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A life between Bulimia and Anorexia

by Saz

My Anorexia and Bulimia Story

I was really thin and tall as a child. I was called lanky. It didn't bother me and I ate loads back then. I did every sport possible but only because I loved sport. Weight wasn't an issue at all.

My parents divorced when I was seven. My mother remarried two years later. After that I was alone. My mother and step father worked long hours and didn't have any time for me. They also started drinking heavily. I became very independent. The contact with my biological father gradually withered away and after two years I had no further contact with him.

As an adolescent we moved from one end of the country to the other. It was a big upheaval. I wasn't very confident in my new school and not one of the in-crowd but still loved sport, however, I made more enemies than friends because I was good at sport. I was an outsider and wasn't accepted. I still ate loads and ate what I wanted back then without even thinking and remained really thin.

When I was sixteen I started work. I was still long and thin. I got lots of compliments/envious remarks from the other older women there. At this point I realised for the first time I had an attractive figure and started to show it off and take an interest in clothes. I enjoyed the attention and compliments, especially from men. I wanted a relationship. I was alone in the world.

After a couple of years working, I did less sport and I started to put on weight. Food gradually became enjoyable instead of just fuel. I enjoyed eating and drinking and socialising. I wasn't overweight just a bit rounder.

I then had a stable relationship for five years until I was 21. I still ate everything without thinking and remained round but not fat.

After the stable relationship I had an uncertain time, followed by an unstable relationship that was very stressful and emotional. After that ended I felt lost and alone. I was desperate to find someone new. I had no family around me to support me. I figured I could lose a few pounds to make myself more attractive. I found out I was good at losing weight. I have a strong will and it gave me a kick and a positive feeling about myself. I also enjoyed the compliments. To keep this good feeling I went further and further. Then I started getting comments that people were
concerned that I was so thin. I liked that too. I wanted someone to be concerned about me, someone to care.

Eventually I got into a new relationship and my weight returned again to my round figure. When this relationship became unstable I fell again into losing weight. It gave me that good feeling and control over my life. It was at this stage of my life at the age of 23 I started with bulimia. The extreme weight loss had caused periods of bingeing which were compensated for with eating even less, which resulted in a binge. The vicious circle began. After difficulty with keeping this up the thought came in my head of vomiting. I tried it. It was easy. I thought then that I had found the miracle solution for eating what I wanted without gaining weight. How naive. My strict eating control remained and the Bulimia period lasted two years, however, infrequently, every couple of weeks or less.

When I again found a new relationship I moved jobs, house and to a different part of the country again and while I didn't want my partner to find out, the Bulimia stopped. I was then free for 5 years, although my weight was always an issue for me, I retained a healthy weight. It was easier to stop vomiting back then. I vomited only infrequently and while I had a totally new life I could start over again with a clean sheet. My partner was very controlling. I guess I was afraid to vomit in case he found out.

I then moved to another country with my partner. I had to learn a new language, culture, job, house. My partner was still very controlling and unsupportive - he isolated me from everyone. I became very depressed. It got to the point that I thought seriously about suicide, but instead plucked up the courage to leave him. There I was totally alone no friends or family in a foreign country where I could barely speak the language. I got through it and found myself a house and made some friends. I learnt the language very quickly, but also once again I lost lots of weight.

Losing weight is a coping mechanism for me. It gives me the control I need when the rest of my life is in chaos. The Bulimia stems from my Anorexia, it happens when my body is so starved it forces me to eat.

I became seriously underweight. This went on for a year. I was dangerously thin, I was ill and depressed. I lost my job through it. Luckily I found a new job reasonably quickly.

After a couple of short relationships and a year of starving myself I gave in to a binge and vomited again for the first time after 6 years of being free of Bulimia. After a year I realized it was out of control and I sought help. I had therapy for around 9 months, but it wasn’t very successful. I think a therapist can only give you the tools to help you but you have to really want to get better yourself.

Since that day. I have lived continuously with periods of Bulimia or Anorexia, that is 8 years now and I am now 40 years old. That means 18 years of either Anorexia or Bulimia.

After I met my husband we moved to yet another different country due to his work. My husband is fantastic. He has helped me tremendously. I had to again learn a new language, job, house etc. etc. and experience again the feelings of being an outsider. My self esteem is very low and I had a burn out about a year ago due to a very demanding and stressful job. I now take Medicine for depression and am again in therapy.

In the last 8 years the intensity of my bulimia has varied between 3 or 4 times daily to a couple of times a month. Usually when I stop with bulimia I fall back into Anorexia.

After a couple of intense weeks recently of bingeing and vomiting I became really ill. I was so tired, I had stomach ache, my esophagus and throat was so swollen that I could barely eat and I was vomiting blood. I have also had bad skin for years, my hair is thin, I have missed periods, Lanugo, muscle spasms, anemia and problems with my teeth.

That was the turning point for me. That was three weeks ago. I spent days working, researching on the internet and created a masterplan for my recovery. I have never been more determined and I feel more positive than ever that I can put this behind me and enjoy the rest of my life. My body can't take it anymore, I have no more chances left. I will die if I don’t stop now. When you reach 40 and have spent nearly half your life with an eating disorder you start to realize that life is short and you don’t get a second chance. I just want to enjoy life now with my husband.

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program