At the end of the year, it is only natural to reminisce. New millenium hype notwithstanding, most people think of where they have been and where they are going, of friends and family, present and past. Perhaps that is why I recently reviewed old passages of my mother’s diary. A long-term anorexic, she kept a meticulous account of her daily life throughout the 1970’s. It was written in shorthand, and I did not have it decoded until 1990, when I began researching the disorder. My experiences with this document began inauspiciously. A needless and bitter argument with the translator ended in my paying her three times what I had initially offered. To my surprise, much of the record was boring: endless details about chores, groceries and household items. At the time, I did not know that anorexics are notorious list-makers and that such entries were symptomatic of the illness. On the other hand, the insightful portions were exquisitely painful.Some may believe my decision to unearth the diary amounts to an invasion of privacy. In my opinion, any such violation is outweighed by the passage of time and the potential benefit to readers offered by this rare glimpse into the deepest recesses of a self-starver’s mind. At the request of her attending physician, my mother used her diary to keep detailed records of her medical condition (such as weight, blood pressure, and body temperature) during her last illness. Shortly after the original transcription was completed, I delivered the entire manuscript to the doctor’s office. However, before doing so, I had copied the older and more interesting entries reproduced below. Because this material can be depressing, I strongly suggest you read it when you are in a relatively good mood. At first glance, it may seem uniformly negative. However, closer inspection reveals the humanity of a spirited woman struggling against overwhelming forces. I shall have to seek further support in diaries as I am very weak. I allow the bad part of me to take over. Do you think there is a chance for me which I feel, as I have failed most? Please stay with me. Perhaps with your kindness I can…I hope my new psychologist can be of some help. I need all the support I can get. Today is one of my hungry days. Once I stay in one place or sit down, I am completely exhausted. I must take my life day by day. I hope I can control myself. Please, please God help me. Did you have everything you have so far? Can this go on much longer? I must have a stronger will and overcome. 62 ½ pounds. I told dad that I was not going to live very much more, and then I began to cry. Sorry I spoke to him like that, and I told him that I would try and get better…must find this evil in me more strongly. Forgive me God, nothing or anyone can help me now. It is strongly up to me. Amen. 11/18/72- I can’t sleep. I won’t sleep. [Later entries report chronic sleep disturbances and the ineffectiveness of sleeping pills.] 11/19/72- I’m completely out of hand now. 11/22/72- [There are recurring references to physical weakness and being on the verge of collapse. My mother notes that she was hospitalized on this date. 60 pounds. I must get me a tie for my son. Tomorrow I will do a wish. I wish my legs didn’t ache, but I can talk it away. I think I will exist now by habit for my son only.[My mother had not lived with my father and I since 1969.] I was irritable with my son today. I must try to be more tolerant of him. I felt more beaten than I have in a long time. Have grapefruit juice during night, and dolite, and tranquilizer. – 70 pounds. Thank God for getting me through this day. 12/9/72- I am fighting a lost cause. Don’t help me. I am getting weaker every day. Trying to fight. 12/12/72- Tried to know my child but no, no. Thank you, God, for keeping me alive even though I am worthless. 12/15/72- God, I am not worth your forgiveness. I have two hostile roommates. [She notes that her belly and ankles are very swollen.] 12/16/72- I want to live. Today I blew up at my son and my husband. [My parents were not officially divorced until 1974]. My rudeness, my behavior was unbearable, but I could forgive me.- The doctors made an appointment for me to go into the hospital, but I put it off until next week. I have a lot to do before I go in. My mother died on February 2, 1978. She had been suffering from anorexia nervosa for over 10 years.