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Falling Apart From the Inside Out

by Alex

Hi, my name is Alex. I am 17 years old, and have suffered from bulimia and anorexia for 5 very long years. I don't really remember when I started to hate myself...I must have been about 6 or 7 years old. When I was 5, we moved in with my now exstepfather. He sexually abused and molested me from age 5 till I was almost 10 years old, when we left him. He would smack me and my little brother around, didn't keep alot of food in the house, forced my mom to quit her job. He would "massage" my whole body, he would finger me and preform cunninglis on me and would force me to touch him and as I got older, maybe around 7, he would force me to preform oral sex on him. It shattered me as a little girl. He would tell me that I was fat, ugly, worthless, and only thin little girls were beautiful, smart, and attractive, that nobody would love me. So, at age 8, I began to binge to make myself as big as possible so he would stop hurting me. I hated him.

Before this, I was about 4'0 and maybe X pounds. After, by the time I was 8 and 1/2, I was 4'2 and around X pounds. I was a fat child. And my mom, grandmother, and stepfather were cruel about it. But my weight kept rising. I just didn't want him to hurt me anymore. By the time I was 11 years old, I was 4'9 and X pounds. Fat. Ugly. Worthless. I was away from my stepdad, but nobody knew what had happened to me or how it had destroyed me inside. I hated the fat, ugly girl I had become. I decided I needed to become thinner.

Right before I turned 12, I started to restrict my food. Three months later, I was 4'11 and only X pounds. People complimented my weightloss, and I started to restrict even more. I was finally being called beautiful. I dropped to X pounds within the next two months, by the end of December. I was 5'0, and hated myself so much for being fat, ugly, worthless, unloveable. I was taking care of my younger siblings, earning As and Bs in school, was trying, but not good enough. I started to cut myself. A month later, I was 5'0 and X pounds. One of my friends talked some sense into me and I began to eat again. By my 13th birthday, I'd managed to get back up to X pounds. I still thought I was fat and ugly. I still hated myself. All through 8th grade, I bounced between eating uncontrollably and starving myself, teetering between X and X pounds. I hated it. I hated me.

The summer between my 8th and 9th grade year, my abusive exstepfather got custody of my youngest brother, James. It destroyed me. I realised if I'd spoken up, tried to tell what had happened to me, I could've protected him. It. Was. MY. Fault. I stopped eating. I went from X to X in a month, still at 5'0. I'd stunted my growth from the earlier anorexia. I would never grow any taller. I discovered how to purge. Because I was 14, at a boarding school, it was easy to get away with. I would eat enormous amounts of food, then throw it all up. There were days I didn't eat anything at all. I got down to X pounds that November, when I was hospitalized. I spent 3 months of 9th grade in and out of the hospital because of an unknown stomach problem and severe dehydration. Eventually, they misdiagnosed my bulimic ulcers as ovarian cysts and I went up to X pounds at 5'0, age 14. I cried. I thought I was so fat, too fat. I wanted to kill myself. By this time, I was restricting all week, and binging and purging about 3 or 4 times a week.

I moved down to Florida the summer between 9th and 10th grade, turned 15, started a new school. I struggled hard with cutting, and dropped from X to X pounds at 15 after being in a severe accident that caused me to be in a wheelchair for a month. I looked sickly thin. I lost a lot of muscle mass and had to have small-scale facial reconstructive surgery. I was in physical therapy for 5 months. My at the time boyfriend supported me for everything...and turned me into my mom for my bulimia. She screamed at me, hit me, and forced me to eat under her careful supervision. I know now it was because she cared but I was so so angry. I went up to X pounds. Enter junior year, age 16. My mom had forced me to break up with that boyfriend a few months back because of stupid reasons, and throughout that year I was homeschooled, moved across the country 4 times, eventually ending up back in Florida homeless. I was scared and alone. I tried to keep my grades up, be the perfect daughter, and stop purging. I ended up at X and hating myself again. I couldn't handle all the stress and various pressure being put on me. I started to throw up again.

Within two months, I was back down to X pounds. By summer, X. I was restricting, binging, and purging every day. Sometimes 4 or 5 times a day. It was bad. It'd been bad, really bad before, but this time I cranked it up to a whole new level. I didn't care about being careful anymore. I'd throw up anywhere; public toilets, the gym, the store, my friend's house, a container under my bed while my family watched tv in the next room over, plastic bags in my bedroom at night, outside in the backyard. Everywhere. I would exercise all the time at night in my room or at the gym.

My mom moved us to New York. I didn't want to go. I'd been seeing my ex boyfriend on the sly, and the two of us were so so close..we loved each other, still do. Neither of us has seriously dated since each other sophmore year. In New York, the guy she was with was strict, and really weird about controlling the food in the house. As a bulimic...he called me out really quick. At age 17, 5'0 and X pounds I was far from "fat", but was supposedly "eating like a fat person". He called me out on my bulimia two weeks after moving in. I was pissed. I started throwing up away from the house to hide it, or only in a container while I was in the shower, that I would empty into the toilet. I dropped to X pounds. My mom forced me to tell her what was wrong. I told her, finally, about my exstepdad, and she made me turn him in to the police. It was so hard...and then they talked to him. I had to talk to him on the phone. He took and passed a polygraph..and everybody called me a liar. I hated everybody. At this time, I was also in competitive cheerleading as a flyer, attending a school I hated, going to parties I shouldn't have been going to, and experimenting with drinking. I was taking care of my younger siblings, staying away from home as much as possible, working, and trying to do well in school.

This passed November 5th, I was raped at one of those parties I shouldn't have been attending. Prior to this..I was a virgin. I'd been saving my virginity for my future husband, or at least someone that I really loved so it would be special. At 5'0 and X pounds, even at the age of 17, I was easily overpowered. Right after it happened, a friend realized my my new "stepbrother" (my moms bfs son) had left me at the party alone and dissapeared with his girlfriend. He took me to his was 2am. We were both still intoxicated. I wanted to erase what had just happened to me. I had sex with one of my friends to erase the trauma. I'd been fine until then. I hadn't broken down. But after, my stepbrother Andrew called and came and got me. It was 2:30 in the morning. He took me home where I fell apart and cried at the kitchen table. I was interrogated and told the whole story to my mom, her boyfriend, Andrew and his girlfriend who pulled it out of me. They didn't believe me, wouldn't take me to the hospital, and abused me for 3 hours until finally, I was allowed to go to bed.

The next morning, my mom helped me pack my car to get out of the situation. She told me she loved me, was sorry, and sent me down to live with my grandmother in Florida. Less than 8 hours after my rape, I was driving across the country to leave a painful past behind me.

Ever since I got here, I've pretended to be okay. And for awhile I wasn't. I was really hurting. I threw up at least 8 times a day, binging and purging. I started going to counseling. And 2 months later, I'm starting to be okay again. My grades have risen from C's and Ds to As and Bs. I'm starting a new job soon and I am starting to throw up less, maybe 2 or 3 times a day. I've gotten up to about X pounds. I'm trying to learn to love myself. My New Year's Resolution is to leave my past behind me, stop cutting, stop purging, and stop blaming myself for things out of my control. I've made alot of mistakes and I'm not perfect. I still throwing up all the time and am taking diet pills. But I'm trying. God still loves me and sees my heart. All I can do is try my best to hold on and get through.

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program