*TRIGGER WARNING: mentions of self-harm and an eating disorder. None of the events or characters in this story are real*


Ring-ring-ringgg!! Ring-ring-ringgg! The chimes rang and pounded in my skull, hurting my eyes and making my body ache with the shrillness of the alarm. I randomly slung my hand trying to turn off the clock. The metal made a distinct clunk as it hit the floor. It’s probably broken but the ringing stopped. 

“Katie! Get up! You’re gonna miss the bus!” 

I don’t want to go to school. I pull my blankets farther up and cover my head. The flick of the lightswitch sounds and bounces around in my head, pinging off the walls, echoing in the blank space. 

“You are going to be late, Katie. I know you’re tired but if you didn’t stay up all night running and working out you wouldn’t be so exhausted.” I almost passed out on the treadmill last night. I need to remember to take breaks. I forgot last night.

My mom came into focus when she tore the sheet from my head and exposed my body. I slept in baggy pants and a hoodie. She couldn’t see the scars on my arms and legs.

 “I don’t wanna go, Mom. I don’t feel good.” I really don’t feel good. I’m tired. I don’t go to class anyway.

Her cool hand met my forehead. “You don’t feel warm, love. Is it your stomach or head or body?” She questioned, moving to my closet to rummage and shuffle through the abundance of clothes that can be found there. She was going to make me go. 

“Mainly my stomach. I just don’t feel good. I don’t want to go.” I snuggled deeper into the mattress and pulled the blankets up to my neck. The bed dipped under her weight where she perched at my feet. 

“I don’t understand, Katie. You love school. You have plenty of friends and you make good grades. It’ll be fun. Since you don’t have a fever, I really think you should go.” Her hand rested on my leg and I resisted the urge to flinch out of her touch. She’s trying but she just doesn’t understand. She’s thin. She could be a model, one of the ones that poses in their underwear and have their pictures on billboards. She has everything.

I have nobody. I don’t talk to anybody; they all left me. They said I was being dramatic and that my life couldn’t possibly be that hard, that I had no reason to be sad and insecure. If someone does talk to me, it’s to insult my baggy clothing or the lack of makeup on my face. If I’m lucky I get accosted by the traditional teenage male who’s disturbed by the lack of skin I show and the effort I go through to hide my curves. 

I don’t get good grades anymore. I’m failing. I have C’s in history and math and a D in English. I don’t go to science anymore so I have an F. I don’t know what electives I’m taking this semester, I only go to art. I have an A. My teacher thinks I’m gifted. The images of silhouetted figures shrouded in dark clouds and twisted line work mixed with deep merlots and melancholy ceruleans are “exquisite” or so he says. My sketches of tiny girls with missing limbs and holes in their bodies with patchwork bandages and blacked-out faces with shades of envy ivy and gaseous amber are “beautiful” and “convey a powerful message.” The paintings of empty tables littered with meal plans and uneaten foods with calorie labels and images of rooms filled with exercise equipment and scales show “real-world struggles.”

I was brought back to my room at the sound of my mother’s voice. “I think you should go to school, baby. Don’t forget to eat before you leave; breakfast is on the stove.” She kissed my forehead and walked out of the room. I heard the sound of her heels clicking on the tile and then the front door closing behind her. 

The mention of breakfast made me want to gag. 

I got out of bed and looked at the clothes she had hung on the outside of the closet door. A short sleeve v-neck and black shorts. Not happening. I grabbed a hoodie two times my size out of the drawer and baggy jeans out of my hamper. I felt comfortable in these. I felt thin. 

My trip to the bathroom was brief. I avoided the mirror because I was running late and didn’t have the time to stare at my infinite imperfections. I stepped on the scale. 112 pounds. It’s not enough. I needed to be at a hundred. I’m not losing weight fast enough. 

I walked into the kitchen and looked at what she had made. Pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon. Pancakes had too many carbs. Eggs made me gag. Bacon had too much fat. I wasn’t hungry but I didn’t want to upset her. I took my portion and went over the garbage disposal before I bagged the rest to put in the fridge for later. The familiar whirling of the blades slicing the food mixed with the rushing sound of the tap water made me queasy. I hadn’t eaten in days.

 I needed to be beautiful. 




Anorexia is real. It is a disease that 6-17.6% of teenagers face and struggle with every. single. day. Every day we encounter someone who is going through things we only believe exist in the depths of our imaginations and only happen to those who have a horrible life and those who are in the lower class of society. That is not the case and never will be. Mental and eating disorders can happen to anybody. Male, female; rich, poor; happy, sad; privileged or not. It can happen to anyone. 

Body image, an obsessive phobia of being overweight, overly exercising, attempting to maintain a below-normal weight, and long periods of not eating are all common behaviors/symptoms of those with anorexia. Anorexia affects approximately .5% of people in their lifetime, including nearly 2-3% of women. Females are more likely to suffer from and get diagnosed with anorexia nervosa compared to males in frequent studies. People, primarily females, between ages 12-25 are the most susceptible to the disorder and only a small percentage of those actually seek help and treatment. Treatment for anorexia includes cognitive behavioral therapies, forms of counseling psychology, support groups and family therapies, as well as behavioral therapies and psychotherapies. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, otherwise known as SSRI’s, and antipsychotic medications are often prescribed in extreme cases as well alongside the different types of therapy. 

Please note that even if someone around you displays some of the symptoms of anorexia nervosa, this does not mean that they suffer from the eating disorder. People exercise and diet to be healthy. They may also desire to lose weight to feel better about themselves or maintain a healthier lifestyle. If you are worried about yourself or someone around you, please research people you trust including school counselors or staff, therapists or mental health professionals, or contact local and national hotlines for support. On our webpage, eldiablonews.com, under the mental health tab, you can find the link to the local Safe2Tell hotline. Please know that there are always people out there that care about you and you are loved. There is a way to get help. You can always find support. Your life is valuable.