The other day I was thinking about how I first stumbled across the huge network of websites, communities and support groups that make up the growing online "pro-ana movement". From what I can recall, it was around last April when I had been restricting for about a year. My friend had done a research paper comparing anorexia and bulimia, and I was proof reading it for her. I had never though of my restricting, which had started innocently enough as a diet, as a problem. My mother questioned it every once and a while, but other than that, I got away with eating very little pretty easily. But as I read on I recognized alot of these behaviors of "those tall, blond, model-like girls" (yes, I was guilty of stereotyping) as my own. Did I have an eating disorder? I was both horrified and fascinated. So when I got home from school, I googled anorexia under images. My mouth hung open as I examined the pictures of emaciated women, their ribs and hip bones sharp as razors, appearing to be ready to cut right through their skin. The legs like two parallel lines lining the pages of my notebook, never touching. For the first time in my life, I had seen real beauty. Another image listed, was a pro-ana ribbon with a link to a website. This I believe, was where my eating disorder really took hold of my life. Under the "tips and tricks" section, were words of poison, ones that I will never forget. "After binging there are several ways to make purging easier...". And so began my love-hate relationship with bulimia nervosa, which I would begin to feel was the only thing I had during the worst of times. I began purging soon after that, and it had gotten to the point where I can't go a week without at least one binge/purge episode. So, in now way am I blaming my eating disorder on the influence of the "pro-ana" community, but those warnings they put on the websites are most definitely for a reason.
I'd like to know your thoughts and have you share your experiences on this subject.
-How did you first come across these kinds of communities and websites? -Would you attribute any of your behaviors to something you "picked up" on a site? -Is this even possible? -What is your position on the idea that, "eating disorders are not a disease, they are a lifestyle"? -Do you use "thinspiration"? Do you find it effective? -Have you ever seen anything mentioned in the media (i.e. newspapers, magazines, news programs, ect.) about the pro-ana movement? -Do you think servers have the right to delete or ban these kinds of communities and websites? Is it an infringement on our freedom of speech? -Any other points or information you would like to share on this topic.