… actually exist. Did you know that? If you’ve read this blog post that I wrote back in Feb for Melinda Tankard Reist, you probably did.If you haven’t, please do! The more who know about this sort of thing going on, the better.
‘Pro-ana’, as it is affectionately called by many stuck in the eating disordered world is simply the promotion of Anorexia Nervosa as a lifestyle choice. You can therefore make a fair assumption of what ‘pro-mia’ means. Basically, there are hundreds of websites / communities within Live Journal / pages on Facebook etc where girls and guys (generally teenagers, but often children and adults also) encourage unhealthy weight loss behaviours, share “tips & tricks” in regards to purging, restricting and hiding weight loss, amongst other things.Not everyone who is involved in these sites encourages the weight loss. In fact, I’m quite sure that many people feel terrible about encouraging others in their ED – but will do so if it means they receive the same encouragement in return. People upload photos of themselves onto these sites – half-naked, ribs jutting out, spines showing, thigh gap apparent, shoulder blades prominent – apologising for how fat they look and saying how much more weight they need to lose. And people might tell them they are too thin, or even that they’re too big (these people are sicker than the ED’d, I reckon) and it’s just this ongoing competition which spirals ridiculously out of control.
So on Facebook ED accounts, people tend to have a pseudonym that identifies whether they are anorexic or bulimic – mine was ‘Graceful Ana’, for example. That account was deactivated a long, long time ago and I haven’t thought about it in quite a while either. L changed the password and then helped me to deactivate it.
I think I’m spurting all of this info out for a few reasons –
1) It’s so strange that these sites exist. And so terrible. People are dying as a result of eating disorders. People are very ill. And then these websites exist that only make one focus even more so on their ED. They are so wrong, and they make me so mad and I think the more people are aware of their existence, the better position we are in to do something about it. But I think also that the existence of these sites shows us how ill anoretics and bulimics are.
2) If you think your son or your daughter or your wife or your relative of any kind is looking at websites like this, you need to confront them. These websites only contribute to the downfall of the eating-disordered. And it’s a long, crappy climb back to normality.
3) If you are looking at pro-eating disordered sites, you need to tell someone. You need to tell someone because you won’t be able to stop if you try to do it on your own. You need to tell someone because you need to be kept accountable and even if you tell yourself you won’t log into that Facebook account anymore, your ED will whisper in your ear and coax you back by its side with its false sense of safety and security and control. This is a battle that is impossible to win alone.
There’s so much more I could talk about here but I think you’d be a little overwhelmed. Hopefully though, I have given you some idea of the nature of pro-eating disordered websites and armed you with a little knowledge about them too.