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7 years and counting...

My battle with Bulimia began when I was 16...Aged 14, I fell head over heels in (lust!) with a boy in 6th year named Sean...I was a young schoolgirl at this time..he never so much as glanced in my direction!Fast forward two years, I was 16 and out with my friends in a nighclub..we ended up kissing and going back to a houseparty together..Of course it felt like all my Christmases had came at once..finally getting the boy of my dreams. From an early age I've always used food as a comfort.I remember stealing and devouring full packets of biscuits form the kitchen press and eating second and third helpings of dinner...when I was 7!

I have always had body issues, began dieting when I was 14..would each 2 bowls of cereal and an apple most days..then spiral into a binge...ergo, I was always a bit on the chubbier side despite the criticisms I faced from my marathon running, 6 pack owning MOTHER!

Back to my story..

I had planned to go out with friends and meet Sean again the following Saturday...I felt so fat and ugly, he could get any girl he wanted(he was known as the school heartthrob!) so how could I lose X pounds quick and easily before seeing him again?This was my only chance to make him off I went into the toilet..I gagged and gagged on my hand, but no use..the food was still inside..grabbed my toothbrush and rammed it back my throat...result.I had vomited up my bowl of branflakes...Roll on Saturday night..walked into the club to find Sean kissing a friend of a friend..seems so utterly stupid looking back, but I really was so upset and disgusted in myself for not being enough for him..

So began my 7 year battle with Bulimia...lost about X stone in 4th friends and parents became suspicious. Mom walked in on me puking in my Einsuite bathroom one evening..she rang the school and my teacher had no problem taking me aside in front of my whole class and telling me how stupid I was for doing such an unthinkable thing to myself, that I was so smart and pretty, everything going for me, the usual. Ran to the bathroom hysterical crying and ended up spilling my heart to my friends.

After this I was hospitalized for a parents were worried I had dehydrated myself and I'd noticed blood in my vomit on many occasions. Was referred to a Dietician who again lectured me on how stupid I was, that I was beautiful inside and out...the usual..The Doctor, being aware of my academic skills and my aspirations to become a vet or Doctor, chose not to write down that I was 'Bulimic' on my medical files...this was merely a 'stupid adolescent phase'..For approximately 3 weeks I stuck to the meal plans, but slowly and surely the little voice to binge and purge came back with a bitter vengeance..

I am an intelligent person. Highest class grades in my secondary school, 575 points in my leaving cert, (enough to become a doctor or vet as Id planned!)...awarded an entrance scholarships to study my course of choice at university, first class honour grades in all my university exams, passed my driving test first time round graduated with an honours degree in 2012. I am now a fully qualified Health Care professional about to start my first job in a few days..

I'm told each and everyday how much I have going for me...'stunning', 'great figure, 'brains', 'ambition'...But each and every good aspect of my life is haunted by this secret..

I have lost so many friends and memories to this awful disease..From stealing roomates food, hiding away from friends when I feel I've put on a few pounds..I literally go into spirals of depression where I don't talk or contact anyone for weeks on end..Lived with my friend and her boyfriend last year when I was on practice placement in a Palliative Care setting..even treating these dying patients wasn't enough to make me stop doing this to myself..If anything it exacerbated the binges, my time to get away and forget things..A few weeks after finishing this placement my friend, her Mother and her boyfriend drove to my house and told my parent they knew I was bulimic, they had heard me vomit numerous times each night and said I needed urgent help..

This was the final straw for my parents. We're going through financial problems at the minute, we lost our family home due to a bad investment in property, my Father has been in and out of hospital with stress and my Mother has lost her 'glow' and zest for life...

My parents confronted me the night before my 22nd birthday...Seeing the look in their eyes..disappointment, anger, disgust...but above all remorse and sympathy for their one and only daughter doing this to was the worst night of my life..I attended a university counsellor for 3 months following this..He was good and very helpful but excuse after excuse I STILL COULD NOT STOP TURNING TO FOOD..

I'm happy I binge, I'm sad I binge, I'm stressed I binge, I'm excited I binge, I'm worried I binge, I'm bored I binge...It's not so much the fact that I am using it to keep thin anymore..Im a size just really seems like it's a part of me now..I've grown up with it...It's my closest companion, always there when I need it...but it's also my worst enemy..

I know deep down I'm a good person...I've a good heart, great friends, an amazing and supportive family..but this disease makes me truly believe I'm nothing more than a pathetic, selfish, human dustbin...

I've lost out on so many memories from Bulimia..Secondary school is a blur, university was a blur...each and every life success and opportunity I'm bestowed is shadowed by thoughts of my next binge, where I'll eat, what I'll eat, where I'll puke how, I'll clean the puke and how I'll cover my tracks...Im 23 years old, I don't want to look back at my life when I'm 40 and cry over all the lost years..

I recently moved to the UK from Ireland to start a job..My parents believe I am now in recovery but my disease is worse than ever..Last night I reached my wits end and confided everything to my best friend..She encouraged me to write my story and share it with you. I know I'm not alone in fighting many other young girls and women are going through far worse ordeals than my measly story..

Shaye's website has been truly inspirational for me..I'm finally getting myself into the right frame of mind to tackle this once and for all..nail in the coffin..Thank you so much Shaye, you and the other people sharing their success stories on your site are my driving force and light of hope.

You're our guardian angel x

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Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community

The Bulimia Recovery Program