(pro) ANA
Jamy Bond

If you are mentally ill, you shouldn't be here. If you are happy and headed in the right direction, you shouldn't be here either. If you are a person in control, in command of her own destiny, a person who doesn't believe that anyone other that YOU should tell YOU how YOU should live YOUR life, then this is where you should be. This is where you belong.

This is not a place of criticism or judgment. This is a place of acceptance. A place that acknowledges you for what you are, for what you will always be, for what you've chosen to be. A place that admits you serve a purpose (otherwise, why would you exist?). Here, you are normal. Here, you are good. Here, you are wise. Here, you are healthy.

Now, choose your category of interest and click the link:

Food Log

Tip: Find something that makes you feel vaguely ill, get a picture of it and put the picture beside your food. Make sure to look at the picture while you eat. Really stare at it.

Three strawberries  — 15 calories; 4 ounces pineapple juice — 50 calories; bag of baby carrots — 150 calories. Total: 215.

I stopped crying when I was small, because crying got me spanked and made fun of by my father. After a few years without crying I was afraid to start again even when I knew I was safe. I thought that once I started crying I'd never be able to stop. I feel that way about eating now.

Tip: Paint your nails. The smell of nail polish is a great appetite suppressant, and if you go all-out with base coat and top coat and everything, then your hands are occupied for hours.

Diet soda — 0 calories; 1/2 cup lima beans — 60 calories; 1/2 bag rice cakes – 75 calories; 3 slices fat-free turkey — 90 calories; 1 cup chicken broth — 30 calories. Total:  255.

I'm trying to decide where I belong. Where I want to be. My body takes up too much space to fit anywhere. I need to be small so I can fit into a safe place. My emotions feel too big for anything.

Tip: Sabotage your meals. Make them with too much water, too little sugar, an ingredient you don't care for. Add too much salt or pepper. Make it taste bad.

Two ginger snaps — 50 calories; piece of Trident gum — 15 calories; 2 slices of fat free cheese — 100 calories; 3 saltine crackers — 60 calories. Total: 225.

It's miraculous how normal you can seem on the outside when on the inside you're nothing but floating shreds and itty battered bits of sawdust. It feels as if everything I do hides a scream.

Tip: Pick apart your cravings. For example, if you're really craving pizza, think about what it contains. Then, drink a can of V8 or eat a tomato. If you still want pizza, eat a rice cake. If you still want pizza, have a piece of cheese. There, you just had some pizza.

Subway turkey club with potato chips — 425 calories (before purging); 215 calories (after purging). Total: 215.

It's breathtaking, headspinning, to see my bones emerge... But it's very lonely here and I can't keep doing this. When did this become less a desire to be thin and more a desire not to exist at all?

Tip: Take a shower. If you feel clean, you may not want to dirty yourself up with food. Spend some time in the shower counting your ribs. You may find a new one, sweet success.

Sugarfree hot chocolate with water — 0 calories; bowl of shredded wheat with skim milk – 100 calories. Total: 100.

I think that when I'm falling I need to know that if I were to hold out my hand, someone would be there to take it.

Tip: Check the fridge when nobody else is around. Find foods that you would have eaten and get rid of them. For example, three eggs and a piece of butter. Then if someone asks, you can say you had scrambled eggs (it's possible to can convince yourself that you had scrambled eggs).

Three large rice cakes — 105 calories. Total: 105

And what about smells? This one has been getting to me lately. If I go past a bakery or a deli or a chocolate store, and it smells really good, do infinitesimal calorie bits get into me through my nose or mouth? I wonder if anyone's ever studied that.

Tip: Throw food away before you eat it. A lot of people feel guilty and don't like to toss food, but that food gets discarded any way you look at it … purging, digesting, tossing … Isn't it better to get rid of the food before you eat it than after? If it still bothers you, hand it to someone on the street. Everybody likes free food.

Four slices of apple pie — 800 calories. Total: 800

I'm disgusting. I hate the sensation of rotting gunk packed into my abdomen. I wonder what my hair weighs. It's thick and fairly long. If I shaved my head, would I lose a pound?

Tip: Brush your teeth. A clean minty mouth makes the thought of eating less attractive.

Water — 0 calories; fake sweetner — 0 calories. Total: 0.

I wish there were fewer people in the world. I wish I could look out the window and just see white blank nothing for miles. I wish I had armor, a thick soundproof shell that nothing could get through. I wish I were walking dead.

I'm hungry. It's settled into a constant gnaw that makes me act like a marionette on strings. My mouth is peeling, the skin inside sliding away like paper-thin slices of jellyfish. It feels like cobwebs clotting around my teeth.

Jamy Bond is a fiction and non-fiction writer. Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, The Sun, The Washington Post, NPR's Sound of Writing and others.

Detail of art on main page courtesy of Gwendal Uguen.

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