By Carla BlumenkranzHerald Staff Writer
It started, one junior said, with a diet.But by the time she
was 14, that diet consisted of only one apple and one salad each day combined with intense exercise to burn them off.Her
weight never changed significantly, so no one thought anything was wrong.
By the end of high school, her
eating habits were back to normal, but that's when the purging began.She
began spending three to four hours at the gym each day and soon started vomiting and using laxatives.
Now the founder of Rhode Island's first chapter of the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa
and Associated Disorders
(ANAD), the junior said that until now her
time at Brown has been characterized by a lack of support.
A self-identified bulimic, the student estimates that during her
first year, she
took 20 to 25 laxatives, six to ten diet pills and five to six water pills per day.She
was also vomiting three to four times per day, she
estimates, and exercising compulsively.
"When I was set on a binge," she
said, "no one could stop me." She
stole food from her
dorm's fridge and from the supermarket.At one point, she
was going out at 3 a.m. to steal food from trashcans."I felt like a complete animal," she
In all this time, she
never gained or lost more than 10 pounds."No one noticed," she
By last winter, she
was nearly suicidal.That's when she
left Brown for an inpatient program, which she
described as 18 hours of therapy a day.She
returned to Brown last spring, but now doesn't believe she
"All I wanted to do was go back to my addiction," she
On campus, she
felt "no one was here for me." Health and Psychological services were helpful, she
said, but not enough.She
tried going to Overeaters Anonymous meetings, she
said, but was the only bulimic as well as "the only person under 40."
It was at this point in February that she
founded the ANAD chapter.
In addition to supporting the formation of support groups, ANAD maintains a hotline, referral lists of therapists and inpatient/outpatient programs and distributes information about eating disorders, according to the organization's Web site.
Since the chapter's founding, attendance has been sporadic, she
said, with rarely more than a few people showing up, including some Brown students.
"Statistically speaking, there should be 600 girls at those meetings," she
said.The ones who do come, she
said, often "don't know where to start."