Anorexia, the lifestyle. Yes, I am dead serious

WARNING: I DO NOT DO TRIGGER WARNINGS.

For 4 years I have been attempting to educate the public, parents, mental health professionals and anyone else that will listen about pro-anorexia.

Pro-anorexia is the belief that “anorexia is a lifestyle.” Google the terms “proana,” “thinspo” to be sickened. On YouTube, an average of five videos per day are uploaded filled with images, music, and mantras all meant to keep these proana girls motivated on their goal to starve themselves to be like the Hollywood stars they admire.

Most people turn away and tell me “I can’t handle that, but guess what, we must. Others tell me I should be softer, and nicer to celebs who pave the way for girls. Ain’t happenin’

Check out these links to get a sense of what I am talking about here:


Image Library Like No Other, I Promise You

Top ProAna image library with an unbelievable amount of links, some titled “body parts” for those who need to be motivated to get that extra skinny collarbone: http://www.pro-thinspo.com

24/7 Chat Featuring A Real-Time Internet Suicide!

What to chat 24/7 on how your day went? How you hid your secret from your parents? (Ignore the big banner that slaps you in the face stating the site is pro-support, its a crock http://community.livejournal.com/proanorexia

YouTube Videos Galore, Pick Your Fave

Here’s a great vid made by some very inspired kid called “Perfect Real Girl Thinspo! – Shake it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRBd-KrRM_w

A personal fave “Goth-Emo-Thinspo” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhkQ_grheA&feature=PlayList&p=994E8D68BC84E821&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=7

Names like “Chewing Cotton,” “Cut This Skin, “Iwannabetinygirl” are commonplace, each trying to outdo one another.

SkinnyGirl49 offers this advice “If you feel alone,hopeless or sad and it seems that no one understands You this is a video for You. Watch it before You go to find hope in the fridge,” commentary that proceeds her three and a half minute video filled with models, real girls, and a phethora of proana hope http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnkLFCr88co

Lastest And Greatest

The newest trend, “Bitchspo” is one that doesn’t really need an introduction http://www.prettythin.com/bitchspo.htm

Poetry

I’ll leave you with this uplifting poem titled “SMALL?? tell me…

I wanna look in the mirror,

And see a tiny figure.

I wanna feel beautiful,

Inside and out.

AND…

I want them to notice,

What im all about.

I shall be small

I shall not fail,

Food is Food..

Whats so special?

Im going to starve,

Till i am very small.

Fuck there opinion, i hate them all

Good times.  Am I the only one paying attention?

mamaV

About mamaV

Former Paris model providing advice for eating disorder sufferers who aspire to be thin, follow the proana lifestyle, and lack self esteem.
This entry was posted in Fashion Freaks, Pro Anorexia, Thinspiration and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Anorexia, the lifestyle. Yes, I am dead serious

  1. Pingback: Sarah Jessica Parker goes from beautiful to scary | Body Image Activist, Eating Disorders mamaVISION

  2. Alex says:

    I don’t know if this will help, but the poem here reminded me very much of a Norwegian one I learnt in school. That poem really spoke to me. It tells me to truly not to think about what others say. Because at the end of the day, they’re just like you, always trying to be big and often something they’re not.

    It’s by a legendary Norwegian poet, Inger Hagerup. And just for you guys, I’ll tranlate it:

    Small?

    Me?

    Not at all

    I’m just about big enough

    I fill my self completely

    From side to side

    From top to bottom

    Are YOU bigger than yourself maybe..?

  3. Ari says:

    This is so scary.
    But, these sites don’t cause eating disorders. I know for a fact.
    When I was twelve, I began binging and purging for a brief amount of time and than began restricting my in take to under 800, often under 500 and 200 and sometimes I ate nothing at all for days.
    Pro-Ana and Mia sites didn’t cause my disorders, but the don’t help. At all. When you’re confused and hate yourself so much, they just push you further back into your own private cave. I wish these sites didn’t exist. I would probably still be where I am now (anorexic), three years later, even if I hadn’t viewed them, but for others I know that sometimes young girls can have their disorder completely triggered by even briefly seeing these sites. Down with Pro-Ana.

    You are doing a lovely thing, educating mothers and fathers. I wish mine had been given the knowledge to help me years ago.
    Thank you for possibly saving many girls and boys.

  4. Nickkei says:

    Hm, I don’t see what’s so wrong with the thinspos. Sure, they’re bad for the girls that think its a lifestyle, because its not. It’s a disease. I hate to say it, but I watch ’em and they’re helpful for sure. I know I’m a very sick person to say that, but I have no one around me to see that and stop it. So, I keep going because it is like I’ve given up on conquering this. Sometimes feeling that hopelessness makes me fear going off on my own just slightly because I’m afraid that I’ll just not eat without someone there prompting me and die. Then why do I keep on with this? I’m addicted.
    I actually enjoy pro-ana sites and seek them out. It’s very twisted, but its nice to have a group of people that know exactly what you’re going through and are on the same path. I also agree with Ari how the sites keep you deeper in your cave. You still see and hear everything around you, but being so numb you don’t actually comprehend anything.

    PS sorry for the rambling thoughts. Typing on my phone is very sometimes difficult.

  5. Nats says:

    OH MY GOD!!! i just went on the picture site and even though the creator claims that the site is not pro ana mia, it looks like it is to me and looking through those pics made me feel so depressed and large!!

  6. FreeEternally says:

    Its great and all that you are trying to educate all of the clueless adults (because there are not many clueless teens) but I feel like posting the images and linking the sites is not the most effective way to do it. Yes, it creates the shock value, but what does shock value worth if some sort of education does not follow? Like, mentioning the studies on how these sites influence the recovery rate? The studies on how much longer on average a person that frequents these sites will struggle?

    Personally, they are not triggering but I often have trouble seeing what is wrong with these sites? Most people cannot understand or handle what these sites are showing but at the same time most people cannot understand or handle the problems in my life. should i avoid my life just because it is strange and abnormal to the general innocent population? My family tells me not to talk about the eating disorder stuff with anyone because it would overwhelm and burden them. These sites overwhelm and burden people, so in my twisted logic I think, perhaps the other people that do not flinch at these sites and are not overwhelmed by them might understand me, might be able to see my words and not flinch, and might be able to see the weight of my words without feeling overwhelmed.

    Side note…In my treatment facility one of the teenagers and I that were in the program had to teach most of the professionals involved in our treatment what those sites were and what sort of stuff could be found on those sites. Ironically we watched most of the girls openly use hints found on those sites in treatment but because the professionals are clueless about those sites they are not as aware of what the current popular tricks are in the ED underworld.

    • anonymous says:

      WOW. When I was IP, the internet hadn’t even been invented so those sites didn’t exist. But I find it pretty apalling that an ED treatment facility has never heard of them in this day and age. That’s pretty bad. I know tons of eating disorder professionals- they all know they exsist. Did you find the treatment center helpful at least?

      These sites don’t nor have ever triggered me either. My problem with her drawing attention to them even though anyone who wants to find them knows where to go is that this a pro-recovery website, and ed professionals encourage ed sufferers not to seek out this material. If you read some of the comments on this post and the SJP post with people looking at these photos and then comparing themselves to them or commenting on whether they think they are too skinny or not, she is inviting people to participate in the very behavior she blasts and bashes days in and day out. A bit hypocritcial for my taste, though she refuses to see it my way.

    • mamaVISION says:

      Hi FreeE: A few things stood out to me on your post;

      “My family tells me not to talk about my ED stuff with anyone because it would overwhelm and burden them.” WTF???!!! This is not right in any way, shape or form. YOU need support. YOU deserve support — and the people that love you want to give it to you. Please tell us more about this attitude of your parents because it really, really bothers me.

      Scary and true comments on the ED treatment centers, as I have gotten into this more, I have learned even some of the highest regarded centers hire people right out of college with NO ed specific experience. Its a tragedy.
      mV

      • anonymous says:

        That is true. My father once said that there are more people treating this illness who don’t know what the F- they are doing. After much searching, we finally found some places who did. I was very lucky to have parents who were supportive of me and went above and beyond for me both as a child and as an adult when I had a very serious slip a few years ago that almost landed me back IP. They still don’t really understand it, but they always let me talk about it and were there for me. I sometimes don’t even think experts understand it- They understand the cycle of the disorded mindset, but not the feelings. I think few people do unless they have had it, but I am with MV- no excuse for your parents to say that and encourage you not to reach out or express how you feel. It must be very lonely.

  7. FreeEternally says:

    anon…I did find some aspects of the treatment place helpful. Like, they were really helpful to get me restarted eating and it keeping an eye of the medical aspect of my restarting to eat because of the refeeding syndrome potential problems. The groups were for the most part a joke, a few of them were okay, there was a group on body image that was helpful, I loved the art group but that was just because they let me do whatever I felt like doing (I mostly ignored their directives and just colored) but the groups were led by interns that were still students. I often had the entertaining position of being more knowledgeable on a topic they were trying to educate us on or a therapy technique they were trying (for the record, interns do not appreciate when you critique and correct their communication style, like telling them they are using too many probes and not enough empathetic statements…I wasn’t exactly a favorite). I left the program early because I got so angry and tired of how a couple of the interns were handling things and talking to us. I feel though that because I have restarted eating and gained the weight I need to the hardest part has been made more manageable. Now I can go on my own journey and figure this out, asking for help as needed but without the dumb interns.

    MamaV…My family’s attitude has been a bit unhelpful in the treatment process. The people that do know have told everyone else in the family that I had to leave school and my weight loss was due to ulcers and hormones and I am in the city taking culinary classes and studying for the entry level exams for my grad school of choice. I was supposed to move in with a cousin but because it would have been overwhelming and burden some for my cousin and her husband (they are both ten years older than me) I ended up having to find an apartment in one weekend. My mother tells me that my ED problems have not effected the family and that she never really noticed them so she does not see why I needed to make such a big deal about this. Now she is reminding me that I should be careful about all this weight gain I am doing because I do not want to end up overweight like I was before (I have never been overweight and I am still twenty pounds lighter than the weight she is referring to). Whenever I do tell any of my family anything they usually get upset or tell me that I am being irrational and that they cannot handle anymore of this because it is so overwhelming. My family is of the mindset that if they ignore the behavior I will stop. When I am having a bad day an struggling I really do not mind this. That is how at Thanksgiving I did not even put food on my plate, around my family I do not even have to pretend to eat and they will never say anything unless I go too long and pass out. At which point I am usually told to stop doing this to them and just eat already because all of this attention seeking has annoyed them. My favorite parts are that they have been trying to convince me I do not have problems with food, I am just picky or my allergies make it hard to eat. My food intolerances are caused by my ED.
    Since I had to move to a city that is about an hour and half from all of my friends that had been my support system I am a little isolated. I have made friends but none of them know that the reason I am here is for treatment. The only other friends I have in town are other people that are struggling with ED or other addictions. Two of my friends that I had made here in the city left for rehab in the last week so sometimes my friends are a little interesting.

    I can understand hiring younger people with limited experience treating eating disorders to do the routine stuff like preparing the food (unless patients are involved with that), helping make sure everyone gets where they are supposed to, sitting around and talking during down time, helping provide distractions and/or company as needed if someone just needs to like, playing a game or have someone just sit with them, and maybe leading the recreational activities. But people with no experience should not be leading groups or any of the treatment focused stuff. Patients know they have no experience. The other ED patients and I would have buckets of fun screwing with the interns heads. We would intentionally lead the group discussion down whatever path it was if we did not feel like discussing what they wanted us to (we mostly did that for this workbook called appetite awareness training which was designed for binge eating disorder and overweight people, we were a group of straight up restrictors…or the group where they had us to meditation and imagine ourselves on a beach). The clueless interns either did not realize we were doing this on purpose and manipulating them or they just did not know what to do.

  8. anonymous says:

    Oh my God, Free!

    I am so sorry for your family’s attitude. It sounds like, I hate to sound like a cliche, but they are in a classic state of denial. I am so fortunate to have had parents who did not treat me that way and basically forced my ass into treatment. It’s easisar to do when you are a minor.

    Unfortunately, a lot of uneducated families think this is a selfish disease, that this is something you are doing to punish them. What they don’t understand is that it is a slow form of suicide, and a way of punishing yourself. When I was really sick, I was so wrapped up in the disease, I couldn’t even examine the affect it had on my family. It’s part of the illness. But the illness isn’t about punishing your family. I am not minimizing what parents go through when their child has an ED, but they need to realize that the child is not doing what they are doing to punish them. That’s just flat out ignorance. I am surprised- but I don’t know, you didn’t mention it, that the facility did not have family therapy?Or is it that your parents just didn’t want to participate?

    All I can say is that I don’t know what your family situation is- if you are still a dependant, (I know you were in school) is if you can, stand up to them. This can be hard if you are financially dependant on them, but I’d lay it on the line and say, I have an eating disorder. This is a very serious illness that has a higher mortality rate than any other. I will print you the statistics. I am working hard in recovery. Your support and some attempt to try and educate yourself about this disease would be very much appreciated. You are over 18- they can’t tell you what to tell your other relatives. Heck- if you try to talk to one of them, maybe they can talk some sense into them.

    It’s totally eggrigious for your mother to be making comments about your weight especially during this very challenging time. I was truly lucky to have compassionate parents, although even they had their moments of being disugsted with me. “We’ve seen this movie a million times. Get your shit together.” It’s a lot easiar said than done. Underneath their frustration, they got that. The only other thing I’d suggest is maybe if you are not dependant on them financially, cutting them off for awhile. This may seem harsh, but I know many ED sufferers with parents like yours who did so, and after no contact, they slowly came around because they wanted a relationship with their daughter. You are still their daughter. I can’t imagine there isn’t some love there. They just don’t understand and it’s painful for them to face. It’s easiar to make up lies to explain your circumstances away. If they told the truth, they’d have to on some level, look at themselves and anything they might have done in parenting to contribute.

    My parents are not awful people and I don’t believe they caused my ed, but I definitely think certain things here and there set it off- like my mother turning a blind eye to my childhood sexual abuse. Just some things to think about. I am glad you are trying to stay on track. I know it is not easy, especially in your situation where your support system is limited. But keep on plugging away! I am proud of you, and you should be proud of yourself.

    I relate to a lot of what you say about young IP staff. Reminds me of my days as an IP when we would all be like WTF do you know? Fortunately, in my treatment, while there were interns or young fresh shrink wanna be’s pursuing their psych degrees, there responsibilites were limited to only supervising meals and snacks, not any type of group or individual therapy. Those were all left to the social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists. But they would still add in their two cents every chance they got. A few years ago, when I was on the verge of having to go back in patient, this 20 something year old research assistant gave me a tour of the unit, and said “This isn’t a punishment, just so you know.”

    I was like what the hell do you know? I was 33 at the time and I really resented someone with such little experience telling me what I already knew. I told the psychiatrist that I found her attitude demeaning, that I was an adult, and the decision to go back to the hospital was mine. That psychiatrist is one of the top in the United States, and they appreciated my input, especially having been down this route so many times before. In the end, I was able to turn it around and get it together, but it wasn’t easy. Somedays, I regret not going back, but at the time, I felt it was the best decision. I knew what I needed to do. I just had to muster the courage to do it. Some people can, some people can’t. There is never an shame in that. But, I give you huge credit. You have a tough situation to contend with!

  9. Maryah says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQFr3QUEVB0

    And my personal “Oh my god what the **** is wrong with this person…”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-gx7dpxnkA

    She tells everyone she lost a ton of weight doing ecstacy in the begining of the video… And then says “But don’t do drugs! Enjoy the thinspo…”

  10. Tegan says:

    If it wasn’t for the AMAZING surport I’ve reived from ljs proanorexia, i wouldn’t be here today.

    That place has changed for the better since that crepper Dlyen is no longer the mod.
    It is no longer a tipz an trickz site like it was when he was in charge.

  11. Shalace says:

    Here’s how I see this whole thing of pro-ana/mia. Firstly, let me say, I disagree with the idea that the media CAUSES an eating disorder. In MY opinion, it’s a biologically based disease brought on by biochemical reactions taking place in the brain in a genetically pre-disposed individual. Undernourishment for ANY reason can trip this wire and cause an ED to take hold.

    Once that happens, and this person is already in the disease, that’s where the media comes into play and the problem escalates. People who are anorexic or bulimic DO NOT think they are “that sick”. Some may not even think they are sick AT ALL. The anorexic/bulimic then (believing that he/she is fat) seeks out more and more ways to lose weight and the problem perpetuates itself.

    I can agree that the media is apart of the problem, but I don’t believe it is THE problem. I also believe that the media needs to take more responsablity for their part in making problems worse for these poor people. The statistics for EDs escape me at the moment, but as you are no doubt aware, people are DYING at an alarming rate. I sincerely hope that the media takes responsablity for their part of the problem one day, but I’m not holding breath that this will happen any time soon. Sad to say.

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  14. Michelle says:

    Wannabes are the ones who see anorexia as a lifestyle. Wannabes are people who choose to not eat. Sometimes wannabes turn into anorexics. But anorexia is a DISEASE, not a lifestyle. Lifestyle is something you choose. Anorexia is a disease. Anorexics no more choose to be anorexic that a cancer patient chooses to have cancer. People who view it as a lifestyle are NOT anorexic. They are what the anorexic community calls wannabes.
    However, not all forums talking about their day or all videos with pictures of thin people are by wanabes. It’s a way for anorexics to commmunitcate and find people who struggle much like themselves. It’s a place for anorexics to vent about their disease and to help others who are struggling. To the outside world most people think we encourage mentally healthy girls to starve themselves and that is incorrect. There are sites that do and people that do. Those people are the more recent definition of pro-ana. The older definition was meant for people who were not ready to recover or those who accepted other anorexics whether they wanted to recover or whether they didn’t. They recognized you can’t force people to recover if they aren’t ready. It just doesn’t work. The new definition generally refers to those who encourage healthy girls to starve themselves for fun like some game or some easy way out. Those are not anorexics. They are sick. But their sickness is not anorexia. Don’t judge us until you live in our world. Those of us who suffer from the disease would never wish it upon anyone else. We may look at thinspo and post videos with thinspo but a real disease needs no thinspo. Doesn’t mean we don’t use it. But we would still be anorexic without it.

    The problem is the line between anorexic and “wannarexic” (those who treat it like a lifestyle choice or a fashion statement or who just wish they were sick) is a very blurry line and there is almost no way to really judge for sure. It many ways they can look the same.

    The thing people need to understand is that pro-ana does not mean the same thing all the time. Sometimes it does refer to those encouraging others to starve themselves. In many cases it refers to groups that cater to those who are already sick. The groups support each other and yes they talk about how to lose weight and such, but it’s not as if yelling at them to stop doing it and taking away these groups is going to help. They need each other.

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