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Anorexic and bulimic at the University of Wisconsin

December 17th, 2005

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students and eating disorder patients Michelle Ellison and Brittany Jeffers are profiled in the UWM Post.

At age 22, Michelle is currently in a group therapy program, recovering from her bulimia, which started at age 13:

“I was at home eating some pizza and felt fat,” Ellison said. “I remembered reading an article in ‘Teen’ about a girl using a toothbrush to throw up. I tried it and it worked.”

The next time, she drank a bottle of cologne to throw up. Soon, her problem was out of control. Purging began to consume her life. She would throw up six to 10 times a day.

Brittany Jeffers, currently a junior, has been anorexic since high school:

Jeffers sits upright and motionless while she speaks. She talks with little variation in her tone, giving the sense that she is talking about someone else. She tries to figure out why she initially succumbed to the eating disorder.

It was “a feeling of a need to please, perfectionism,” Jeffers said. “A desire for control. Being shy was a part of it.”

Since then she has entered one-on-one therapy treatment to change her disordered eating behaviors, but challenges remain:

“(I) still struggle today. We can look in the mirror and not see what everyone else sees. Even if we are a normal weight.”

One out of every four high-school- to college-age women in the United States suffers from eating disorders.


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