Deadly Thin: Source of the Disease

"I know all the physical warnings to expect, but the eating disorder still takes over my mind so much that it really just doesn't matter any more," says Aimee. "I get bruises all the time. Usually it's from sleeping. These mattresses are very hard on me, and I get really bad pain up in here in this hip, because this hip is showing a lot." She lifts her shorts to expose an emaciated hip bone.

"Her doctor said she has the bones of a 90-year-old woman. She has, like, no fat in her body, absolutely none. Her muscles are
just being eaten away," says Pat. "There's nothing left, and we keep explaining to her that her organs, her heart is a muscle, and that everything she's doing is just eating away at her entire body."

Aimee continues describing the effects of the disease. "When my potassium level drops, I get severe confusion, nausea, tiredness, my throat bleeds and I vomit. I'll occasionally break out in hives, a lot of rashes, a lot of dry skin, dry patches everywhere. I've lost my hair three times. It's really thin right now again. It's lost a lot of its coloring. It used to be a lot more blonde. It's more of a dull brown now. My eyes are always dry, and my vision's always very blurred," she says. She also thinks her teeth ar
e disgusting.

"At one time she had such gorgeous teeth," says her mother. "Gorgeous. Strong, and thick, and healthy and white. The stomach acid has totally eroded them away."

"Very painful, my teeth at times," says Aimee. "Very sensitive. I remember when I was a little girl my dentist had told me I have the most beautiful teeth. They were really rich in calcium and over the years " I won't even go to my dentist now."

Dr. Phil asks what Aimee is thinking.

"How hard it is to live this way," she says, tears welling in her eyes, "and how many lives it's destroyed. I feel a lot of guilt and a lot of shame. I can't make the thinking stop."

Turning to Pat, Dr. Phil says, "As a mother, what is your day like watching your daughter go through this?

"It's just tormenting, heartbreaking," she tells him. "It's like your daughter has been abducted by a serial killer, a rapist, someone who's torturing her day after day, after day, and we get to see it, and we can do nothing about it. It's just, it's torturous."

Aimee purges up to 150 times a day. "And you'll do it until you get blood, right?" Dr. Phil asks her.

"I'm satisfied if I start to have yellow bile," she says, "but the blood comes usually later on in the evening after I've taken my potassium, and if I can't keep the potassium down, then I throw that up. The potassium rips the esophagus as it comes up."


"Aimee, if you were to come into the E.R. today, I would be worried for your life," says Dr. Stork. "You're waging this war against your body that your body is eventually going to lose if you don't make changes."

"Do you know that your life hangs in the balance at this point?" asks Dr. Phil.

"Yeah, every day," she says.

Aimee believes the source of her disease can be traced back to her early childhood, when she was molested by some boys who were around the age of 17.

"And my dad told me that I was a really bad girl, and it was my fault. He told me not to tell my
mom because my mom wouldn't be able to handle the truth, that she would fall apart," she says.

Pat says, "When she told me what her dad had said, it made me angry, and so she kept that locked up inside."

"I started to cut my hands up with razors," Aimee recounts, "and I'd scratch my arms until they bled,
just trying to numb out all the pain. My thoughts became obsessive." By 13 or 14, she was showing signs of an eating disorder.

"As soon as she started high school, that's when she started over-exercising," says Pat. "She actually wore a hole through our living room carpet doing aerobics in front of the TV."

 

 

Dr. Phil stands with his arm around Aimee as they look at a picture of her in high school.


"Is that you?" he asks. "Tell me who you see there. Is that a grotesque person to you? Is that a beautiful young woman to you? What do you see here?"

"I was physically happy, but emotionally I was already a wreck," she says.

"How do you feel about that young girl?" asks Dr. Phil.

"Mad at her that she made some bad choices," she replies.

Dr. Phil asks, "Isn't it true that things were done to her that she didn't choose?"


"She still should have been stronger than what she did," says Aimee.

"What was done to her that she should have been stronger about?" asks Dr. Phil.

"My relationship with my dad, I should not have let it affect me so much," she says. "I should have gained my self-esteem and sense of self-worth from other things besides, 'Does my daddy love me?' and 'My daddy thinks I'm a bad girl,' and 'He blames me for being molested, and he blames me for everything that I do. He doesn't " ' She stops short, closes her eyes, arms wrapped around her from the cold.

Dr. Phil stands with his arm around Aimee as they look at a picture of her in high school.


"Is that you?" he asks. "Tell me who you see there. Is that a grotesque person to you? Is that a beautiful young woman to you? What do you see here?"

"I was physically happy, but emotionally I was already a wreck," she says.

"How do you feel about that young girl?" asks Dr. Phil.

"Mad at her that she made some bad choices," she replies.

Dr. Phil asks, "Isn't it true that things were done to her that she didn't choose?"


"She still should have been stronger than what she did," says Aimee.

"What was done to her that she should have been stronger about?" asks Dr. Phil.

"My relationship with my dad, I should not have let it affect me so much," she says. "I should have gained my self-esteem and sense of self-worth from other things besides, 'Does my daddy love me?' and 'My daddy thinks I'm a bad girl,' and 'He blames me for being molested, and he blames me for everything that I do. He doesn't " ' She stops short, closes her eyes, arms wrapped around her from the cold.