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Dear Shaye and Friends

by Jane

I never thought I'd be writing a letter like this, although I once wrote a similar one to my consultant after receiving treatment about ten years ago...I never sent the letter, I kept it for five years and then one day threw it away in case anyone found it.

I was 15 when I first made myself throw up. I was a very happy child and had a very happy childhood. Although I was bullied at school for being overweight, it didn't bother me that much I always tended to look on the bright side of life. I was told by the doctor that I should lose weight before I got ill, I was 10 years old. My Mom asked the dinner ladies to help at school and the pudding lady always saved me a yoghurt every day. I started running after school, took dance lessons and my main hobby was horse riding so I was always active. I still say to this day it was just puppy fat and as I grew up my body slimmed and I was a very healthy and active young teenager and enjoyed my food.

At lunchtime one day at secondary school, my friend approached me and asked me if I had ever made myself throw up to lose weight. I told her "no", I was quite naive and didn't understand what she meant, she told me but I thought she meant eating so much that you would naturally be sick. I went home that very night and intrigued by the idea of doing something in secret behind my parents back I took two boxes of Mr Kipling's cakes from the cupboard and ate them both. However, I didn't feel sick (I had a good appetite!). When I finally understood what she meant and did it, it was horrible: the taste of vomit in my mouth, feeling exhausted, puffy eyes, sore throat etc. But for some reason it didn't stop me.

My family knew what I was doing but we are a family that keeps things quiet and never talk about things like this. My sister used to use it against me and embarrass me in front of friends and family. I always denied it and I used to feel so betrayed by her and sometimes wish that I would get ill just so that she could feel bad for never having helped me.

I am now 33 years old, I have lived with bulimia for 18 years. I tried to tell my doctor once but she told me she didn't have time to talk about such things and I would need to schedule another appointment with her. Feeling completely ashamed and embarrassed I didn't book another appointment.

Meeting my boyfriend was the turning point in my life. I met my boyfriend 7 years ago. He is an avid gym goer and is currently training for strong man events. Although I was always into fitness I had not gone back to the gym for years, then he invited me to his gym. Training properly was hard at first and although my boyfriend does not know this, he was the main reason for my recovery at that point. I started with very small meals and no meat as I couldn't digest it, but as the months passed and the longer I didn't throw up I was able to eat more and train harder. Although there were times when I would binge it would only be for a month or two out of the year.

I was feeling better as each year passed, my career was also blossoming. I made a decision to accept a promotion at work and for the last 14 months have sufferred from bullying by my manager. It didn't take long into the new role for me to start bingeing again. I had to sit next to my manager everyday and the only thing that seemed to help the anxiety and dealing with her was to eat. For the last 14 months I have been throwing up regularly again. 6 weeks ago I was written off work with anxiety and depression and sufferring from hypertension. I know this has gone on too long and have started sufferring with chest pains...I also have IBS and a skin condition called Rosecea which I believe are related to my bulimia. I am hoping this is where my recovery begins again...and hopefully this time forever.

I have made an appointment with a counsellor in 2 weeks and booked myself a health assessment. I have never told anyone my story and to be honest ths is the most scariest thing I have ever done in my life. I miss the happy go lucky girl I used to be who didn't overthink everything and who used to think anything was possible.

I am so glad I found your website, thank you for your help and support. I am currently a full time student studying Psychotherapeutic Counselling. I would love to be able to help others like me one day when I qualify.

Thanks for taking the time to read my letter.


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

The Bulimia Recovery Program