Reach out if you suspect
someone has an eating disorder
Dear Annie: During the middle of my freshman year in high school, I was
in the midst of training for my first real track season. My winter workouts
gradually gained intensity, and my food intake gradually started to drop.
Initially, the more weight I lost the easier it became to complete tough
workouts. With that mentality, I slipped into the world of anorexia nervosa,
thinking that eating less and exercising more would translate to success in
I struggled with the disorder in silence for months, dropping from 130 to 98
pounds on my 5-foot-7 frame. I’d eat a granola bar for breakfast, run 5 miles
in 100-degree heat and then fall asleep in an attempt to ignore the hunger
The only person who ever directly confronted me about my weight loss was my
volleyball coach. I lied about how “I was fine” and attributed my dizziness
and inability to focus to a hectic schedule. I became terrified that my
inability to compete was a result of laziness, so I started running. About 10
minutes in, everything went black. I collapsed on the ground, but no one saw,
and I didn’t tell. But it made me realize my actions were spiraling out of
control, and I finally sought help from my family doctor. It took years to undo
the damaging behavior that had developed in a few short months, and those
thoughts still nag at me today.
Eating disorders plague more high school students than are diagnosed, simply
because people refuse to speak up if they see that something is wrong. Those
few words from my coach helped me realize that I had a problem, freeing me from
the firm grasp of denial. If you or someone you know may be suffering from an
eating disorder, please reach out to a qualified mental health professional
immediately. Losing a few pounds can quickly spiral into losing a life without
the proper treatment.
— Recovered in Nebraska
Nebraska: Thank you for writing. We are sure you have helped more people
than you realize. If you recognize yourself or someone else in this letter, we
hope you will contact the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and
Associated Disorders at anad.org.
Dear Annie: “His Wife” said her depressed husband was a changed man
after proper medication. That is my story up to the happy ending. Now I need
My husband admits he may have a “little bit of depression,” but sees no
need to change. It is everyone else’s problem if they don’t like the way he
is. He saw counselors twice and complained that neither of them listened to
It is difficult to live under the cloud of an unpredictable, often angry man.
He has problems at work and has switched jobs three times in the past eight
years because he is “never appreciated, management is the problem, they
don’t know what they are doing.” He has estranged his family.
It is sad, frustrating and emotionally painful to live with him. Unless a
person wants help, no one can force him to get it. Any solutions? — His
Wife: You can try talking to his doctor (or leaving a message for him)
about the depression and anger and asking about an antidepressant. Beyond that,
however, you might consider counseling for yourself so that you can cope better
with a situation that is making you so unhappy.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Salem, Oregon,” who requested
that their children not give them Christmas presents. I have also told my
children that the only present I want is for them to give blood at their local
Red Cross. My three sons and their girlfriends and wives have willingly done
Now the Red Cross “opens” the presents that keep on giving. Life is the
best gift anyone could give.