Anorexia Nervosa, code 307.1 by the DSM-IV, is defined as a psychiatric diagnosis that describes an eating disorder characterized by low body weight and body image distortion with an obsessive fear of gaining weight. Eight million people in the U.S. suffer from an eating disorder, and I am one of them. Anorexia goes far beyond than just wanting to be thin, food is the symptom, not the main issue. There is research being done about their being a genetic pre-disposition to the disease. Two thirds of people with an eating disorder suffer from depression and/or anxiety as well. Recovery is definitely possible, but takes many years of hard work with many struggles and relapses along the way. Unfortunately, an estimated two out of ten anorexics will die from the disease.
I have suffered from Anorexia for six years and depression for nine. During my third year of Anorexia it got to the point where I was so out of control that I was put in a treatment center for four months. I was in complete denial about my situation and refused to go for a long period of time. I finally realized that I needed to go otherwise I would die; it literally came to that point. I learned a lot during my stay and made many close friends and amazing people that changed my life.
One of the most important things that I learned was that I have many heroes. I call these heroes my animals. My animals truly help me get through each day and try to fight this battle within myself. Without my animals I honestly believe that I would not be here today. I have had friends leave me because they couldn’t deal with it anymore and I have lost trust with other friends and family members. I have had to take time off from school because of it as well. I recently had a close friend from treatment who took her own life because of this disease. But guess who has stayed by my side the whole time and has never judged me? My animals. Though my battle is far from over and I am going through a relapse, each day I think of my animals and how I must learn to take care of myself so that I can take care of them. I owe them at least that much because of what they have done for me, even though they will probably never know. I believe in heroes.
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