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First my gratitude.. then my bulimia story.

by Jess

Shaye, before I share my bulimia story I have to express how much of an inspiration you are!

This website has just been such a comfort to me and its so easy to read and understand. I love how open and honest you are about everything... and your story is just SO similar to mine. Most of what you've written about is an exact reflection of my experiences. I've been feeling so alone, so stuck... and I was wondering if I'd ever recover from this hell and get myself back on track again... but after discovering your bulimia recovery story its just given me so much hope. Thank you!!!! Xxx

My name is Jess and I'm 20. This is just a very brief story about my bulimia! I'll probably miss a lot out or forget to write things... but here goes:

My bulimia started when I was 13 - I'd just found out that my Grandma was suffering from cancer and was going to die and it triggered something within me. I just suddenly felt this huge void growing deeper and wider by the minute... and I started to stuff down food in an attempt to fill it I guess... To numb the pain and fear. I had been suffering from depression from the age of 11 and self harmed daily, so my self worth and body image was already terrible - but suddenly every time I looked in the mirror I just couldn't bear my reflection. I loathed myself, and now because I was eating so much, I started to gain weight and I became extremely conscious of it and it made me hate myself even more...

This is when I started to try throwing up my food... but it was difficult. I couldn't get the hang of it.. So I started exercising compulsively... taking laxatives... counting calories, etc etc. and to cut a long story short it developed into anorexia and I suffered with that for about 3-4 years. Then when I was 16, I guess I just snapped and I started eating. A LOT. I just ate and ate and ate... Food I loved, food I hated, uncooked food, stale food, food out of the bin... you name it, I ate it...

Of course, the weight gain freaked me out so I decided to try being sick again... and this time, I don't know how or why, but it just worked. I just suddenly discovered how to make myself sick without even using my fingers or anything - I could just throw up whenever I wanted. It made it so EASY. I could eat whatever I wanted without gaining weight! At first I thought it was fantastic!... It was exciting that after starving myself for so many years I could eat whatever I desired... and it was my own little secret. It was MINE!

...but after a while, I realized it wasn't mine anymore, I was it's. I wasn't in control - it was in control of me. Everyday was just a huge binge/purge session. I would go out, spend A LOT of money on food, come home and eat it all. (I can't believe how much money I've wasted... it's scary).

I was alone most of the time so I was able to be sick whenever I needed to be.. but whenever I was with other people I'd do whatever it took to be sick without anyone noticing. I'd go in the shower and throw up, put all the taps on in the bathroom while I was being sick, throw up in bags, tins, cups, god knows what else!).. and then hide it until I had a chance to get rid of it. I would even drive into the woods to be sick... Or to apartment stores so I could use their toilets. And if I had to be with people I would pretend I was ill and just throw up in front of them etc... I really thought I was going crazy.

I was being sick at least 10 times each day. I would then exercise like crazy each day to burn of any calories I may have digested... and I'd try to have days where I wouldn't eat anything at all to try and lose weight (but of course, it didn't last an hour - let alone a whole day!)

At first, I couldn't see or feel any effects... but as time went by I realised how much it was hurting my body. It scared me, it still does. I've had constant chipmunk cheeks since I was 16... I find it sad that I haven't seen my real face for over 4 years... I can't wait for the day where I look in the mirror and see myself, not my bulimia, looking back at me. I get all the typical symptoms of bulimia now... My heart palpitates, I feel so dizzy and ill most of the time... etc etc, the list is too long... and I've just reached the point where I know I HAVE to do something. (Reading about all your advise about the effects of bulimia has helped me SO much- thank you) x

Bulimia just totally ruined all of my relationships...(friends, family and boyfriends.) I've not been able to get a job... My dreams seem to have been put on hold... My whole live just revolves around my eating disorder. I HATE IT. I can't understand why I can't let it go when I so badly want to...

So, I'm still suffering with bulimia... But I'm trying hard to be positive. I'm just taking one day at a time and trying to focus on my goals instead of wasting all my time pointing out every imperfection I have to myself in the mirror. My family knows about it now so I have their support..(which has helped ALOT) and my awareness of my problem is so much clearer. I definitely know that I want to be free from it - I know it will take time.. I know I will probably always have worries about my weight and food etc.. but I will beat bulimia. I WILL...

Knowing you beat it too has given me a huge boost in my recovery. :) I can't thank you enough. No doubt I'll continue to refer back to what you've written when I'm having a bad day.

I'll write on here again when I'm totally recovered!! I hope to be an inspiration like you one day. And to anyone who is reading this, don't give up... We can do this!! We will all be free, happy and healthy again... We deserve it. Because like you said Shaye, we are flippin' awesome people! :)

Love Jess

A Response From Shaye

Jess! Your story almost brought me to tears! I am SO happy that my experience with bulimia has given you strength and inspiration... If it can help people like you - then the 10+ years of bulimia were worth it!

It sounds like you're doing great things to help yourself recover... Your family knowing about your bulimia is a great start! Also, sharing your story is brave and helps to release some of the shame and anxiety bulimics feel.

Something I couldn't recommend highly enough is seeing a therapist. Nothing beats one on one support... I understand it can be pricey, but if at some stage you could afford it - I think it would help you so much... Especially as I can feel the desire you have to recover... It really comes across in your writing... You're at a perfect stage to dive into recovery - because I can sense that you want it with every inch of your being!

I know exactly what you mean when you say "I can't understand why I can't let it go when I so badly want to..."

Unfortunately sometimes when you want something sooo badly... it still takes time and perseverance to get it. You still need to chip away at them. Work at them... Practice them...

I suppose it's like an athlete who wants more than anything to be a world champion... Yes, they would sacrifice anything for it... But, they still have to persevere and work towards it.

Trust me, every bit of effort you put into recovering will be worth it. Life without bulimia is so beautiful... Something has been forever changed inside and you appreciate things in a different way.

I don't even regret my bulimia anymore - because I have a gratitude for my life and all my blessings that, had it not been for bulimia, I don't think I would have.

I would love it if you posted regularly on my site... You are an inspiration to many people already - with your courage and will to recover. I'd love to read your stories from time to time about how you're recovery is going, what you're doing to make positive changes to your life and so on... I'd really appreciate it and I know others would gain strength from your stories.

You mentioned that you were trying to shift the focus off your negative body image and instead focus on your goals each day... This is a fantastic idea. I actually just wrote a page about goal setting which I really think you should read... It shares techniques that helped me make successful goals during my recovery... To read it, click here

Please keep in touch!

Stay strong and remember - if I recovered - YOU CAN TOO!


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

The Bulimia Recovery Program