Why Am I Drawn to Pro-Anorexia Websites?

By November 27, 2012

Before I get to my question, I would first like to thank you guys for the time and energy that you put into helping those who struggle with EDNOS. I am so grateful for the support and answers that I find when I visit this site…it is great to know that people are being real about these issues that are typically left hidden. My question tonight involves pro-anorexia websites and weblog communities. I started checking these sites out about a year ago and am pretty embarrassed to admit that I am “hooked.”A lot of the thoughts that are expressed on these sites sound completely ridiculous to me when I read them; however, they are thoughts that run through my head nonstop throughout the day. I really feel ashamed that I can relate to these girls and some of the things they do and the thoughts that they have…the more I visit these sites, the more connected I feel and the more “ok” this disorder seems. I have struggled with different forms of disordered eating for several years and I know that I need to get out…I just can’t let go. I know that these sites are pulling me back in by voicing thoughts and struggles that I have kept inside for so long. Although I have grown up in the church and in a loving, safe family, I feel like no one really understands me, so it is tough to actually voice my thoughts. It’s as though I am a part of a community…with no strings attached. I am really wondering why I am drawn to these pro-anorexia sites and the supposed “community” that they provide as opposed to seeking real people that are speaking truth? I know that I am being fed lies on these sites and I know that I have people around me who love and care and want to help me. Why do I desire the lies? Do I really desire the lies? I know those are probably questions that only I can really answer, but I do wonder about research that has been done on pro-anorexia websites. I’m guessing that these are attractive because of the community atmosphere that they offer and the validation that they give to warped thinking. I’d really like to understand why I am so drawn to these sites. If you could direct me to some resources that reference these types of adverse support groups, I would really appreciate it. Thanks for your time and please know that God is using you…Courtney

Dear Courtney,

I think you do a wonderful job of putting on paper what I imagine is a self dialogue you have held in your head many times. So let’s look at the cons of participating in pro-anorexic web sites.

Cons for a person struggling with recovery:

You are recruited by other persons who do not want to be healthy and wise and who do not really care about the status of your heart, mind or soul.

They (disordered eating persons) want no responsibility to really “be there” for you in a nurturing or spiritual way.

You get used! When you visit the site you validate THEIR need to be sick. They need you to make them okay. They don’t love you or want your best. They just want to “know” that you do it also; therefore, you are being used so that they can feel good about themselves.

It is my belief that if a person visiting pro anorexic web sites says any of the following…

  • I am hooked
  • Thoughts run through my head nonstop throughout the day
  • The more I visit these sites, the more connected I feel and the more “OK” this disorder seems
  • I feel like no one else really understands me
  • It’s as though I am part of a community, with no strings attached

…she needs immediate help from a professional trained in helping individuals recover from disordered eating. Please realize that your recovery is in jeopardy. Where you spend your time, your energy, and where you place your eyes (literally) is where your heart will be. If you want to escape this trap, contact a clinician, be as honest as possible about what you are doing with the internet viewing, and seek an accountability person or plan that will help protect you and your recovery. See “Finding Treatment.”

Take care,