Teenager struggles with anorexia

By Stephanie Bergen
Garden Valley Collegiate
Winkler, Manitoba

Anorexia is a big factor in Erin Dowling's life. She is a 16-year-old girl from Winkler, Manitoba. Erin has been dealing with anorexia ever since Grade Five and it's only now that she is beginning to get over the fear of what others think of her.

Her problems started at the beginning of Grade Five, Dowling says.

"I was really developing . I was really conscious about what other people thought of me. I started to really cut back."

Her parents were always supportive.

"My Mom and Dad talked to me for hours just saying that I was not fat and I could eat whatever I wanted."

Some advice Erin has for anyone dealing with anorexia: "Tell someone . . .It is a very slippery slope and once you start sliding it is very hard to stop; you need to be stopped otherwise you are going to fall and it is going to sting."

In 1994, Erin spent 2 ½ months in Children's Hospital, Winnipeg. Then went to Morden Hospital in 1995. She lived with therapist Kim Andrews in 1997. Ever since August ‘98 she has been living at home.

She says, "Kim has taught me a lot of things that I go back on and they help me cope with
things that I am dealing with and I just overcame it with time"

Erin says "I kick myself everyday because it has really affected my appearance and I think a lot of people are scared of me. . . because they think I will go backwards again or I will break in half."

She says that it is really hard to have relationships especially with guys, and even some girls