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Bulimia - my worst enemy

by Em

This is the first time I’ve posted on this site, and to be frank, I don't even know where to begin. Bulimia has become my everyday. It has been going on for so long that it has taken over, and I have lost myself to it.

It all really started two and a half years ago (although I do have memories of having some bulimic tendencies before that when I was around 13 or 14) I was 16 years old and I was beginning an exchange student program in the States. Before coming to America, I was a tall and skinny girl. I had always been used to eating big amounts of food without really gaining any weight and therefore food wasn't really a problem for me. However, when I had been living in the states for a couple of months, I noticed that my pants didn't fit me as well as they too - the kilos were basically creeping up on me.

This was of course because the food was a lot different than what I was used to. Back in Denmark I wasn't used to eating ice cream and cake every night for desert. And because I , back home, normally ate whatever and as much as I liked, of course I did that here too, except back at home we only ate ice cream in the weekends, here we ate it every night. On top of that I had doughnuts for breakfast and pizza for lunch (something I would have never had in Denmark)- no wonder I gained weight, right?

The weight gain made me miserable, so far away from home and the only thing I could accomplish was to get fatter and fatter. so I remembered once in 6th or 7th grade I had written a small paper on bulimia in school, and I thought, ‘Hey! That’s something that I could do’. So I did it, at first it was only once in a while, but soon I would come home from school and just go nuts; emptying everything I could find in the kitchen. And it would always end with me purging. In the beginning I found it easy to throw up, but somehow it got harder and harder and If I had done it too many days in a row I wouldn't be able to throw up everything that I had just eaten. I think this was my body’s way of trying to stop me. Instead it made me even more depressed – it made me feel even fatter. I began waking up and thinking ‘This is the last time I'm doing this’ but guess what, the next day we would be having cake for dessert and I couldn't help my self.

I think I at some point managed to be clean for about 2 months but in March 2009, I was really bad. It ended with my host mom finding out about it, I was sent to all these doctors (no therapist though, since I convinced everyone that I had only been doing it for two weeks, because I was frustrated with my weight) I remember how I had to write home to my mother in Denmark and tell her about it. I was up all night, and when I had finally pressed, "send" I was terrified. Terrified that she might look at me differently, terrified of how she would treat me, ashamed of what she might think of me and nervous of the fact that she might not be able to understand - But she was very understanding, and we skyped a whole lot about it. However I did not tell her how serious it had been. Just told how frustrated I was with my weight and that I just wanted to be skinny again, and because my host family didn't have any healthy food, I would eat theirs but throw it up because it was so greasy. I actually made it sound very normal and understandable. If she had only known how obsessed I was with it, I think she would have booked a flight home for me.

I had 3 months left of my exchange and I was so embarrassed that I told myself I was never going to binge and purge again, but I still wanted to lose weight. And I did, I lost a lot of weight. I ran 5 -10 miles every other day, I only ate fruit, vegetable and meat, nothing dairy and nothing too fatty. I actually think I became anorexic, but I wasn't happy, I was constantly worried that I would gain weight, So whenever I went running, I had to run just a little longer, just to burn off does last calories. I am 5'10, and ended up weighing around 60 kilos (I had been up around 80 kilos). I came back to Denmark, and thought "now I don't have to watch my weight, because I didn't do that before I was on exchange", but instead of just eating normal I started eating a lot, and one day I binged again, I told myself ‘I'll purge but only this once, only this once’. I felt so guilty afterwards, but at the same time I was relived, the food was out of my body, and it had been fast and easy.

I started doing it more and more often. And it just went on and on and on..... I did have months where I didn't do it at all, and then I would relapse again. I would have weeks where I only binged, but was too quilty to purge, so instead I just gained weight. My self-esteem was way low, and every time I walked by a mirror I would feel sick and disgusted with my self.

I often thought, now this really has to stop, but I just couldn't . I would read all these posts about rotting teeth and other side effects of bulimia to try and scare myself from doing it again, but it was like something was taking over my mind, and all rational thought would disappear- the only thing mattering would be eating and throwing up.

One day I went to one of these online forums to try and get help, I basically wrote everything I've just written. I just wanted somebody to tell me how to stop. I just wanted somebody to talk to. But for the first couple of days no one answered, (which, for some reason, made it a lot worse) Then one day this person wrote that I was going to die if I didn't stop and that I was sick and that I needed to tell someone. I was so upset and ashamed. I had gone to the website, so someone else could tell me how to get through it, I wasn't planning on telling my parents, so this just felt like another let down, and I never went to that site again. Thought I would just fix it myself. But I just couldn't stop.

It kept on going. These last couple of months have actually been the worst, I can barely remember what I've been doing, It's like one big fog of eating, school, eating, throwing up, eating some more, feeling sad, ugly, disgusting, and constant mood swings. I then, a month ago, decided to tell my mother. She said that she would help me through this, and the first week after went fine, but then she just though that I was okay, and stopped watching over me that much, and the fridge was still filled with all the food that makes me relapse, (My mothers argument for this is, that I’ll have to learn not to respond to my urge to binge, and because there are others in the family who needs butter, cheese etc, therefore I’ll have to learn to ignore that it’s there) . Well, I’m not fine. My mother told me she would pay for a therapist, but she never really held me accountable for calling one, so it wasn't until yesterday that I made myself call one. She was however very busy and doesn't have time for me until April 26th.

So I have 6 weeks until I am going to see her, and I have been clean since this Wednesday. Yesterday, and today were good days, (that's what I call it when I am actually happy and not binging or purging.) But what if I wake up tomorrow or Monday, and they are not good days? What do I do then? I'm just so afraid that I will do it again, because I have waken up so many mornings and thought, "today is the day, Today is the day of a new beginning, and I am never going to do it again". What if now is just one of those moments?

I hope this wasn't too long and boring :)
- Em

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program