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A Decade Worth of Bulimia

I've been bulimic for nearly a decade. And it was that thought itself that made me stumble upon this website. Sitting one morning, still puffy faced and irritable from a night spend binging, purging and drinking at the same time, I realized (and not for the first time) this thing is way out of control.

I became bulimic at the age of 12. I was always a husky child and loved food, cooking, baking and everything in between. Growing up in a large family where food was sufficient but never lavish and a strict health food policy maintained, I quickly learned that when something delectable passed by I needed to eat as much as possible or hoard it in fear of never getting to eat something like that again.

It was a pretty gradual process at first. I was actually looking for a cheat-diet that would magically make me drop those stubborn pounds. Growing up in Asia where everywhere you turn slim, lithe and beautiful women abound, it's easy to feel like that giant whale in the room. Add to that the unique cultural fact of the country I lived in was that telling someone they were fat (or sometimes "Big like a hippo") was considered kind humor and not offensive in the slightest.

So I ended up discovering anorexia and bulimia recovery stories in women's health magazines. I was intrigued, and for all the wrong reasons. Reading those stories all I could focus on was where they talked about their rapidly slimming bodies. I rarely read down to the parts that talked about the bleeding mouth, eroded teeth or frayed nerves.

I tried it myself, almost as a science experiment. I was afraid at first that some terrible ill would befall me and so would purge without having actually 'binged' and never more than 2-3 days apart. The trouble was, with my body undergoing that dreaded hormonal change, I was actually gaining more weight then ever. Also, I was finding that the urge to have a B-day (my version for when I didn't have to watch what I was eating or what my food intake was) was coming more and more frequently.

And that just kept going. I would diet strictly for a couple of days (my longest was 10 full days without binging or purging), subsisting on a few packets of instant coffee, a little piece of fruit + 3-4 hours of rigorous exercise a day. My goal was always to loose weight, and I rarely did since after 3-4 days of extreme dieting I would always fly face first into a blur of binging and purging which would last almost as long as my 'successful' diet, comforting myself with the fact that "It's ok, I'll just starve myself for a few days and loose weight again."

Eventually my hormones evened out and I settled down to a normal weight. That still wasn't enough for me, and I continued with my off-and-on dieting, always accompanied by binging. Even at my skinniest stage where I was starting to get worried with my lack of energy, a quick binge always put me right back on 'track', as then I would tell myself that I had overeaten, and therefor needed to diet for a day to make up, and so on.

At the time I was a teacher, and on bad days would be eating around the clock, non stop, at the same time teaching a class. I would stock my desk with crisps, cookies, pies and cakes and surreptitiously slip them in my mouth when no one was looking. I'm ashamed to say that my lowest point was filching snacks out of my own students backpacks because I had started on a binge and was determine to stuff myself to the top so that I could purge.

Long story short we've arrived to the point I'm at now. I have a successful job, active social life and a loving boyfriend. And none of them know. I'm sure my boyfriend suspects as it's hard to hide all the evidence, especially as often as I binge at night. I've managed to eat normally during the day (sometimes) but always at night and at home, I'll eat enough to empty the refrigerator of days worth of food. It doesn't matter how many pep talks I give myself, how many food diaries I start and how many motivational quotes I hang in front of my face--it always goes back to that needed to stuff my stomach and throw it all out before I go to sleep.On really bad days I'll occasionally have a "daylight binge" and that finds me eating around the clock, non-stop. I'll even be thinking of eating something else as I'm purging. And I'll go through great lengths to purge. Since my apartment is small and the bathroom is very visible, I'll make excuses to go out for an errand, work out at the gym, anything that gets me outside and to the nearest restroom facility. I carry perfume, wet wipes and toothbrush with me at all times to hide what I really do in the bathroom.

Its out of control.

And I've finally, finally come to terms with it.

Stumbling on to Shaye's blog feels like a huge relief. Its a very, very hidden, secret thing for me and I know it will take time before I'm ready to go through all 10 steps of recovery.

But just knowing that it is possible, and I'm not the only one, is worth something.

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program