Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Mandy's Hope

Mandy's story...

"As I type this, my roommate is eating what appears to be a really delicious slice of pizza. I’ve just finished painting my nails – a compulsive habit I tend to engage in while avoiding food. While I was painting my nails, I was getting more and more angry. Why, WHY, couldn’t I enjoy a piece of pizza? At what point did things change so drastically that I can’t eat one piece of pizza without throwing it up? What has happened to me? These are a few of the many questions that have popped up over the past 18 months.

Shape magazine has a “Success Stories” section. I always wanted to be one of those stories. I would scour the Shape website looking for more and more success stories. After all, if they could do it – so could I!! Now my story would read more as a warning, rather than a success.

Teenage years – on and off disordered eating. Nothing, in my mind, neither dramatic nor serious. I did end up in the ER with a Mallory-Weiss Tear when I was 19. I maintained an average weight and was really active in high school. Then I went to college, gained a lot of weight and never lost it.

Three years and one messy breakup after I graduated college, I’m at my heaviest weight ever. I am 5’4” and weighed 235 lbs. I bought a house on my own and decided something had to change. I would eat 1,000 calories per day and I’d start exercising. Nothing specific triggered this. I had owned my house for about two months and was on my own for the first time in my life. I could control every single thing that entered my home. No junk food around means no mindless eating, etc. So, I started my “diet.”

I lost 25 lbs in four weeks. The next month, I lost 20 lbs. After that, my caloric limit dwindled slowly. It started at 1,000, and then went to 800, then to 600, then to 300. Eventually I started fasting. By November I had lost 75 lbs. People started worrying and I was sent to a therapist. My therapist was an idiot. I was diagnosed as bulimic, and was giving me a treatment plan as such. At this point, I was fasting for three or so days, eating a bowl of cereal, and purging it. His brilliant solution was for me to “eat more”. Hell no. I quit treatment in February and had lost 20 more lbs.

I bounced along, calling in sick to work all the time because I felt like I was going to die. While seeing my therapist, I figured “if I’m going to be treated as a bulimic, I might as well F**KING EAT!” I started binging and purging 4-6 times per day for weeks, then starving myself in between. I lost more weight, although it slowed down.

Enter the side effects. Constant bruising, dry skin, lanugo on my face, exhausted, purging involuntarily, soul-crushing depression, anxiety, constantly dizzy, passing out in the shower (scary when you live alone) and the overwhelming self-hatred that eating disorders require to thrive.

I snapped in October. I had “binged” (3 oz steak and 2 cookies), purged and snapped. The next thing I knew, two hours had passed and I had thoroughly cut the hell out of my arms and legs. I don’t think I was trying to kill myself, but I also don’t think I would have cared if I died.

After the dust settled, I had moved back in with my parents and weighed about 125 lbs. I stayed there for three weeks. I got a psychiatrist and a new therapist (both of whom are wonderful). That was almost three months ago.

Me today: I take 60 mg of Prozac per day. My weight is about 114. That being said, my set weight is 130, so according to my doctors, I’m about 15 lbs underweight. According to my friends and family, I look “sick.”

Treatment is alright. I’m making good progress in therapy, but am still engaging in eating disordered behavior. I’m purging less, although still 4-5 times per week. I stopped abusing laxatives, which is great for me. I’ve stopped over-exercising, and am eating twice per day, every day.

This is the rub: I weighed myself a few days ago and discovered I’ve gained 4 lbs in the past three months. Consequently, I’m fasting for the next three days. Why is it, after everything that has happened over the past year and a half that it is my first reaction? I logically know this isn’t what I should be doing, but I am not willing to change my behavior.

Now that all of that has been said – I’m still going to fight. I will pick the pieces up after this set back is over, and I will fight. I cannot live like this forever. It’s either get better or die. I don’t necessarily want to live, but I owe it to myself and my family to try as hard as I can.

Keep fighting.



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Tuesday, December 29, 2009


More Colour, More Conflict by Velvet Scarlett

From Velvet Scarlett...

"I just stumbled across your website today (its Christmas day so I guess I should mention that first). After reading so many stories I feel I have found a 'safe' place... finally. Today is Xmas day and I haven't visited any ana sites etc. in a good 2 months. The reason? The first month my internet was down... the 2nd? My wonderful friend emz. The reason I am visiting now and stumbled across your website? I can not cope. It's the holidays and I can not see emz. I have work everyday which is so stressful (explain in a bit) and Christmas was not Christmas for me.

Normally my mum, dad, older sis and I go away for the Xmas week to somewhere else in the UK (I live near London) and I attempt to forget about everything but that’s probably because I throw myself into swimming 3 times a day on that week. This year we stayed at home cos I got a job. The run up to Xmas was a blur, all I did was go to 6th form college, work experience at a primary school, work (sales assistant), sleep and have baths. There was never time for eating, preparation for the holidays or anything like. So Christmas day came and it was just like any other day. So what? I had one present from mum, dad and sis (normally we gets loads) so that was weird but to be honest, I don't think having loads of presents would of changed how I feel. I draw a complete blank on my feelings and sense of reality. I am so confused inside and on the outside I just paint an average happy person so people don't notice the dying me inside. At work this is important but I find it really hard because my boss is always picking on me, blowing hot and cold. I don't know where I stand with her and that un-nerves me.

I have realized that I have not really introduced me/my story yet... so.... I am currently 16yrs old 5'9 with a bmi of 16. I would not class myself as anorexic but I know deep down I have issues but I choose to ignore. My response to friends/family pleas to eat normally/your killing yourself: *lash out* I don't like it, I won't eat it. I know I won’t live past 50, I never intended to. I recently refused the cervical cancer jab because of my attitude with dying... if I get cancer, I will refuse treatment. Plus I am needle phobic/faint in hospital like situations.

I started secondary school at age 11 and had bum length hair. I was not 'cool' and did not know anyone. I started off with the popular girls but after a few weeks they soon realized I didn't know enough about what they did and I was dropped. I floated for a bit and made friends with sam. She was a large girl who was in my form and got on my bus... that meant we had ages to talk. We started out happy-go-lucky until November when my 17-year-old cousin died of cancer. I was devastated as she was my 'favorite', I looked up to her, I wanted to be her. People said we looked the same and now I was worried people would look at me and just think of her. I couldn't cope with the grief. The moment I heard she was dead? I was in the kitchen washing up grapes and apples for me and my sister to take to school when dad answered the phone. I knew straight away what it was about and I just walked off. Ever since I can’t eat grapes/apples. They just utterly repulse me.

When I got back from the funeral I don't remember much. But somehow at school I got talking with sam, becci and camille (we became a tight group) and I discovered that sam and camille self harmed. At the time it was alien to me but after a while I understood, I was there for them. But I wasn't strong enough and saw it as a way to cope... the first time I ever self harmed? I was with becci, we just finished maths class and we went into the 'chlorine' toilets and we both cut our arms. She did it lightly and moaned that I had done it so hard but I didn't care, the pain was a relief to me and I enjoyed it. We went onto the field to meet the others and then quickly realized what we had done. They told us off and I felt so ashamed but at the same time I didn't care, I liked it too much. (Revisiting those toilets now gives me a ghost like playback of this... I can’t go there no more)

The self harming quickly spiraled and soon we would cut throughout the day. One day in science though the other three didn't show to school. I truly believed they had committed suicide. As time passed by (I tried calling each of them one after the other on a continuous loop) one girl sarah (becci's childhood best friend who was also in our form) convinced me that maybe they had just run away but she didn't understand the extent of the pain they were going through. Eventually they did show and they were ok. I remember telling my form tutor one day about those three self harming and they were sent to the school nurse... camille saw it as betrayal, we were no longer friends. Sam and becci however never found out I told on them and we carried on strong. We still self harmed but not as much. We turned our attention to smoking and drinking in the school loo's with the older girls. We never got caught. This wasn't enough though and I quickly introduced them to taking pills (pain relief etc. aka clean drugs) and soon we would chase a fag, with a couple of pills and a drink every 3 hours or so. One day I had to struggle to hold sam up in class but do you know what? We never got caught and that thrill spurred me on. The others stopped the pill taking but I had found a new haven, my self harming (cutting) reduced whilst the others did the opposite. We experienced many fallings out over those months. Somehow I found out that sam was bulimic and although I have a phobia of sick, the food way of coping fascinated me but I never considered it at that point.

Somewhere in that mess above I attempted suicide by drowning in which I nearly succeeded if it weren't for some higher power that lifted me out.... I believe that that power was God (I am Christian) but the strange thing was afterwards I called camille for support even though I knew I wouldn't find it there. To this day I do not understand that phone call. But the haunting of that attempt is still strong even though my bathroom was redecorated completely.

So the eating.... I don't really remember how it started except I was angry that I forgot my cousin’s anniversary of her death, I was constantly in rows at home and friends were complicated. The pills were still on and the cutting increased slowly. I was depressed, un-sociable. I felt alone. Confused as to where my perfect life had gone and desperate. I remember locking myself in the bathroom and completely breaking down. I guess I started to reduce what I ate because I didn't feel hungry as I was so depressed. but in addition, in my perfect world I was 6 stone and I thought I still was, but one day my period started (start of yr 9) and I found out I weighed over 10 stone nearly 11. I silently freaked inside and I think that those numbers shook my confidence more than ever. Double figures was not something I could cope with.

Normal food became replaced with chewing gum. I would eat on average 10 pieces a day.... it felt good. I think I must have looked at the scales but I don't really remember, the days were hazy with the not eating, pills and cutting. During the holidays though I would binge and without meaning to I would be sick as my body would reject it. I had mixed feelings about this and it’s something I try not to remember but as I said.... memories are strong and I still replay the first day this occurred.

As time went on me and sam grew apart, becci and I warred a lot and sometimes I was on my own completely. Then in year 11 a new girl came, an ex anorexic and we hit it off straight away... not because of the ana but our personalities (both loud when we can manage it). Life seemed to be better and I think I stopped harming myself but the eating was still not right. I was a very fussy eater and would cut out as many meals as I could.

In Feb. 09 I was ana obsessed and as I was still 'fat' (at about a bmi of 19) I would not admit that I was ana. Anyway... I ran every night and I relished the pounds dropping off. Me and becci passed notes during gcse lessons but I never really admitted how I was feeling which was I couldn't cope with the gcses and I wanted to run away. I had a crush on her (yes, I think I am bi but that’s another story) but I missed my chance with her and she was going out with emz. (me and emz were kinda friends, I hung out with her when I fell out with the others, we got on but she didn't know about the mess I was in). Anyway, they broke up and I didn't know who to side with but I went with becci... mistake. Well I didn't know that till I started 6th form.

Anyway, results were good and I looked forward to starting yr 12. I was job hunting but hadn't found anything. I was heavy on the pill popping and still a fussy eater but that was it. Then a few weeks in I quickly realized I couldn't cope with as work and being 'perfect'. Me and emz got moved to a smaller media group away from the others and we soon clicked. Since then I have spent many days texting her, bunking off school with her, smoking, cutting, pill popping and not eating (well little as I can get away with). My grades are slowly dropping and I have exams in January :( my weight is constantly dropping... my mum notices this and we row all the time.

Emz has noticed and she cares too much to see me destroy everything (she is in recovery of sorts) and is trying to help me. It works when I am with her everyday cos I don't want to let her down. I love her (again... can’t really define the love part here because I didn't fancy her but as we got closer, my feelings increased. Now I can’t stop thinking about her every minute of the day but I don't think she feels the same but we are facebook 'married' because we are pretending to date to annoy becci... childish I know but I couldn't say no to being close with her). When I’m with her she helps me to go without cutting and pills for up to 6 weeks at a time. She helps with the withdrawal symptoms and can make me laugh so hard that I forget the shit. But now we are away from school and I can’t see her I am breaking down. I miss her, and to cope with that all I can think of is cut and take stuff... I haven't yet but I feel it’s not far away hence why I was surfing the net.

But where me and her run into difficulties is on the eating front. She tries to get me to eat a chip when we go for lunch but I can’t. I fight her and it’s 50/50 who wins. She tries to get me to eat but I can’t bring myself to. I switched from lemonade 2cal drink to sprite for her so I would get sugar to give me energy cos I walk so much and I manage the odd chocolate bar and jelly tots (I have a sweet tooth) but when it comes to normal food I am so stubborn. I am not like normal 'ana.' I hate fruit and vegetable. If I eat, it’s chicken or something unhealthy like chocolate, custard, jelly etc. however, I do occasionally have an urge for 'proper' food and pig out at McDonalds (I manage to keep the food down). But if I am busy I will forget about food. I only eat if I really have to and I am not ready to give up my control over this.

I realize I have a problem, but stamping down on the pills and cutting is giving up enough power. I like those numbers falling, being the skinniest girl is what I want (at primary school I was naturally the skinniest but I was bullied all the time so maybe that contributed to all of this). I can not give it up now, and it kills me because I am disappointing emz, and I can see the rebel I have become and my perfect life is fast slipping away.

If I fail these exams in January, that will set alarm bells ringing among my teachers and parents and I know I will be forced to tell the truth. I am afraid of the truth. I lie to most people to create a perfect me. (This email is the truth though) I lie to the doctors when I have pains to get the pills and I cannot stop. My head is confused, it can’t take anymore emotion but I know I need help but I can’t seek professional.

Writing this now is a stretch because I am arguing with myself whether or not to send it. I am crazy and I know it but I won't admit it as such and seek help because I cannot give up the 'control' I have.

so that’s me and my story so far.............
love ***I"

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Meg Ryan after weight loss, December 2009

Meg Ryan, December 2009

Meg Ryan before weight loss, 2007
Meg Ryan, 2007

The story and more pics are here...

Meg Ryan exposes a worryingly thin frame in Hawaii

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Monday, December 28, 2009


anorexia anorexic older woman starvation pro ana thinspiration

When your body has lost all of its fat due to starvation, you will inevitably lose your breasts...

anorexia anorexic older woman starvation pro ana thinspiration

The women below have tried to solve that problem by undergoing plastic surgery, with very unfortunate results.

Breast implants like these are commonly referred to as "bolt-ons," which "look unnatural, rock-hard and "bolted" onto their owner's chest much like the stiff, painful looking screws that were bolted on to the side of Frankenstein's neck in the classic horror film.

This "bolted-on" look typically happens because of what is called capsular contraction. Capsular contraction is when scar tissue forms in the chest cavity and tightens around the implant(s), making the breast(s) hard and unnatural looking.

The "bolted-on" look can also occur when extremely large breast implants are inserted into someone without enough fatty tissue in the breast area." (from the Urban Dictionary)

anorexia anorexic older woman starvation pro ana thinspiration

anorexia anorexic older woman starvation pro ana thinspiration

anorexia anorexic older woman starvation pro ana thinspiration

anorexia anorexic older woman starvation pro ana thinspiration

anorexia anorexic older woman starvation pro ana thinspiration

anorexia anorexic older woman starvation pro ana thinspiration

anorexia anorexic older woman starvation pro ana thinspiration

And last but not least...

anorexia anorexic older woman starvation pro ana thinspiration

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Sunday, December 27, 2009


Venus at a Mirror, Rubens, 1660

Venus at a Mirror ~ Rubens (ca. 1660)

From Holly...

"I discovered your blog in the midst of my rekindled obsessive reading of all items I can find allowing me a view into the minds and hearts of those with eating disorders. I can't necessarily explain this obsession...I just find I have a deep need for greater understanding and an interest in people's they cope...manage...overcome and gain strength for themselves and others. So I thank you in advance for allowing me these glimpses...and an opportunity to share a bit of myself.

I want to start by stating that I can't clam a diagnosed ED...and probably just lack the will successfully overcome what I am, but I have also come to terms with fact, come to love it in many ways. I think you will understand upon reading further.

And that is the reason for my writing to you. After reading 'Tears are not enough: When cruelty goes beyond the pale', I felt the need to share this piece with you, and hopefully your readers. Though I wrote this about two years ago, and have managed to get down to 220lbs, this is a view into how I have always felt and what I have always believed. I hope perhaps it will provide a bit of inspiration to girls of all shapes and sizes. We really are all beautiful just the way we are!

Please share or utilize this in any way you see fit...or not, if you choose...but thank you for just feels so much better to share with someone.


Words are just the crumbs of the mind"

Real Women

Jun. 21, 2008

Why do we let a small few dictate what makes a woman beautiful? Not that each individual doesn’t have his or her preferences. But why does it become taboo to admit an interest in something or someone that doesn’t fit the convention?

It seems fated that this subject should stay firmly planted in the front of my brain right now. Everywhere I turn, there are images, discussions, and portrayals of the female (and male) nude in all of her resplendent glory. And by nudes, I do not mean the stick figures with extreme modifications you find in the pages of Playboy or the fashion magazines. I mean the beauty, and comfort in the female form as it was meant to be…full, soft, and round. All of the things that I am.

It began Sunday…an arts program I was watching was chronicling the female nude as an art form and how it has changed over the years. It was strange to me that although the faces have changed, the overall form hasn’t. Today’s artists are still finding beauty in the rounded female form and that is what they are producing.

Then, there was the newest episode of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy on Tuesday night. Their project this week was a male nudist. Yes, this did indeed make for a very interesting episode, including the fact that this guy opened his door to greet the Fab 5 completely in the buff. This guy was not particularly attractive…something resembling a nude Grizzly Adams, but fortunately the guys didn’t try to take his nudist-ness away from him, they just worked to refine his means of presenting himself. This included taking him to a gallery, where classical art lessons are also given. So now, it was his turn to view the naked form (though in this case, male) from an artistic perspective. To see the lines, curves, shadows, and structure of the body.

And then, tonight…an episode of CSI which showed us (large women) as we are generally perceived…desperate, willing to do anything to have the chance to be intimate with someone…because no one would ever willingly or admittedly choose us. One piece of the story line was as follows: A man is found dead in a hotel bed. Cause of death in the beginning unknown. As the story unfolds, it is learned that the man has a (for lack of better term) fetish for obese women. The plot thickens as we learn this particular man, though having an affinity for these women; refuses to be seen or even acknowledge any of these partners. A few of the women are brought in for questioning and DNA swabs. One of them, a pretty woman, despite her size, confesses to the murder. It is later discovered that the death was an accident. She had been drinking heavily prior to their encounter and passed out while on top of this man, thus smothering him. However, she states in the end, that she would rather confess to murder and go to jail, than have this information get out, causing her “to be the punch line in every comic’s jokes.”

Now, I have felt this very same thing…many, many times in my life. I know that they say, “everything is bigger in Texas”, however, having lived here in Dallas my entire life, I can certainly attest to the fact that this is in no way supposed to apply to women. The absolute preference is 5’10, blonde hair, blue eyes, and a size 2. I have never been any of these except blonde, and I changed this as soon as I was able. And men have never approached me. Not once.

Although it took me a long time to realize, I am what I am. No matter how much weight I lose; how I shape, or tone; I will never, ever be a thin girl. And, believe it or not, I realized many years ago, that I don’t want to be a thin girl. A female friend of mine, of her own volition, told me that I am exactly what God meant a woman to be. I am the embodiment of mother earth, a nurturer, and a giver. Needless to say, I was a little more than taken aback by this thought. And coming from another woman no less. This is something that never happens, and if it does, it certainly isn’t sincere in any way, shape, or form; trust me. It was like a punch in the gut and it was genuine. It wasn’t long until I could really see myself that way. It was an amazing transformation in me. I should also note that this friend is a dominatrix and in one of her early jobs, was to perform a show at a local club. The scene she had devised was to be a sort of mother-daughter love scene. When she finally called and asked me to do the show with her, she started out by saying 'I have tried for three weeks to think of someone else to play this part and honestly, there is no one else who fits this bill. I would be honored if you would agree to play my mother’. I was honored that she had chosen me. For probably the first time in my life, I felt sexy, purposeful. The show went very well, by the way.

I will be the first to admit that I am bigger than I should be, and I am working on that. I will also say that it absolutely amazed me while watching the CSI episode this evening, watching them perform an experiment as to how much weight it would take for one human to kill another by passing out on top of the other; their result was 280 pounds. At this point, I turned to my husband, and stated as a matter of pure fact, that if that really was the case, I could easily kill him. He refused to accept that I was anywhere near that size. He actually argued with me about it! (Or maybe he was just trying to avoid what he thought might be trouble, though I was being very matter of fact in this and not setting him up) Does he not have eyes? I mean, he has seen me naked…he knows (sadly) what this looks like, and there is absolutely no way that he could think I weigh any less than I do. The last time I weighed myself, I was a ripe, plump 262, (yes I actually wrote that for everyone to see, and it is the honest truth) but that was some time ago and I know I have lost some, but not that much. I will say that, fully clothed, I don’t feel like I look as big as that, and not anything like the woman in the show, because my body has shape…a true hourglass shape to be exact (not fully round as is often the case). But there is simply no possible way any human being with even one good eye, could believe that I am not that big.

I discussed with a friend earlier this week, the fact that just the show on Sunday had convinced me that I wanted nothing more than to become a nude model for an artist. We briefly discussed how we both loved the art of Rubens and his depiction of the female form. How I long to be that woman. It was nice that he agreed, but sad that this will never be a reality.

Then, I think back to how afraid I was to actually meet my husband in person. We met through a personal ad and spoke at great length over the phone. If my past played out upon our meeting, things would have been great on the phone, but once he actually laid eyes on me, I would never see or hear from him again.

I have been completely and totally amazed when two people (other than family), at different times in my life; actually told me I was beautiful. Problem was, I have and will never really believe one of them…, and he is the one I am married to. Mainly because I know what his type is, and I am SO not it. I am not the tiny, beautiful Asian girl…sorry honey. I have also seen what he dated before me, though there were only three of those, but believe me…it was nothing like me. This isn’t to say that a man can’t have varied tastes, as I fully believe they can, they just generally don’t. As for the other person, I don’t really think he fully meant it either, but his was closer to real at least.

I guess the point of this whole diatribe is just that, I long to be able to be myself and still be seen as attractive by someone. I, overall, have learned to like the way I look. I know that I am not beautiful in the prevailing sense, but I’m not hideous either. Surely, I have something going for me. And I firmly believe, in another time and in another place, I could be a much-desired woman…or at least looked at longingly on occasion. Who knows? This may just be an assumption or a dream. But a girl has to have a dream, damnit!

I’ve decided that I don’t even really need sexual love…just someone to caress my skin once in a while. Someone who can, and does appreciate the curves of a real woman’s body. Anything else, I can take care of on my own with only a thought."

As I wrote you, Holly, you have SO much going for you: a beautiful spirit and soul. Both come through so strongly in your writing.

The model, Emme, echos your thoughts so well:

Model Emme

"She has yet to vogue in the pages of Vogue, but model Emme has no problem striking a pose to re-create for People The Large Odalisque, Ingres's masterpiece of 1814. After all, long before waifs ruled the runways, artists were inspired by lush lovelies such as Emme herself, who at 5'11" and 180 lbs. is four inches taller and 75 pounds heavier than Kate Moss. Models like Moss, she says, "represent the ideal. I represent the reality."

A size 14, Emme better reflects the majority of American women (60 percent wear size 12 or larger) than do today's skeletal sirens. Flaunting her 40-32-42 form for such clients as Givenchy and No nonsense panty hose, the Ford mannequin is one of the top stars of the burgeoning large-sized modeling industry. Says Wendy Harbart of Gitano, for whom Emme has modeled jeans and swimwear: "She sets a standard that's inspirational yet attainable."

Still, Emme, who was born Melissa Miller in Manhattan 30 years ago, admits she has had to "work hard on acceptance of my own body image." Both her late mother and stepfather were highly weight conscious; Emme and her two younger siblings were weighed weekly. "It wasn't abusive," recalls Emme, "but you felt it and knew it. You had to keep your weight down." Athletics were an antidote to this obsession (Emme won a four-year rowing scholarship to Syracuse University) as was psychotherapy, which she first sought while in college. "I want to love my body," says Emme, who segued into modeling at age 27 after stints as an NBC page and a TV reporter in Flagstaff, Ariz., "and that takes a constant process that starts way down deep inside." There's no such struggle on the part of her husband of four years, 31-year-old ad exec Phillip Aronson. "I love ever single inch of my wife," he says proudly.

Looking forward, she says, "to the day when we don't put people down because of their size," Emme sometimes lectures at high schools near her Leonia, N.J., home. Her message: "Don't kill yourself trying to change your body. Change the way you think about your body."

Holly, thanks so much for sharing "Beauty."

~ Medusa


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Thursday, December 24, 2009


Twas the Night before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

~ Clement Moore

St. Nicholas, reindeer

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009


May your day be filled with amazing feats of strength and the airing of many grievances...

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Alexis during her eating disorder

Alexis, a day before inpatient, January 2008

"Hey Medusa, I've been following your blogs for quite some time now through my ups and downs with my eating disorder and now I feel like I am in the right mentality to send you in my story.

My name is Alexis and I'm 16 years old. Everything began in year 5 when I was being teased about my weight. I wasn't eating unhealthily, it was just puppy fat. I mean come on, not everyone grew up rake thin.

So I got to year 7 when I first hopped onto the bus to school, and lo and behold all of the older guys were sitting on the back seat, and here I am this little chubster on her first day hearing the whispers from the back at how fat I was...

That was when it really hit me. I began to throw up after meals, satisfied with myself for a few weeks where I would stop, and then the cycle would begin again.

This went on until year 8 (14 yrs old) even when I had lost all of the puppy fat and was at a healthy average weight, but from all the years of teasing and self-loathing I couldn't see what everyone else could. It was Easter afternoon after eating my fair share of chocolate when I decided I was going to change, but this time for good.

I would vomit, exercise, and make my intake increasingly smaller. At the time I had been playing soccer for 7 years and was just accepted into a rep team, which meant two 2-hour training sessions a week with a game on the weekend, which at the time it didn't occur to me my torture to my body would eventually take its toll.

There hadn't been a day for a year after Easter that I didn't stick my fingers down my throat.

I began to get acid reflux, dizzy spells, and all along with that compliments on how beautiful and amazing I now looked!

You see, my mum and I have an amazingly close relationship, but at the time she didn't know any different. She put the weight loss down to all of the exercise I had been doing with soccer. A few weeks later and my mum said for me not to lose any more weight and that I looked great as I was.

Unfortunately all of these comments off everyone just pushed me further and further. 6 months after Easter I broke down, I hated myself, and everyone else for some reason and it had been so long since I'd been the outgoing girl everyone once knew me as. I ended up telling my mum, and that week we went to go see someone.

Too bad that the psychologist didn't specialise in eating disorders, as with the visits, my weight got steadily worse because she didn't weigh me, and my eating disorder decided to cover everything up even more.

I was lying to my family, my friends and most importantly myself. "Just one more kg, one more sit-up, no more eating" It's all lies! You're never going to be happy with yourself when you have an eating disorder!

So this went on for a while and then my mum took me to another psychologist, this time specialising in eating disorders. She was great, but my ED didn't want ANY help whatsoever. No matter how hard I fought to implement the things she was teaching me, I couldn't let myself.

All of a sudden she began talking about hospital, you see; she used to weigh me. "One more kilogram and I'm booking you an appointment with the paediatrics doctor at Westmead".

Slowly I fell into a cycle of binging and purging, to the point where my eating disorder would wake me up at 4 am to drag me into the kitchen only to feed myself like a robot and then bring it all back out again.

I had to get out of the cycle, so I told my psychologist. She suggested putting locks on the cupboards but even that didn't stop me. I'd find the keys when no one was home, or I'd shovel food in my face at a party then come home and... you get the point, it was HORRIBLE. It was literally dragging me away from my friends. I couldn't go out? Why? BECAUSE I HAD TO BINGE. Oh wow, heaps fun.. Not.

It got to the stage where I was begging to go to hospital, just in the hope that I would get relief from this stupid thing inside my head. So we booked the meeting with one of the doctors, and even though I wasn't unstable, the next day I was in the car on the way to the hospital.

I step into the ward and the first thing one of the girls asks me is how much I weigh. I told her and she just laughed at me, which was really great as well, kind of just implementing how fat I thought I was.

Looking back I think of how screwed her head was... I was 46 kg at the point and had come from 60 kg. Hospital is just a big competition filled with eating disordered girls. If you didn't have an NG tube, lose weight on your gatepass, eat slow enough, exercise in privacy, use laxatives/purge they'd look at you as though you were fat.

I was in the hospital for a month and got back up to 50 kg but when I got home things worsened and I was now on weekly weigh-ins at the hospital, and my head was throttling me. I plummeted over the next two months with the pressure of summer and looking skinny for my birthday.

I weighed in a week before New Year's at 43 kg, because I'd gotten sick of water-loading and wearing weights equivalent to 5 kg under my clothes. But even with my silent cry of help, the doctor let me stay out in hope that I'd help myself, which of course was reallllly smart of him.

It got to the stage where I refused anything on offer to me. In my head I wanted to be as skinny as possible for hospital because I knew that was where I was going. A few blackouts later and I was in emergency a week after my appointment, at the Children's Hospital, sitting under a heater with nurses trying to get my temperature above 34 degrees.

I was admitted with an NG tube at 40 kg and all I did was cry. My parents cried and the tears wouldn't stop coming.

I missed out on summer, a whole summer spent inside the hospital while my friends were at the beach with 40-degree heat. I missed out on parties, Australia day, my best friend's birthday, school photos and the beginning of year 10.

Alexis in recovery
Alexis, December 2009

Three months later I was discharged at 51 kg, the minimum healthy weight for my height, and determined to make the most of my life. Those three months were a constant struggle, but my family supported me and I tried as hard as I ever could.

Recovery isn't about going brilliantly all the way through, it's about going high up, and then tripping and stumbling but having the will to be honest with everyone and get back up on your feet and start climbing.

It's now December, nearly a whole year later, and the only reason I cry now is because I regret wasting so much time. Of course my eating disorder is still on my back, whispering in my ear, and I've just pulled myself out of 2 short-lived relapses which I couldn't let continue any longer.

I'm currently sitting here typing this at 55 kg, the highest I've been since after the beginning of all of this, and guess what... I'm happy and I love myself! Each day is still a fight, but it really does get easier :).

Medusa, thank-you for taking the time to read my story, and if you could please share the message that you CAN and WILL recover if you put your mind to it. It's not anyone else's decision, it's yours and even if you have the greatest support in the world, none of it will matter unless you want to recover and live a life free from eating disordered thinking.

Thank you again :).


Alexis, I am so happy for you. What a journey you had to recovery. You are so beautiful, and looking so healthy in your "after" picture.

Thank you so much for sharing your story, Alexis. You are such an inspiration to those who are struggling. You have given them something precious: Hope.

~ Medusa

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Sunday, December 20, 2009



Our dearest Rigby, a Polish Lowland Sheepdog [Polski Owczarek Nizinny (PON)]
October 12, 1999 ~ December 18, 2009

Rigby, you were such a special girl...such a clown and such a delight. We will miss you always, as will your sister, Molly. We will all be together again some day, romping in those Elysian fields together with your brothers, Spencer and Boswell, and our family who went before us.

Till then, sweetheart...

Rigby & Molly
Rigby on the left and her sister, Molly, on the right, waiting for a ride

A painting of our girls, Rigby and Molly, by our son, Rob

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Monday, December 14, 2009


From Jx:

"I have suffered from anorexia nervosa for the last 12 years. It has totally destroyed my life and continues to plague me every day. I have been told that I will not live past my 30th birthday... but refuse to believe this!

Right now I have managed to gain 20 pounds (by my own willpower and feel so proud of myself.)

Despite the fact that I feel fat and horrible, I continue to struggle on... just to have a 'normal life' again.

I hate my body right now, but am desperate to get a 'proper job' (I have studied so much for this). I have spent so many months educating myself and refuse to give up.

Anorexia has controlled me for so many years. I have spent the last 10 years in 'treatment'. Only now do I wish to go further.

I love my partner so much and hope that I can continue to progress, with his support. Your website has helped me to feel so much better. I hope that I will be fertile (one day), so that I can try to have children.

Thank You,

Jx (Sweden) "

Link to picture:

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009




"I have been looking at your website for the past month in hopes that I could share my story (or at least the not-so-painfully-personal parts) with someone.

I had anorexia-nervosa, bulimia-nervosa, and anorexia-athletica-nervosa for almost three years. I suffered amenorrhea, thinning hair, skin problems, a swollen face and bloating. I had a very bad experience one night at around 3 am that led me to attempt a change. I was alone and had to force myself to get better.

My supposed 'friends' from 'pro-ana' sites were angry and felt I was weak. They told me that I was not 'embracing' the life-style...What they don't tell you when you start this sort of thing is that IT is actually starting YOU. I wasn't embracing it? I wasn't embracing this 'glamorous' lifestyle? This life-style of retching until your teeth begin to decay and your throat is sore and swollen, of using laxatives that induce uncomfortable bloating and disgusting diarrhea? No, at this point I was NOT embracing the lifestyle...IT was embracing ME!

After seemingly endless months of effort, I managed to 'recover' as much as one can from this disease. And I have been doing fairly good, really, I have. I healthily gained back the weight I'd lost, and doubled my calcium intake in hopes of improving bone density.

Unfortunately, I have been experiencing symptoms again as of late: distorted body image, the signs of food obsession, and severe weight loss. I am certain that this has been brought on by two major things.

Although the disorder subsided and nearly disappeared for the past two years, the depression and pathetic self-loathing that accompanied it, unfortunately, didn't. I was put on a generic form of the anti-depressant Prozac over the summer. I experienced nearly-sleepless nights where I would get in maybe two-three hours of fragmented sleep, and rarely sound or heavy. When I was fortunate enough to get deeper, meaningful sleep, I suffered terrible nightmares, to the extent of being called 'night terrors', which I'd had as a child, but had not had to endure since puberty.

Accompanied with these sleepless nights that would drag on for hours and push me to the near brink of insanity, I also lost my appetite, and with it, the weight came pouring off. The medicine seemed to be doing a decent job of elevating my mood, to some extent, but I still needed a higher prescription. (It should be taken into account that I am in NO WAY blaming the medicine or the company that makes it for what is happening to me. I am merely stating that it is having an effect on my body, which is, in turn, having a negative effect on my mind, which affects my body, so on-so forth). Anyway, I was bumped from 20mg, to 40mg, to 60mg per day. Around the same time, a close friend of mine was put in the hospital for an attempted suicide; he spent four days in the hospital and they prescribed him 20mg daily. It startled me how little he was on, or how much I was on.

He, although not someone who has suffered an eating disorder, spoke of having similar symptoms: lack of sleep, nightmares, and a lack of appetite. He told me that he had begun to feel hungry one day and realized that he had not eaten since three days prior. He had absolutely NO appetite.

Now, the effects of this on a 'normal' person would not necessarily have severe consequences, however, I have found that it began to ignite something within me that had, fortunately, laid dormant for the past few years...something that I hated, and that, obviously, equally hated me.

I also started my third semester at college after the summer and am partaking in a state-funded program that requires me to attend the school as a full time student. The immense stress that I have placed on myself to achieve A's, which I feel I absolutely MUST do, simply because I have no other job at this time and am aware of mothers that have many children, work full time, and attend the same college that I do, making the grade! This immense pressure, along with the medication has spurred me into the beginning phases of relapsing. I have been realizing that as of late, I am experiencing symptoms of my disorder, a disorder that I had thought I had conquered.

My symptoms: a preoccupation with food, a distorted body image, calorie counting, the management of food intake, and the fact that, although I have not been using the aid of laxatives, I have been eating such amounts of vegetation that I am having to use the lavatory several times a day.

I recently went on vacation for Thanksgiving and that is where I fear the last straw was obtained. I have five younger cousins that I adore. Their ages ranging from nine to seventeen. (Relevant: I wear pin-up style make up: red lipstick and Dita/Bernie Dexter style eyeliner...I dress relatively conservative, especially around family).After Thanksgiving, I attended a Christmas party where my cousins were. Two of them, ages 12 and 14 came up to me and, mid-conversation, confessed that their parents told them that they did not want them to "dress or look like me...ever" EVER...That word rang in my ears like a bomb.

I am by no means rich, by NO means, I shop at Goodwill and Gordman's, but the people in attendance at this party could be considered so. After hearing my cousins tell me this, I was walking through the party hall and felt as if everyone was staring down at me. I have never felt entirely comfortable around these people (customers of my beloved aunt and uncle's upscale furniture store that specializes in rare and one-of-a-kind antiquities). I have always felt that they somehow knew, somehow could just SEE it on me that I was not part of their group, not ONE of them; as if they could somehow see my cheap clothes, see that my life was not rich, or beautiful, or wonderful, that I lived in a low-class Podunk town in mid-America.

I felt like I did in high school, at the height of my eating disorder. The truth is that these things: rich, beautiful, wonderful, high-class, all combine and equate to one unattainable word to me: THIN.

The irony is the disgusting lengths that I used to go through to try and achieve this word, this word that would somehow give me hope, life, a boyfriend, happiness...content...Instead it took any part, any small, infinitesimal, tiny, little part of any of those things that I had...and robbed me of it...of life.

Today, I am sitting here, typing this at...12:08 a.m. the night that has followed an intensely stressful day of finals, complete with a panic attack, shaking, hyperventilating, and vomiting.

I am telling you this not to gross you out, or to induce sympathy or pity, or even respect just for sharing. I am not an open person (only six people know of my problem-if that many), and, although this is painful to write, it is not entirely too difficult.

I am telling you this because I am looking, agonizingly searching, for someone, ANYone who will listen to me and give me even the slightest bit of support.

I am telling you this because, over these past few months, I have been experiencing a downward spiral into hell, into the thing that keeps me from consuming and, simultaneously, consumes me.

I am telling you this because this last week has been a massive trigger, hell, maybe these past two years, and I am sure that I cannot sustain going through what I went through the first time...

Quite frankly...I'd rather die.

I hated my life then, during the height of it all...No, actually, I can't even remember feeling even that much. I was a shell of my former self, emotionless. Even if I could have maintained feelings, I couldn't have hated my life...I had no life to hate.

I was literally ALREADY dead, I was simply waiting for the physical end, until it nearly came and I fought to bring myself out from the depths.

However, I now fear that I am falling again. All in all...

I am telling you this, unfortunately, not because I want to, or even because I HAVE to...But

I am desperate.

I have lost more weight over these past few months than I did when I was trying to...The worst part is that I am afraid of gaining it back.

I do not, DO NOT want to fall back into this again. I CAN'T, CANNOT be dragged down into this again. I fear I won't survive it.

Again, I am not looking for sympathy, apathy, or pity...Just a friend.

Thank you, your devoted thrice-daily reader, Jac"

(((Jac))) Thank you so much for granting me the privilege of sharing your story.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009


From Charli:

"I have been reading all of the stories of all the beautiful people on your blog. I don't expect my story is as heart-breaking or even as recovery inspiring as theirs. I don't even know why I’m writing to you. I guess I just need to write it down. Even if it just gets lost in someone's email inbox.

Writing this is the only way my story would ever get told. I don't talk to anyone, I have lots of people that love me and would listen but when I try and talk my throat closes up and I feel a deep sickness. Even writing I can feel panic overtaking my body and my poor little heart is racing.

I guess I should start with who I am. This should be the easy bit but I don't really know who I am.

I am Charli.
I am 17.
My birthday is 9th February.
I am 5 foot 9 and a quarter inches.
I have brown hair that reaches past my waist.
I have blue eyes.
I am the palest of all the people I know =]
I wear glasses.
I am anorexic purging type.

I wish I didn't have that last point but I do.

I have had an eating disorder since I was 9 (or that’s as early as I see the manifestation) when I began restricting. When I was 13 I began making myself sick. Two months before my 16th birthday I was found out by my mum in the worst way. She walked in on me purging my dinner that I had made for her, her boyfriend at the time, and me. I was so ashamed. I wept so much I couldn't breathe and I couldn't look her in the eye. I couldn't explain.

Then there was CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) which just made me see how stupid I was for thinking the way I did but didn't help.

I slipped into anorexia.

And then the bulimia came back in a vicious way and I didn't see it coming. I didn't know that it could manifest itself that way. Packets and packets of diet pills and laxatives a month and exercising until I couldn't stand up.

I am still here, nearly 18, in a cycle of restricting, purging and exercising.

I have realised that my eating disorder used to be the solution to a problem but now it is a problem.

When I was younger I was always the tallest, always the "biggest." I was always the mum and never the baby, always the wheelbarrow driver and not the wheelbarrow. I was chronically bullied for being fat even though I was what you would probably call average, really.

But one day I was called a whale and I looked in the mirror and I thought, "Oh my god, I look disgusting. They are right, I am huge," and pinched and pulled at all the fat on my body until I was red and bruised. The next day I didn't eat.

The bullying didn't relent and from that point on neither did my disorder.

My family is broken. My mum is an emotional rollercoaster, going from damaging man to damaging man with no gap between.

My father committed a crime when he was younger that has shaped his whole life and mine. He has two younger children and a fiancé that dislikes me. She is 20 years younger than him.

My grandparents are estranged, really... giving me money for birthday and Christmas.

I don't really have a family.

I have many lovely friends though. 4 with eating disorders.

I have a boyfriend of 19 months who previously had an eating disorder. I love him so, so much. He taught me to trust and to love again after what I refer to as the "incident".

The "incident" is called this because I can't name it. It happens to other people and not me. He was my ex-boyfriend and it happened on the 3rd of January 2006. Was to be his second chance to prove himself as a decent person to me. But really what happened tore me apart. I had nightmares, couldn't eat, couldn't talk. I was the hollow shell of who I used to be.

I am what you might call a high flyer. Bright and intelligent. Emotionally intelligent towards anyone but myself.

The worst thing is the fact that people see me as the pretty, rich girl with a wonderful family, wonderful boyfriend and wonderful life. Why would I have any reason to cry? Why would I have any reason to be in a bad mood?

What would happen if they knew? My world would fall apart. Everything is built upon what they can't see.

I want so desperately to eat a sandwich. To be normal. But I don't eat bread or butter or meat or spreads.

I know I need to recover but if I let go of this will I fall? I know my body is dying from the daily purging, lax, exercise and lack of food.

I have been in hospital for passing out and "unexplained" pains. The doctors are on to me but I am so, so scared. I need the strength. To get the strength I need to talk to the people I love to get the support but I really can't let myself trust anyone to that level.

I want to scream.

One thing that gets me through is the fact that there are others like me that have recovered. After going to the depth of their ED.

It also saddens me that some people die and that others like me can't see the way out.

I am only 17 but I feel as if I have already lived my life 1000 times over.

I can't even write everything here. And I expect you are bored of my whining now.

I don't know who I am. I don't want to die. But I don't want to be this fat either.

Where do I go from here, Medusa? Do you know the way out? Please help me.

I'm sorry for taking your time.

From a very scared little girl.


I have written Charli privately, and am hopeful that others will respond to this dear girl's cry for help.

~ Medusa

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Monday, December 7, 2009


I received this letter from a reader, who has given me permission to post it:

"A letter to a friend who suffered from anorexia/bulimia:

Dear *

I'm sorry. I'm sorry for not being there for you when you had eating problems and for not understanding. I couldn't see beyond the skinny figure to the little girl lost inside. To the person hurting inside. Even when you told me that you had been making yourself sick, I didn't understand the implications. I just begged you to stop, told you just to stop. But you couldn't.

I didn't understand, how could I have? We were both so young. Even you didn't really know why it was happening to you.

I do understand now. I understand the pain and suffering you were going through. To purge until there's blood, to go to bed arms wrapped around your stomach which is so painful from the hunger. To have people say that you have lost weight, but you feel so obese and gigantic next to your pretty skinny friends. To look in the mirror and see a whole host of imperfections all personified through one word: fat.

I do understand and I wish I didn't. I am going through the suffering you have been through and it's making my life misery. But all I want is to be thin. I go on the internet each night to find thinspiration, to idolize and stop myself eating. I look at overweight people and feel disgusted by the amount I have eaten. I have a friend, she's overweight. I can't touch her, hug her, because I'm scared I will become like her if I get too close.

The feelings are irrational, but I am alone in this. No one knows.

I wish I could talk to you.

I love you.


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Saturday, December 5, 2009


anorexic woman


anorexic woman

anorexic woman

anorexic woman

anorexic woman leg

anorexic woman

anorexic woman

anorexic woman

anorexic woman arm

anorexic woman foot

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