Hello again. Some weeks ago I interviewed a girl called Madelén. Madelén is now over 20 years old, and got the disease when she was 17 years old. I asked her some questions about the disease trying to achieve a great answer on my question. Madelén is from Norway, and she writes a blog about anorexia. If you want to visit her page: http://maadeleen.blogg.no
How old were you when you first started to develop the disease?
- Actually, I don`t have any concrete answer on this. I have always had a troubled relationship to food, and have also been fastidious. It was the winter of 2008 that the problems started. At that time, I was 15/16 years old. The disease was not discovered or diagnosed before one and a half year later, when I had turned 17 years old.
Were there any special factors that caused your disease?
- First of all, it is important to underscore that it wasn`t the anorexia I developed first. I have never had a bad self-image, or neither wanted to be thinner. Besides of primary school, when I was frightened to death, by the thought of getting womanly shape, and come in puberty. When I started at Junior High School the ball begun to roll. The school nurse underscored that I had too low BMI. I have always been fastidious but had never had eat anxiety at that time. The weight was not perilous, since I hadn`t started to develop yet. My body developed late. At the start of Junior High School, I was like all the other teenagers: preoccupied of being healthy. The problem was that the healthiness and perfectionism went too far. I came to a place where all I did was planning on what I was going to eat and when I was going to exercise and work with school. I struggled with bad conscience, and nothing was good enough. In addition to this, I was exposed of more exterior influences. I tried working out as a model, and went to catwalk class. I saw well trained models in magazines, and experienced the satisfaction of exercising and eating healthy food. I felt, and looked better but not in the way I wanted. I was not satisfied. The process didn`t go fast enough. 28 hours with exercise in the week wasn`t enough. I felt that I was too big, and every thing I saw was fat. It was at this time the anorexia thoughts arise. I ate less food, and in the end the only thing I ate was crisp breads and fish cakes. The muscles disappeared and the bones appeared on my body.
How did the people around you react when you got sick? Did you get the support you needed?
- It was a coincidence that somebody discovered it in my brother`s confirmation. I wasn`t very thin at that time, relative to how thin I became. I rarely meet my family; therefore, it was easier for them to see it than my nearest family. Mum and dad got scared to death. My dad almost got angry at himself, because he hadn’t seen it before and never had asked why I had ended up in the “perfectionism bubble”. He just thought I was like everyone else on my age. I got support, but not in the way I wanted. Instead, I got confrontations and visited doctors. I was pressured from all over, and had to lay off both school and work. I got a lot of support from my friends after I had started my blog, because it where the first place I wrote about my problems.
Do you know anyone else with the same diagnosis?
- I know a lot of people that are struggling with the same disease, and actually I have many friends with the same diagnosis.
If you do know anyone else with the same disease/diagnosis, do you help each other out of the “devils circle”?
- Yes, we do. It is important for me to find support in each other and not experience it as triggering. We often find it comforting, because we know we’re not alone, and it is easy to recognize the situations.
Do you get tired and sleepy because of the disease?
- I think everyone else with anorexia would have answered yes, but I have rarely felt this. I have a lot of willpower and it is freighting how much my body handle. I have always been an active girl, and I like to do thing all the time. BUT: I have hit the floor sometimes. A lot of stress, work and demands over time, together with less sleep can hit me out, and I have to relax to get better. I don’t know if this is caused by the anorexia or just because I am human. I think everyone would have been exhausted if they worked 110% over a very long period.
Is there any medication for anorexia?
- I have never used it, and do not know so much about it, but I know that it exists. I think it is some pills that make you antidepressant.
How is your day now, compared to the days when you were the sickest?
- I am not in good health, unfortunately. I have a very long way to go with thought of the weight, but anyway my days go around the way I want. I just have to be more social. Without this, I work, meet with my friends and I am a quite different person now than I was before. When I was the sickest I didn’t want to live, and now I can’t think about leaving anything. I have too much to loose. When I get healthy enough I am going to law school. This is my great goal that I want to achieve.