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It Gets Better: A Student’s Perspective on Eating Disorders

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

On top of my bed hangs a picture of a girl I used to know. Her body is nothing but bone. Her skin is thin and stretches around the structures of her shoulders like chewed gum, almost transparent. Her arms dangle from her loose pink tank top like those of a poorly stitched rag-doll, and her smile is too big for her sunken skull.

When I look at her image, I recall that this girl undressed and redressed herself 12  times prior to the shoot, all the while asking the mirror why she looked so large.

Anorexia is a disease that doesn’t pay attention to gender, ethnicity or age level. It is credited for having the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, and starves the brain as well as the body. Anorexia contributes to an emaciated appearance, weakened heart, slowed metabolism, and damaged internal organs.

A year ago, soon after posing in a pink tank top, I was hospitalized for Anorexia. My vital signs hovered at near-death ranges, and my mass was in no way an ideal representation of a 19-year-old girl. I was constantly dizzy, constantly cold, and never quite able to grasp material that my peers so easily understood. I edited out protruding bones of my shoulders and chest before posting photos on Instagram. I told myself that if I upheld an image of adequacy, I would be just that.

Let me enforce that there is nothing adequate about a life ruled by Anorexia.

For me, and the other patients I encountered throughout my hospital stay, the disease stripped fat from our bodies, intelligence from our minds, and threatened to stop our hearts from beating. All of us, beautiful people of every age and gender, resided in fragmented shells of the lawyers, teachers, nurses, artists, athletes, and incredible thinkers we had the potential to be.

Maya Angelou is famous for saying, “nothing will work unless you do,” and no words could be more reminiscent of recovery from anorexia. 

Accepting that I was broken was not as simple as looking at my reflection in the mirror; it took seeing my image for its worth.  This took time, medical assistance, and friendly encouragement, but ultimately, the choice to pursue a future or continue to trust old beliefs that had been so toxic, was my own.

If you are struggling, your world may appear foggy and dark, but that does not mean you are those things, or that you will experience them forever. 

Take it from me, and that girl I use to know: It gets better.

Student journalist at Temple Univerisity with a love for health, humanity and story-telling. Check out my bylines on Philly.com, College Fashionista and The Temple News.
Samara is currently a senior Journalism major at Temple University. She has always possessed a passion for writing and currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief for Her Campus Temple. Eventually, she hopes to work in the magazine industry. In her free time, she loves exploring the city of Philadelphia, trying new restaurants, and attending concerts. Samara can be reached at samara.grossel@temple.edu.