Interacting in Support Groups

As I went to log back on to the project shapeshift website ( the pro ana site that I have been looking at) there was a new disclaimer at the top of the site that read:

NOTICE TO MINORS — YOU ARE PROHIBITED FROM JOINING OUR FORUM COMMUNITY!

If you are a minor, MOVE ON.  Any Member suspected of being underage will be INVESTIGATED THOROUGHLY by any means available online, and minors will be banned until they are of appropriate age to access our Forum!
EXCEPTION:  IF you wish to obtain consent from a parent or legal guardian to access the Project Shapeshift Community Forum, contact AnaGirlEmpath for the appropriate form.  The signing adult will need to provide signature verification to deter forgeries on the part of minors.  A picture of a parent’s ID which shows their signature is required as well as the permission form.  These signatures must match to be accepted.
NOTICE TO ED GROUPIES/WANAREXICS — YOU ARE UNWELCOME HERE!
If you think ED’s are “cool” or “chic” or are looking to lose several pounds for some special event; if you are obese and hoping to be motivated herein; if you are otherwise fixated, enamored, enthralled or attracted to ED Communities, MOVE ON NOW!
The intended audience for Project Shapeshift is as follows:
1.  Individuals 18 years of age or older who have Anorexia Nervosa (AN)
2.  Individuals 18 years of age or older with another RESTRICTIVE ED (EDNOS-r; Orthorexia; etc.)
3.  Individuals who walk Ana’s Path in Volition*

IF YOU DO NOT ALREADY HAVE A **RESTRICTIVE** EATING DISORDER OR *GENUINELY* WALK ANA’S PATH IN VOLITION, THIS SITE IS NOT FOR YOU!

I have always been hesitant to interact with the individuals on this site as it makes feel uneasy and I did not feel like I was welcome, but seeing this disclaimer makes me even more worried. It took a long time for me to even get on this site and be accepted and I still have a lot more I want to look through to get a better idea of what this community is about. Now that I have been accepted into this site though I have begun to look at different posts individuals have been making. First I have noticed that this is an extremely active and responsive community. I went on this site at 8 pm on a Monday to begin looking at posts and there were already 39 new posts. Not just that, but some of these posts had over 100 comments on them with the most I saw having 1196 replies. Most of the posts are different individuals telling their stories as to different times they have ‘restricted’ themselves (they use this term when referring to starving themselves I have noticed.

Not all of the posts on this site are just personal stories, or sharing how they strive to be thin and what they do in order to be anorexic, it seems like two this is a community that just shares information about what is taking place in their lives in general. For example, there was a post of a user just sharing pictures of a new kitten she had gotten, and another that was showing pictures of a new home that had been purchased. Some people post various poetry (while some is about staying thin, there was also an extremely touching poem on a user’s story of having a loved one in the War in Iraq. I am honestly very surprised in the range of types of posts that are made at this site and it was something that I was not expecting. I was also surprised of how truly supportive the users are of one another. I am not advocating being anorexic or the ways that these sites are encouraging young girls to do so. I do not approve of this at all. But it is clear how much that they look out for one another and how much they generally care (even if they are supporting individuals to do harm on their body.

The set up at Daily Strength was quite different when it comes to user’s posts. Again this site is very active with there being 13 posts in the past 24 hours, but these were stories about people who were having success with beating their eating disorder or there were others that were asking from help from the group to give them strength when they felt like giving up. Example of a posts:

 

Hey everyone, I wanted to share some positive news.

I’m celebrating 2 weeks free from ED behaviors today. It is incredible and I feel so free. I’ve been eating whatever the heck I want and totally not getting worked up about it.

I’ve decided that it’s time for me to get healthy. I’m planning on starting an exercise routine. Running, lifting weights, etc. I do want to lose a bit of weight with this, but that’s not the main focus so much. I want to have sexy defined muscle, keep my hourglass figure, and be able to show of my figure in the coming summer.

I won’t be going on some radical diet. I’ll be eating everything – protein, carbs, and yes, fats. It’s not about eliminating them it’s about “watching” them. I will eat whole grains instead of white. I will eat healthy fats such as those from avocados and peanut butter. Sugar won’t be eliminated either, it’ll just be monitored. And when I go out to eat, I won’t freak out that nothing fits my “diet”, I’ll just be mindful about what I eat and heck, if I want the occasional treat like cheesecake I’ll eat it.

I’m motivated by this beautiful young women who posted her journey to health on YouTube. She is incredibly beautiful with sexy muscle, defined and toned but not bulky. Her weight is healthy and she’s is focused on her health not how low a weight she can be. It’s very motivating and tonight I’ve decided this is a time for ME to change. Tomorrow marks official Day 1.

So, I thought I’d share that with everyone. I think that this is incredible for me to have come this far. Saying I want to be toned, defined, and sexy. It’s time for me to get a grip of life and grow up. Enough of this obsession with being emciated and child-like. Enough of the “how little can I eat”. Enough of the ED thoughts, the ED obsession, the ED consumption. Times are changning for me. I hope that this inspires you to think about changing. Wish me luck!

And again at this site, users were very helpful and supportive congratulating when someone  was on the right track and getting healthy again and offering advice and guidance when someone felt like they were slipping. This gave made hope and made me happy to realize that there are people that are truly trying to help others overcome their illness. This site seems like it does a great job with it as well and that users have really grown to know and trust one another. For example in one post where a user had said that they feel ugly and think that the only way to fix this is to throw up after eating users responded with giving different ideas of other things they can do to feel better about themselves so that they would not resort to developing an eating disorder.

 

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