The struggle with anorexia

To the editor:

I wish to thank the staff at The Journal for interviewing me an sharing some of my story – my ten year battle with anorexia nervosa. I also wish to thank those who took the time to read the article.

I strongly encourage people to read more about the illness in the Oct. 9 edition of the Springfield Advance Press, in which Doris Weber encouraged me and so graciously printed my story – in my own words. I simply want people to have a better understanding. This illness is not just some diet. No one wakes up one day and says, oh I want an eating disorder. I strive to raise awareness and get the message out there.

Please know that there is hope. Eating disorders are serious and fatal illnesses that can affect ANYone. Do not allow yourself to suffer in silence – because there truly are only two outcomes – a life without your ED (misery), or death.

This illness is no different than cancer. Is it right to call someone with cancer, ‘cancerous’? No. So please do not think it is right to call someone like me, who is fighting anorexia, ‘anorexic’.

Do not judge what you fail to try to understand. You don’t know how hurtful the stares, the gossip, and cruel comments are. Get the facts and learn people’s stories. We all have battles we are facing, whether they are medically related or not. Talk about it and do not be afraid. Life is worth living and we all deserve to be happy.

I did not choose this. But I am choosing to live.

There is no magic cure and recovery does not happen overnight. Recovery is the hardest thing I will ever go through – but it’s a lot easier than imagining my parents bury one of their children. I struggle every single day but I am fighting and will not give up.

A final, and special Thank You to my wonderful family -Dan and Darla Portner, Brittany, Alex, and my handsome nephews Levi and Jace. Also a special thank you to my family from the Delmar and MaryAnn Portner clan (my awesome New Ulm relatives), my amazing friends, the community of Springfield, my co-workers at two of my beautiful aunts – Sandy Portner-Quiring and Kelly Murphy’s Bridal Store – Lu Erlandson and Jenny Struiksma – who put up with me at Sisters Bridal & Tux, and to those who have supported me in any way over the past ten years. I am forever grateful. Thank you for helping to save my life.

I am open to talk about this – do not hesitate to contact me.

Brianna Utz

New Ulm

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