The Dangers of Pro-Ana

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Many of you may have heard of “pro-ana” sites and blogs that support and encourage eating disorders. Now, the way I see it, these sites extend from one source: pain. All people feel pain; it’s just a fact of life that everyone has to deal with. We all wish we didn’t have to, but, unfortunately, we don’t always get what we want. People take their pain and either use it for motivation to make themselves stronger or let it fester until they feel like they can’t go on anymore. Pro-anorexia blogs have a tendency to be used as a way to let out that pain (or at least that’s how I used it) and for “thinspiration” — excuses to not eat or to vomit what you do eat. Some even use pro-anorexia blogs as a competition — as a way of saying, “I can be a better anorexic than this person.” These are some of the ways people express pain.

Making excuses for this behavior doesn’t make it better; I learned that the hard way. I thought that X amount of weight would satisfy me and be enough. It wasn’t. Once you get to that desired weight, you won’t stop because it will never be “enough.” People who struggle with eating disorders are likely to be perfectionists; not all of them, by any stretch, but enough to be the majority. The problem here is that perfection is not possible. I have a friend at my treatment center, Quinn, who would always tell me: “As long as you try your best, that will always be good enough.” We always talked about how hard it is not to be perfect, and he honestly probably helped me more than any other peer. We can try our best, and that has to be good enough.

Some people use the buddy system to hold others accountable to make sure that they eat and don’t purge after every meal. This can be extremely dangerous; if one of you goes to treatment and comes back healthy but the other is still struggling, it’s easy to get dragged down with them. Those depths of despair don’t just go away; you have to build new habits.

So, instead of going to all of the depressing and triggering websites out there, why not try something new? I surf some uplifting sites, like GivesMeHope.com, when I’m feeling down, or you can look up some of your favorite things, such as your favorite shows or hobbies.

Pro-tip: I have found that looking up recovery quotes on Google Images is a really big help.

What you put into your head matters. How can surrounding yourself with negative images, ideas, and expectations lead you to living a positive life? It will be difficult to back away from dangerous situations, yet I’ve learned over time that the best things in life aren’t always the easiest.

Margaret Harrison
Having grown up loving books, Margaret Harrison decided she should try to make her way in the world by creating what she loves most. When she's not reading the next soon-to-be pop sensation or making new discoveries in the YA section, she's at a farm working with horses, creating the next great playlist to describe her life, or dying her hair the next unnatural color! She loves sleep more than she could any boy (other than the fictional/famous ones). She loves Sherlock, Supernatural, Buffy, and Disney. She's the winner of the world's pickiest eater award 16 years running!

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