Post subject: Pro Ana is Messed Up!

Posted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:17 am

About five years ago, I discovered that there was a following online, called "pro ana".

I was suffering from an eating disorder during this time, so I started joining as many pro ana websites as I could. They were all to do with tips and tricks; how to avoid eating in front of family and friends, how to throw up safely. You know, things like that.

I stopped joining them after a while, when I began focusing on recovery. I was joining forums that were recovery based, and so on. All was well, until I had a relapse. My dad called me fat in an argument, and told me that I would never get a boyfriend being so tubby. Didn't really bother me at first, but when you're told this every day for about eight months, which made me believe that he was right. I knew I needed to lose weight again. So, I looked up some of my old pro ana sites.

All of the pro ana websites I had joined in the beginning were gone. It was no surprise, websites of that genre get shut down all the time. I decided to try and find some more.

I joined a few, but they were not so much "pro ana", as "pro acceptance". These were websites that allowed eating disordered behavior, but not any tips and tricks, like they would support you in your starving yourself. Though they would suggest the right vitamins and such, certain vegetables that gave you the right amount of nutrients, and good vitamin tablets.

But that was not good enough for me; I had been on all of those recovery websites, where they encouraged you to indulge yourself every so often. They would not slag you off if you had eaten three cakes in a row. Instead, they would ask if there was a reason behind it, and if it was an indulgence or a binge. In other words, they would encourage recovery. However, the pro ana websites and the recovery websites were kind of closely related; both wanted you to be looking after yourself, albeit in different ways.

I typed "pro anorexia" into Google, knowing that some of the sites that classed themselves by that name allowed tips and tricks, did no judge if you had not eaten in over two weeks, and did not tell you that you needed to see a doctor if you had stuck your toothbrush down your throat to purge food.

At least, that was my impression.

There was one site, I joined, because they seemed to be cool with everything. I posted on there for a couple of months, until I was invited to an area of the site I had not been able to access before, as I did not have enough posts yet. The main admin sent me a PM to say that because I had reached 550 posts, I was allowed into the new area. She called it "the ward". I accepted, and she let me have access.

Even with my new status, I still did not have access to everything. There were journals and photo areas, but there was an area that my new access would not allow me into, even though it appeared on my screen. It was called "the curtain". Try as I might, I could not get past the link. Every time I clicked on it, a screen came up saying "you do not have access to this area".

However, one day, I logged in and tried it again. When I clicked on the link to "the curtain", there was a PM.

"Are you sure?"

I accepted, and tried clicking on the link again. What I saw there I never want to see again. The threads did not have names that I would associate with, but the first said "this is me". I decided to click on it. It contained pictures of a girl being fed through a tube in her nose. I understood why the picture was there, it was to show that there is not any beauty in an eating disorder. I knew that then... and I know it now...

I decided to skip a few, and clicked on another link. This thread showed a girl, who was severely underweight, all bony, terrible, grey- looking skin and dark circles under her eyes, with nobody around her. It was horrifying. I wish I had stopped clicking then, but my eating disordered mind was still saying I could be like that, even though I found the pictures terrifying.

I continued. There was one more thread I clicked on, it was simply entitled "Clare". The girl, who I assumed was Clare, was emaciated beyond anything I had seen before. However, it was not the last picture in the thread, as was the case with the other threads. The next image showed the girl lying on her bed, skinnier than I had ever seen anybody. There were more pictures further down, first with a nose tube, then with a tube into her abdomen, and finally, hooked up to a full life support machine. By this time, she looked like a skeleton.

There was one last picture. It was the girl lying in a coffin, obviously dead. There was writing at the bottom of this post, after this last image.

"This is Clare. She started off reading pro anorexia websites four years ago. Those websites encouraged her not to eat; they told her that food was evil. There was one user on her first pro anorexia website, who we only know as "simpsonsgrrl", who told her she was ugly. She told my daughter that she needed to lose weight, because she would never get a boyfriend otherwise. Clare was a beautiful girl, but she did not understand how beautiful she was. She believed that food was bad, because the pro anorexia sites told her so. She starved to death, because of those people on the sites. We are certain it all began because of "simpsongrrl". We forgive this girl, but we hope that she realizes what she had done to Clare."

As I read this, tears filled my eyes.

I finally decided that pro anorexia was not for me. However, I needed to know who simpsongrrl was. I needed to make sure she knew what she had done, and I wanted her to suffer the way that Clare had.

Looking up simpsongrrl, I found an e-mail address to this username. It pinged back an auto-response of my message, when I sent an email from a new address I had set up purely to talk to simpsongrrl.

"Do you think you're ever going to get a boyfriend when you're so tubby?"

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