I need to know the number that's made me beautiful.
I change into my workout clothes and go to the gym. I turn up the music and run on the treadmill till everything feels worse and then feels better.
You didn't get rid of it all, says the voice in my head. You're getting fat right this minute. You can't exercise away those kinds of calories.
I make myself do another half hour on the treadmill. What happened this afternoon wasn't a breakdown. My willpower is still there.
Panting, I drag myself back into the locker room to change back into my street clothes. The women's locker room is empty, so I let myself step onto the scale and read the number.
Is that right? Is that really right?
I read the number again.
That's the best I've ever done!
That's not so great. You could do better, mutters the voice in my head.
Everyone thinks you're a big fat fake.
Seventeen-year-old Elena has a voice in her head that tells her what she needs to do in order to be perfect: Put on her makeup. Be charming and poised. Make top grades. Work two or even three jobs. And never, ever eat.
You're an out-of-control, binge-eating whore.
This is the voice she calls her conscience. And listening to it just might kill her.
As Elena's body starts to break down and she goes from one hospital to another, she comes to understand that her inner voice is her greatest demon. And in order to defeat it, she will have to face a secret she's hidden for years.
This is the story of a girl whose armor against anxiety is artillery against herself, a girl battling on both sides of a lose-lose war, a girl struggling with anorexia nervosa. Cowritten with her mother, award-winning author Clare B. Dunkle, Elena's memoir is a fascinating and intimate look at a deadly disease, and a must-read for anyone who wants to understand this dangerous disorder.