DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A Dallas woman who is struggling to survive an eating disorder says social media needs to do more to stop those using it to promote the deadly disease.
Manda Welch, 32, is sharing her battle against anorexia, an eating disorder that for her, started when she was a child.
“At 6 years old I gave up chocolate milk and croutons,” said Welch.
It’s hard for her to remember her life before dieting, starvation and anorexia.
‘It didn’t get bad until middle school,” she said. “I was miserable. I was going about seven days with nothing but maybe a cup of water a day.”
Now, she is bringing to light what she calls a disturbing trend.
People on Instagram and other social media sites not only offer advice and tips for starving, but have even tried to lure her into relapsing.
The 5’7″ woman from Dallas weighed 89 pounds only a few years ago and remains in treatment while getting healthier.
She is taking part in a public awareness campaign to bring attention to the growing number of social media profiles showing emaciated young women who are trading ideas for starving themselves and promoting the euphoria that they say comes with it.
Some social media platforms like Instagram and tumblr are putting up warnings before allowing access, but Welch wants to see more done to prevent others from heading down the same dark path she did from what are called pro-ana social media profiles.
“They contributed a lot they were the inspiration,” said Welch. “If I got hungry, I could get on Instagram and look at these pages and see people telling me you can keep pushing forward you can do it just a couple more hours.”
Welch sids she fortunate to have a strong support system because she’s had to block people on Instagram she interacted with who are still encouraging her to starve herself again.
“I’m doing really well,” she said. “In my eating disorder, I didn’t want to live and now I’m grateful for every day I wake up.”
Welch is also promoting the Something for Kelly Foundation which is dedicated to the memory of a young anorexia victim and raises money for research.