When people ask 16-year-old Maris Degener why she was hospitalized for three weeks at the age of 13, she sometimes tells them it was a “heart thing” or because of dehydration. The truth carries a deeper mental and physical pain: It was anorexia.
“I associate it with not knowing who I was or what I wanted to do,” Degener said. “I wasn’t the artsy kid or the sporty kid. I was just there and it spiraled into looking for perfection and control. The irony is that it almost took away my chance to live.”