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As a severe sufferer of anorexia, I feel wounded by some comments on this post. It IS most definitely a mental illness....not some VAIN self-indulgent quest for absolute thinness. There is so much more to the pyschosis than just weight and fear of gaining. The entire identity and safety structure is formed around weight.....why???? NOT AT ALL FOR LIGHT REASONS....but as is for sa and apd, a coping tool for life. As a child and teenager growing up in a very abusive, totalitarian/perfectionistic, out of control unsafe environment, it was the only way I could life. Early on, I hid in a closet day and night.....later I learned how to live in that closet by retreating to a place in my mind where nothing else mattered but my weight. The world falling apart - my mom's rageful fits, my dad's heavy drinking, etc - couldn't affect me as long as I was solely focused on my weight and not eating. It was an absolute escape mechanism that kept me sheltered and well protected from "them."
When I ran away in my late teens, I was able to come out of my "closet"/mind for a little while. I let myself gain some weight (although still very controlled about my weight, but I could eat without the intense panic following) and did quite well for a few years. Then I got married and shortly after, found myself living once again in an unsafe world. I relapsed hard almost a decade ago. Recovery has been extremely difficult because I still live with that man, and now I'm even more fearful of people's anger and unpredictability.

ITS NOT A DISEASE OF THINNESS AT ALL COSTS.....ITS SAFETY AT ALL COSTS. For some people, its CONTROL at all costs, or shelter, or some other type of intense need for self-protection. We become deluded by the thinness because the disease becomes the protector, and giving up the quest for thinness then becomes quite scary because the world is too unsafe to live in without having our protection surrounding our minds.

I'm not a pro-anorexia advocate. I'm just trying to give you a picture of the rationality inside one anorexics mind and to show you that this disease is just as valid- self-destructive, all-consuming, all-lying - as any other mental disorder people suffer from. If I could easily choose to not be thin or to not control my weight through extreme measures, I would, just as IF I could choose to believe that people aren't scary, mean, unpredicatable, angry, inherently abusive, scornful, etc, I would. Getting past all the irrationalities of our disorder is difficult. I've made a lot of progress in my years of treatment, but I still get triggered and afraid, and then I retreat back into my closet again.

In answer to the question of whether a person can mimic anorexia nervosa and then eventually become so is maybe. Why would a person willingly choose to starve themselves? Is there something they're running from? I've heard time and tme again about "diets gone wrong," but I believe that in order for someone who simply starts out choosing anorexia to get trapped in anorexia nervosa, there is a problem much deeper inside residing in their minds. You don't fear fat to this extreme for no reason (is that a sentence???).....just like we don't fear people or rejection to the extreme we do because we choose to.....something starts the imbalance and excessive need for the safety mechanisms we employ.
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