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Do I have bulimia? I need help!

by Mary
(QLD)

Hi everyone I'm 19 years old and live in QLD Australia with my parents and younger brother (16). I first had body image issues when I was 6. I worried obsessively about the way I looked. I felt ugly and wished I was prettier. When I was 11 I was getting undressed in front of the mirror one day. I noticed how big my tummy and thighs were. 'you're overweight and there's no running away from that' a voice inside me said. I was mortified. I suddenly felt like I hated myself so much I couldn't stand it. I'd always felt very insecure as a child but this was breaking point. I know now that I wasn't really 'fat' at all, but living in a 'slim' family I was very sensitive about being the 'biggest'. Growing up my family had made various comments about how much I ate etc. I was the kind of kid who was extremely active and loved food. My younger brother was much slimmer. Being a physically sick child he'd always received more attention and care. But me, being the healthy one, was also expected to be strong and not complain. My parents loved me, but I just didn't feel they accepted me. I cut back on meals and lost heaps of weight. Mum noticed and she got really worried. At first I welcomed this attention. It spurred me on to lose more weight. After a while though Mum became more and more frantic and I was desperate to gain weight just to keep her off my back. I achieved this within a month. I gained X kilos and continued to put on weight. This was just after I turned 12. Unfortunately that wasn't the end of my anorexic/eating disordered behaviour.... Over the next few years my weight fluctuated. I remained fairly skinny. Often I got too thin and Mum would implore me to gain weight or lament over how thin and 'awful' I looked. However, the real problem wasn't do much my weight anymore, but my increasing dependence on food and food rituals. I began really obsessively counting calories, worrying about how full/hungry I was, and what I ate and when. My family relationships and social life became stale. I began to isolate myself more and more. I didn't need people anymore. Food was my new best friend. Dinner became one of the meals where I'd eat a lot. I'd restrict my calories during the day so I could eat more while watching tv that night. All day I'd think about dinner and what I'd eat! Food was taking over my life! I was homeschooled throughout high school. Despite being part of various activity groups I didn't have friends to distract me from my growing obsessions. I also became quite a high a achiever. I was always busy with schoolwork, chores, novel writing, dancing etc. I seemed to excel in everything but I was never satisfied with myself. I began feeling increasingly angry and frustrated with myself. I tried self harm but felt so horrible about it I couldn't bear to do it anymore. At 15 I enrolled in 'diploma in children's services' (child care) at Tafe. My weight plummeted. I looked emancipated. I developed extreme exercise routines, sometimes between 2-3 hours a day. I was so obsessive I hated sitting down doing nothing for more than 5 mins! If I did I would gain weight! I started timing myself when completing general chores e.g washing up. If I took longer than I allowed myself I'd get frantic, call myself fat slow and lazy and hate myself intensely. I started getting really tense all the time. I could never relax! Always afraid that I would get lazy and gain weight. It was hell! If I thought I'd wasted too much time I'd skip the next meal to make up for the calories I should've but didn't burn! Now I realise this was a form of obsessive compulsive disorder. But being only 15 at the time I had no idea. I was still eating heaps at night, and looking forward to dinner was what got me through each day. I was basically living to eat. Mum noticed how thin I was around this time. She wrote a menu up which included foods I couldn't bear to eat. Of course I didn't stick to it. I lied and tried all sorts of tricks to get out of eating those foods. My relationship with Mum got really bad. We were fighting every week. Life became awful :(. At 16 I decided I was tired of anorexia. I was going to be healthy and normal. I hated the way I'd become. I hadn't hit puberty yet and I was scared I'd become infertile. Well after a agonising week of force feeding myself my fear foods I gained weight. I was really proud of myself. That was mostly the end of anorexia but not ed :( my obsessions over food only increased, as did my obsession with time, and my OCD. I would be cooking dinner, hurrying and hurrying cos I couldn't waste one min. It was driving me crazy! I was so stressed all the time. At 17 I graduated from Tafe with my diploma and enrolled in a teaching degree at Uni. Before Uni started I decided I was going to break my time and food obsessions and become 'normal'. Well not so easy as I soon found out :( I realises I has no idea how to do things normally without racing. I was so frustrated with myself. I hated myself for it. During my first semester of Uni I got great results. My obsessiveness drove me to overachieve. Halfway through the year I developed panic attacks. It felt like death but they only lasted a week thankfully. By the time I was 18 I got really serious about overcoming my fears and obsessions about time and calories consumptions. Over the summer break, after my first year of Uni, I tried spending more time with family. I wants to feel human again and stop turning to food, obsessions and achievements for comfort. It worked. I gained weight, got curves. I learnt to relax and my relationships improved. My social life became far more satisfying. I was getting out and doing things more. I didn't completely let go of my calorie obsessions but I was much improved. Food and weight control was no longer a goal. I had a much richer healthier perspective. Then things got bad again...
Continued in comments...

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