It's been a while since I've checked in. About a year ago, I was asking if a couple of you would read my book before it was edited or published. A few of you said you would. I'm to the point of reading it out loud, and will soon be needing a couple of people to read it. It's called Lady Ana for a reason.
If you would like to read my book (one of my chapters need to be broke down). Notify me here. I'll keep an eye out. It has 48,299 words or close.
Here's the introduction:
This is an account of my own personal experience. I am not excluding the repulsive details. My eating disorder ran in phases from 18 and 27, or maybe a few years before. There's one notable fact about the path I followed to anorexia and bulimia. My eating disorder failed. If "failed" sounds pessimistic, I never reached success. I wanted my weight to be 95.
During adolescence, "Ana" groomed me into her realm of a mental disorder, thinking 95 was a magic number. "Ana" and her copartner "Mia" accompanied me at the age of 18 after I graduated high school. The goal of 95 flowed throughout my thoughts and visions. 95 affected a cheerleader in high school. She “got down to 95” (according to high school gossip), and was admitted to the hospital. 95 was the ultimate challenge and the number of success, but the cost, a failure.
While I displayed eating disorder issues and later symptoms, I didn't have sufficient recovery therapy. I wasn't labeled "sick enough” to be hospitalized. I didn't collapse, as in the many sugar-coated Hollywood movies, television shows or sometimes in real life. My BMI didn’t get low enough to qualify for recovery therapy.
In my situation, the magic number of “95” never materialized. The lowest BMI was far out of reach. In internet forums, you'll find passing out and collapsing is a reality and also scale numbers lower than the magical 95 pounds. These are challenging to maintain without a crisis.
I've not ruptured my esophagus or had a prolapse of any type from either end of my digestive system. An esophageal prolapse is a rare possibility with bulimia. Rectal prolapse, though not as common, has been reported while overdosing on laxatives. (NCBI, 1997)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, irritable bowel syndrome and electrolyte imbalance can result from both types of eating disorders. These three conditions are more common as are abdominal distension, altered esophageal motility, and laxative addiction. Not to mention the embarrassment of passing out in public from electrolyte depletion. Tooth problems are a real danger with bulimia. Stomach acid and the presence of hydrochloric acid in the mouth cause enamel erosion, hoarseness, dental caries, soft palate damage, cracked or missing teeth and salivary gland enlargement. (Ekron, 2018) .
One of the signs of anorexia is a lowered serotonin level. Serotonin is metabolized from food. With bulimia present, there is a significant drop in serotonin levels. The disorders also affect dopamine. In anorexic patients, the serotonin is lower in their cerebrospinal fluid. It is thought that starvation causes a person with anorexia to feel better. But as they continue to starve, the supply of serotonin is drained. Once treatment is started, serotonin builds up and is replaced. At this point, the levels increase and cause anxiety and emotional discord. (nationaleatingdisorders.com, 2016)
The seriousness of eating disorders should not be taken lightly. I wrote this book warning anyone who decides to take the route of bulimia, but also anorexia, to get inside the world of eating disorders and know how disgusting the path feels, smells, looks, appears and other associated adjectives.
My BMI, briefly, meaning maybe a week or more tilted quite low. I can’t say I’m pleased that my eating disorder failed. How would I have looked? What size clothes would I buy? Would my ribs be protruded? I still regret that I was never thin enough and why you ask? The anorexia causes these thoughts: “The smaller sized clothes are cuter and more feminine. Thinner looks better and is certainly more healthy.”
That’s the danger of a life with eating disorders, the thought process that rolls around in the brain, gnawing and creating these concepts. I think I wanted the diagnosis.
I had an ambition for a thigh gap; like many photoshopped pictures that are viewed in Google images today under the search word anorexia. I wanted legs so thin, almost like twigs or bones. Thigh gaps are often a result of a good Photoshop Editor unless a woman is in excellent shape and has an extremely low BMI; as are “thinspiration” photos. Let me explain that term. “Thinspiration” became popular on the internet before online became a household term.
During the late '80s, primitive websites began to emerge just as the internet began to polish. Bulletin boards were dial-up and ran by people in their home. Scant amount of websites from the late '80s posted pictures of thin women. Though there consisted of plenty of pornography websites, thinspiration sites also began to increase. These women did not have a pornography stance. Thinspiration photographs represented women overly thin, what some would describe as having “Perfectly thin bodies.” The online pictures were usually in .jpg format (JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group and are the standard image file for computers). In the ‘80’s you had to copy the photographs to a floppy drive. The hard disk didn’t have sufficient memory for.jpg files.
In the late '80s, online thinspiration photos weren’t as plentiful as in the coming years but were available if one knew where to look. To find thinspiration, a home computer owner needed some technical knowledge, a dial-up modem, and a phone line for online services such as AOL or Compuserve. Technical expertise was a requirement, and like today, not just a phrase. As computers and internet evolved to the present, it became easier to find thinspiration photos.
Thinspiration photos displayed pictures of women’s skinny ribs, spines, abdomen, butts, arms, legs, depression poses, full length clothed, full-length bikini, body facing toilets, etc.. The pictures were and are meant to trigger anorexia or bulimia. But they can also trigger false anorexia. False anorexia can lead to problems for those attempting to mimic the condition. The street term for the condition is loosely called Wannaerxia. It’s not a term I’ve used. Anyone wishing to have anorexia and follows the path is already disordered.
EDNOS is “eating disorder not otherwise specified” and is as severe as anorexia and bulimia. In 2017, the new DSM V (Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) has a few new diagnoses for other conditions not specified. Thinspiration efficiently targets girls who's eating disorder might be classified as EDNOS but evolves to clinical anorexia nervosa.
In the '90s with better computers, Yahoo Groups started popping up online that discussed anorexia, low BMI, meal plans, purging, recovery, relapse, tricks, and tips. They often contained pro-ana triggers called Thinspo. Thinspo is, in essence, a term for thinspiration. The groups were called “Pro-Ana groups,” and Yahoo liked to delete them. But soon these groups found their way to websites, Pinterest, internet forums and Tumblr. There’s even thinspiration on Reddit. Google search “Thinspiration” and you’ll see hundreds of websites. Change the search to images, and there are thousands of pictures. In fact, Tumblr is a significant culprit.
Yahoo made searching for diets easy. Complicated or not, pro-ana eating lists exist today and can easily be found on Google.
“Triggers” are very dangerous for people with anorexia. “Triggers are a word, phrase, picture, movie, anything that sets an eating disorder in place.” (Eating-disorders glossary)
Some thinspiration photos are so disgusting they do nothing towards the trigger mechanism. But most do the trick especially if there’s a mental problem. I discuss at length my triggers in the following chapters. The internet, with the good it provides, can be a huge trigger even for relapsing. If an eating disordered sufferer wants to search, there’s always a way to find triggers, and she or he knows where to look.
“Ed” is the slang for Eating Disorder. The abbreviation isn’t street jargon. It is the official medical abbreviation for an eating disorder. “Ana” is short for anorexia, and began to take off as a term as the internet began hosting pro-ana sites. The term “ana” is a female name used to personify anorexia. It was created by its victims. “Ana” makes the condition sound attractive and feminizing. It’s not attractive. Anorexia is not wanting just to be thin. And it’s not a medical abbreviation. There is the line between a diet and an eating disorder.
A diet is not disordered eating though some diets disguise themselves, especially diets that restrict calories to the point of 500 a day. I can name several I’ve tried, and you might as well look up “pro-ana.” Because that’s where you’ll find all of the 500 calorie diets.
There is always an underlining cause in an eating disorder. Eating disorders are a mental condition. Ana and Mia disguise as thin and pretty, or not good enough. It is a scale or measurement someone can reach. Reading this sounds nice, something reachable, a size 5, thin waist, delicate, waiflike; eating disorders aren’t elegant or filled with glamor.
I am writing to remove the glamorization. If eating disorders aren’t diagnosed in time, they can become fatal or wreck your life. I’m lucky to be typing this book. Often eating disorder stories don’t have a happy ending. If they do have a happy ending, it’s overplayed. Most eating disorder stories, books or movies, or all I’ve read, entail expensive therapy and ends with the woman cured and happy, or dead. My story isn’t one of those, and I decided to write this because there are people who can’t afford treatment. This is how they live their lives. This is anorexia and bulimia without treatment.