again. If they have the power to activate my disfunctional thought like that as a recovering girl, I can only imagine the effect they have on people who are currently suffering.