Monday, 1 November 2010

A Survey from a 'College Student'

I have been asked nicely via email to post this on my blog. Hoping that maybe some understanding of eating disorders will be bought to the 'outside' world as a result of this survey, I have obliged to post this request. I must reiterate this has nothing to do with me I am just doing it because, well, because I'm bloody nice and I hope it helps I suppose.
She has asked for your responses to be given in the comment box as normal...

Hello. My name is Sheila and I am a college student working on a research project. My study focuses on girls and women who consider themselves to be pro-anorexic. I hope to better understand the users of online, pro-anorexia websites. If you are willing to participate, I would like to ask some questions about what this website means to you. I am not here to judge or make assumptions, but to simply gather information on a group that many know little about. All participation will be anonymous. Please use screen names that do not identify you in any way. If you are willing to participate, please post a reply to the following questions. If not, thank you for just taking the time to read this.


Questions:


1.) How did you first come to join this website and what keeps you participating in it?


2.) Do you consider others on this website to be your friends? What kinds of support do they give you?


3.) How does your family support -- or not support, --you?


4.) Are you closer to your friends who are online or to those who are offline? Why?


5.) Do you see a difference between anorexics, “anas,” and “rexies”? What term do you use to refer to yourself?


I guess I'll put my answers as comment number 1...

8 comments:

  1. 1. In my final year at university I had to do a project analysing the writing in blogs - one of the blogs I chose to analyse was a pro-ana one (obviously because I was suffering from an eating disorder). It was Anaregzig's Dying to be Thin. That's how I found this community from there.
    I stay because I can write freely, saying exactly how I feel and what I am going through - a freedom I do not have in my real life. I stay because my words are read by people who understand what I write and who are touched by what I say.

    2. Yes, some. You get to know some people very well - the one's whose blogs you follow and who comment regularly on yours. Some people are random and without personality, but many, many I feel I know and love. The support they give me is in just reading, and in knowing I am not alone and there are others living exactly as I do.

    3. For the most part no one in my family knew. Now my mum knows - since Spring this year. (she is my only immediate family). She doesn't know the full extent. I guess she... well, I guess she doesn't know what to do except make sure I get treatment.

    4. Interesting. Closer to my real friends in that I can talk to them and feel them and laugh with them etc etc... but closer to the girls and guys on here in that I can divulge my deepest, darkest secrets and thoughts - but the fact that I can do that is because in reality, I do not know them and they are not part of my life...

    5. Words are words, I don't see any difference. I suppose 'anorerxics' is more clinical - the term you use for someone sick rather than someone making a lifestyle choice. I identify myself with none of them (I am bulimic above all) but still... if I were to describe myself, I would say, I have an eating disorder and depression and I find it hard to cope...

    ReplyDelete
  2. 1.) How did you first come to join this website and what keeps you participating in it?
    I was searching "pro-ana" and Ana Regzig's "Dying to be Thin" blog came up and led me here. I participate because of the support system and my ability to vent my food-related frustrations without being judged.

    2.) Do you consider others on this website to be your friends? What kinds of support do they give you?
    They are my friends. They let me vent, cry, support them in times of sadness or recovery. They know my darkest secret. Their support is impossible to live without.


    3.) How does your family support -- or not support, --you?
    My family does not support me because they do not know about my eating problems.

    4.) Are you closer to your friends who are online or to those who are offline? Why?
    They are equal. Online because, as I said above, they know my darkest secret and can support me in a way none of my offline friends can. But I am also close with my offline friends because they are just like anyone else's "normal" friends, they just don't know about my problems with food.

    5.) Do you see a difference between anorexics, “anas,” and “rexies”? What term do you use to refer to yourself?
    There is no difference really. Anorexic is more clinical. "Anas" and "rexies" are just shortened, pet names. I refer to myself as "ana".

    ReplyDelete
  3. 1.) I found Ophelia's blog either through another blogger or because she commented on mine. I stay because I love her writing style and I care about her.


    2.) Yes. They support me through my bad days, talk me out of deep depressions and yell at me to study. They act as a sounding board for when I can't identify irrational thoughts and behaviours and have actually kept me alive.


    3.) They banned me from seeing school counsellors when it might have made a difference. They threw tantrums when I finally accepted medication and started seeing a therapist. I received no financial aid so I had to stop therapy. They don't like to admit that I'm not well. When I told them about one particular suicide attempt they just told me 'That was silly, don't do it again.' Needless to say I have very little contact with them, and what little contact I do have is superficial in the extreme.


    4.) I am close to both groups in different ways. I share more of the darker things that go on in my head with the people I've met online. People I've told in my offline life about my suicide attempts called me a selfish bitch, or said I just needed to 'harden up'. Not the best thing to say to the mentally ill.


    5.) I honestly don't know what you mean by those terms. What definitions are you using? I don't refer to myself by any of those lables. I call myself 'Fucking Crazy'.

    ReplyDelete
  4. In 2 parts:
    1. I moved away from my family and friends after college, and I was VERY unhappy with my body. I was at the heaviest I had ever been, and I wanted to change. I didn't tell ANYONE but I started having ED behavior. I hid it and being far away from everyone I knew it was easy, but I got lonely. One day I just googled some ana terms, and stumbled across one of the girl's blogs. It amazed me that she could talk with such openness and frankness about everything from purging to bowel movements and people listened, read, and sent her support. Plus I know it's sick but her behaviors were inspirational. I remember her posting how she had a shot of bourbon and a sleeping pill for dinner, and I though it was SUCH a good idea. For a while, I just read others' blogs and eventually got my own. It's just a thing that's always there in the back of my mind giving me support. I know I can actually TELL people what's going on in my head, with my body and to a certain degree, they care. They don't think of me as sick or want to save me. Some may judge, but most have been there and get it. The girls I blog with don't want to change my behavior, and blogging gives me drive and determination. I think we all compare ourselves a bit, and when YOU'RE the short-comer, it makes you strive to be better, be thinner. But it's not just competition. The girls really understand what I'm dealing with on a daily basis, more than anyone else could.

    2. I wouldn't say I consider them to be my friends, honestly. I reserve that term for people I am strongly emotionally attached to, and when you've never seen someone's face, only their thighs and stomach, I wouldn't consider them friends. However, I do worry about the well-being of certain people and have a bond with some of the readers. I think in the beginning I was a little more idealistic about the relationship I had with other bloggers, but now I feel like if I were to change my blog from one of an ED girl, to one of a "normal" girl, I know they would stop reading. We're friends in the sense that we're bonded together through our eating disorders, and take a small interest in each others' lives at the same time, but the true bond is our issues, not traditional friendship.

    ReplyDelete
  5. 3. My family knows NOTHING of my eating disorder. One of the draws I have with this site is that it's my ONLY outlet I have to talk about my eating disorder. I often have panic attacks, asking myself, "Did I clear the history? Oh God, what if I didn't!?" I would never tell them about any of this. They support me in EVERY other aspect of my life, and I know if they knew of this, they would want to support me in this as well. This is something I choose not to share with anyone in my personal life. I don't want a strain on our relationship, and they would not understand like the girls here do.

    4. I'm definitely closer to my offline friends, but them not knowing something about me that is SO personal and rooted in my behavior is kind of a wedge. I know people talk about my behaviors, I hide them as much as possible when I'm around them, but you still always get panicked that they'll be listening at the door and hear you purging or find your blog and KNOW it's you. Honestly if I were to chose between SOME of my friends and this community, I would choose this community because THIS is what gives me the support and outlet I need to be thin, but I hope it never comes to that. I love my offline friends more because we have that face to face relationship and when I'm with them, I'm not just another eating-disordered blog. When I'm on here, I'm focused on the ED part of me, but that's not all I am. It’s a part of me I want to hide, so of course the friendships are different. The people on my blog see the demon side of me while my offline friends see the angel.

    5. I call myself an "ED girl." I'm not "ana" because I'm not at the clinical weight requirement for anorexia. My clinical title is EDNOS, but I've never been treated. I think the titles are meaningless, but I do kind of idolize girls that are clinically anorexic as sick as that sounds. They're always the goal, to be completely underweight.

    ReplyDelete
  6. 1. I first came to join this website when I was searching for thinspo pictures online. I found a thinspiration blog and from there dived in. I follow a bunch of pro-ana blogs including this one, my favorite. Ophelia's writing is beautiful and everything she writes I can relate to.

    2. I consider these people to be friends. It is so fabulous because they are feeling the same exact thing as you and you can tell them anything but they don't acutally know you. The best part is, also, that you don't have to see them every day.

    3. I believe the reason I became full on anorexic is because of my family. I have a twin sister who was always skinnier than me and during my freshman year, I started taking birth control for my periods and gained a lot of weight. My mom would make comments like, "Wow, your jeans are just getting bigger and bigger." and "That doesnt quite fit." Or "We better order a size bigger. You arent as small as Lindsay anymore."

    4. I am closer to my online and offline friends in different ways. I am always thinking about my online friends, constantly. And, the best part of my day every day is reading all of the blog updates. But, closer than my offline friends, I dont know. Its different.

    5. I want so terribly to call myself an anorexic, as sick as that is. I want to look slightly underweight. I want people to call me that skinny giirl. I am called EDNOS but have not been clinically treated either.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Everyone,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. Every answer really counts. The insights that you have provided are amazing and I really appreciate you sharing it with me. There's still time to answer my questions so, for those of you who have not, please do so.

    Sincerely,

    Sheila

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete

Don't be anonymous, leave a name at least so I can identify you back :)