When Stephanie Looney '02 says she battled anorexia for six years, she means it. Every second, every day, was consumed by her obsession. Even sleep didn't bring a reprieve. "I used to dream about food," Looney said. "I'd have terrifying nightmares that I ate a bowl of cereal."
Looney, a bright, articulate woman who is now leaning towards a forensic science career, developed anorexia when she was 14 and became overwhelmed with pressures. She was participating in sports year-round, found she had to start working to earn those once-assumed A's and was experiencing a home life she describes as "miserable". Suddenly she felt her world was falling apart. "I had no control, and that scared me," she said.
So, like many others, Looney tried to regain that sense of control through eating habits. Six years later, after some counseling, an addiction to laxatives and several emergency room visits, anorexia landed her in a five-week partial-hospitalization program in Connecticut. "It was the hardest thing I've ever done," said Looney of the intensive medical and psychological treatment during which she was only allowed to sit, eat, and talk- no unnecessary movement. "A lot of the the time I hated it, but it was exactly what I needed."
Unfortunately, Looney's battle with an eating disorder isn't unique. An estimated eight million women and a million men in the United States have one, with the number of men affected growing more rapidly- and Colby isn't immune.
MacLeay, Alicia Nemiccolo
"Impossible Image: Eating disorders can develop when societal pressures overwhelm students,"
Colby Magazine: Vol. 90
, Article 8.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/colbymagazine/vol90/iss4/8