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Food for the Soul - Elizabeths Anorexia Bulimia Story

by Elizabeth
(Hollidaysburg PA)


I've never shared my story beyond family and a few friends...most of which I have lost over the past odd years amidst my battle with Bulimia and Anorexia. I have been battling this terrifying disease since the beginning of High School... But if i look back even further, I could say that i have had issues with eating since i was a little girl. Growing up i was the pickiest eater imaginable! I would only eat French fries, chicken tenders, macaroni and cheese, pizza, and onion bagels with LOTS of cream cheese... quite literally! I always had stomach issues, and in middle school i was sent to the doctors for constipation problems. They had said if i didn't start eating properly... getting some fiber and what not, i would end up having more problems.

Meanwhile, my parents had gotten a divorce. I was about eight years old then, and not even realizing it, the divorce caused me some problems. My mom moved out and I stayed with my father. He married twice after my mother, and i can admit the first stepmother and I did not get along, which only caused me to stay away and hide my feelings. My dad worked away every so often. I only saw my mother on weekends and Holidays. I desired so much to be with her, living with her. But there was something else in the way of that. I had found out she had left my father for another woman. At the time I did not really understand and i took out a lot of my anger on my parents..being defiant and lying. I was depressed and feeling as though things were my fault... so instead of acting out, i took it out on myself. When i was depressed, i ate. I came home from school, i ate.. I wouldn't say that I overate all the time.. but eating the things that i chose to eat all the time wasn't really the healthiest ways to go about eating. I gained some weight. I was never "fat" but i was overweight. Yet i was a pretty active kid. Always outside riding my bike, playing and walking. When i was thirteen i was about 170 and stayed thereabouts until the beginning of High School.

I had finally moved out of my father's house and in with my mother and her partner, a whole new school, new people, a new opportunity. When i started School I began to eat a little healthier. Instead of having three slices of pizza or a box of mac and cheese all to myself i chose one slice and a side salad, i kept bike riding and walking, i got involved in things like musicals, plays, the literary magazine..etc. I was starting to enjoy myself. By the time i was a sophmore i had lost a decent amount of weight. I was healthy! I was at 126..that of which my doctor said was my "target weight" I felt good, had a lot of energy and kept doing what i was doing. In fact, that summer i wore my first bikini when i went to visit my father for the summer in Florida. But, the weight loss could not stop there. I was still defiant towards my parents with the lying and plotting against them for the divorce, i hid in my room when i was home. didn't want to be around them. School was my "out" i enjoyed being there. I hung out with friends.. but when i would get in trouble for something and get grounded, my social life was almost non existent. I started thinking about the weight i lost and how people would now talk to me, tell me i looked good.. etc. I liked the attention.. because all through middle school i didnt have that many friends, not a lot of people would talk to me. I chalked it up to being "fat" and ugly... but now realize that really wasn't the case. I started restricting my eating. I remember grabbing some juice before i would head off to school, skipping lunch, coming home and maybe having a little bit of dinner with my mother and her partner then i would go out for a bike ride, a run.. or go to my room an exercise the night away get up and do it all over again. I became better at gym.. because i pushed myself so hard. I was never good with anything athletic until this point. I remained this way for almost two years.

By the time i was in the middle of my junior year, my relationship with my mother was almost non existent. I had then got on a plane and moved in with my father. I remember the flight down there. I spent the night with my grandparents so they could take me to the airport. That morning my grandmother was bugging me to eat breakfast because it would be a while before i could get down to my dad's and have dinner. So to shut her up and get her off my back i had a bowl of cheerios and a banana. When i got through security at the airport i had two hours to sit and wait. I wandered around the terminal looking at all the food.. smelling it.. i could taste it. I was so hungry! I watched people sitting down eating, they ate so much! Is this what normal people eat? I asked myself. So without hesitation i sat down at a place, ordered a chicken salad and devoured it. A few moments later my stomach hurt so bad i doubled over in pain.. i felt sick! I remember running to the nearest bathroom and throwing up. This began the eight year battle with Bulimia. Over the next year and a half every time i would eat i threw up. At first it was only once maybe twice a day.. until it consumed me. I would end up skipping out of school because come lunch time i would eat, puke, eat puke, and when the bell rang to go back to class i was not ready to give up my binge cycle! So i would sneak off school grounds and go home to continue my habits until i would wear myself out so much that i would fall asleep and have to deal with my parents finding out i skipped school. This became a habit.. along with getting involved in a bad crowd at school, and underage drinking and drug use. Before i could graduate, my father sent me to live with my grandmother. So there i went.. on another plane! My bulimia destroyed my relationship with my grandmother. When she was not around i would hide away and binge.. i would wait until she was asleep.. i even had to sneak out of the house and go for walks in the woods to rid myself of the guilt i had shoved down my throat to make sure she wasn't following me into the bathroom. Soon her and i fought about all the food gone missing so i had to start stealing food from the stores when i was out. I am so ashamed to admit this! I feel so horrible about it! This went on for a while. Then i was hospitalized in an eating disorder facility once i had graduated high school via home school. I had to finish school with a home school teacher because i was too physically weak to go. I would pass out, my body would shake.. i was in so much pain. But i couldn't stop. I was in the hospital for a little under two months. I went in at about 87 pounds. i gained a lot of weight back. i was up to 114 and i did good for a while. Then i moved out on my own, got a job and things slowly started going downhill once more. I wouldnt eat i would just work. I had many sexual partners to make myself feel more "wanted" "pretty"...etc.

In 2007 i was married. I was only 18. My marriage only lasted about six months. I know i am partially to blame for our break up. He couldnt handle what i had become. After he left things only got worse. One week i would starve myself the next i would do nothing but binge and purge all day long until i would pass out and sleep for hours on end. I quit my job, lost my apartment and moved in with a friend. years it stayed like this.

Finally last year, my boyfriend and I had broke up. Things were so bad! I was the worst i had ever been. I had gotten down to 57 pounds and could barely walk. My family and friends were so scared. I thought i was going to die. I went to the ER to get some blood work done for another admission into the eating disorder hospital and the ER doctor told me if i didnt get help soon i would indeed die. So off i went. I was in the hospital for over two moths this time going through the refeeding process. I found out i have really bad osteoporosis as well. I am now back up in the triple didgits with my weight...but still have a ways to go.
I have been doing well so far. I would be lying if i said it was easy. Every day is a battle and some are better than others. I had been binge/purge free for four months until recently. The past week has had its ups and downs.. but i am getting back on track. I am back with my boyfriend. My best friend is also living with us.. i can't imagine things being any different. having them both here is a blessing and extremely helpful.

I don't know what will come of sharing my story, but i hope that those who read this will know that" yes, it is not an easy battle.. but it is worth while! You are beautiful! You ARE worth it! and one baby step at a time.. one moment at a time.. that's all it takes... keep moving forward! Just because you have a slip up, doesnt make you a terrible person, doesnt make you a failure! pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back on the saddle again! :) LIVE, LAUGH , LOVE!

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Article by Shaye Boddington
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