Excerpt: Ralph Lauren's Niece on Eating Disorders

After battling anorexia and bulimia for years, Jenny Lauren — the niece of fashion icon Ralph Lauren — began experiencing a new illness that litterally brought her to her knees. Meanwhile, a series of doctors told her it was all in her head.

In her new book, Homesick, Lauren gives a first-person account of her journey to find the cause of her paralyzing illness and how it related to her lifelong battle with food and her own body image.

Chapter 1: Twitch

This twitch is driving me crazy. It's 1997, I am twenty-four years old, and for a year I have been in physical discomfort. That is 365 days with my butt twitching and an inability to contract my gluteus maximus muscles. Three hundred and sixty-five days with bugs up my a--, 365 days of wanting to jump out the window, 365 days watching the entire lower half of my body turn into jelly and atrophy. This is a sick joke.

Now, understand, it is with these muscles that women often feel sexy. The tight squeeze, the swaying of hip to hip, the alignment of the pelvis and the flattened stomach are what gives a woman so much strength to conquer the day. Losing this sensation is basically losing my connection to any kind of sensuality. So it doesn't surprise me that the depression I've often suffered from has become stronger and more unbearable this past year. Of course, this darkness, my old and dear friend, has led to the recurrence of my bulimic symptoms and to the deterioration of my emotional self.

You might say, especially if you are a psychiatrist, that it's my emotional fears, depression, feelings about my sexuality, past disappointments, and all that crap that have caused my building to collapse. I will not deny this. My coping skills are far worse than they were, but after a year (and, yes, I am as bored with this as my world-famous neurologist suggested I ought to be), I am at my wit's end. I'm trying so hard not to lose my mind, but I'm very aware that my power to intellectualize and make any sense of this is descending rapidly. I've tried to become as spiritual as possible; I've always believed in the mystical and magical journey through life, but after such pain, I need a tangible answer. I used to be able to heal myself from my depression. I learned how to use my body to ward it off, with vigorous runs, enlightened yoga, and techno-electric-charged race walks. Only, now I can't do any of that. And without that, my mind is not getting enough juice, and my creative soul, the one that carries the nervous depression and adrenaline out of me, is utterly blocked.

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