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For the beautiful, young ladies out there, this is my 25 year struggle.

by Tash

I have been reading through some of the stories on this site and it has moved me to tears. I can feel the passion,sadness, frustration,anxiety,loss,courage and determination in every story shared.
I searched Google for "Bulimia Stories" and this site came up. Why? I am 37 years old and have just come back to my computer after throwing up the Indian meal that I had for dinner.

I'm not sure what I want to write or how. There is so much more than what I have the time to say. I am not going to proof read or re read any of this. I am just going to type as I think and as I remember some of the things that have happened. Please forgive me if something doesn't make sense or if there are spelling mistakes. If I read this over, I probably wont sent it.

I'm not really sure what is wrong with me and don't really know what is right. I am a highly educated woman with a successful business and I thought that maybe sharing my story with you could help all of us.

I'm not sure when I started purging. I do remember at a young age (12 or 13) sticking the end of a toothbrush down my throat as the skin on my knuckles was that damaged from my teeth, it hurt to use my hand.

As a child, I was never fat but a lot of my friends were really slim. I understand now that was just their frame and slight build but they seemed perfect to me.

I moved around a lot. This seems to be a common issue among many stories. I am an only child and my mother put a massive amount of pressure on me to be perfect. Not so much from a weight perspective but from every other aspect in life. I was an A grade student and achieved well but she always compared me to others who did better. I went to private schools, had musical tuition and many other activities to promote, what I believed, to be her own status. I remember comments like "Why cant I talk about you the way that X talks about her daughter?"

My mother actually believes that she gave me the best childhood possible. Materialistically, yes! Emotionally, no!

My circle of friend in the latter years of high school were pretty, popular and thin. I felt like the chubby one. I look back at photos and it couldn't be further from the truth. Our perceived image of ourselves can often be so far from the truth.

At 16 and 17, there was a group of 4 friends that used to hang out at one of the girls houses in the afternoon and on weekends. We were very open about vomiting after meals and if we thought that the other was looking a little "fat". We would eat something and then one of the girls would say "I'm going to throw this stuff up now". As casually as saying that they were getting a glass of water. We all took turns to use the bathroom and purge.

There are so many stories that I could share with you. There are so many lonely and dark moments. The thing was that from about 13 until well into my adult life, I really didn't see that there was any problem with what I was doing. It worked, although I never felt as skinny as my friends. My mother suspected but I just kept telling her that it wasn't happening. I would go for days without eating and then have massive binge and purge sessions that would last for about a week. My throat hurt so much and the skin on my first and third knuckle used to tear. This would indicate to me that I once again needed to stop eating for a week so that they could heal.

As an adult I was consumed by food. I used to make special trips to the supermarket for my binge sessions and buy way more than my stomach could possibly hold. I had food stored in every draw and cupboard in my bedroom and bathroom.

I would even go through in my head what were the best things to eat in term of easily being able to vomit. Some foods were very difficult to bring back up and caused much more damage than others. Every time I ate a mouthful of food, I would take a sip of water knowing that it would be easier to purge. I even ate food in a specific order knowing what makes it easier.

My boyfriend (who I lived with) found all of my chocolates. He asked why I have them. I casually replied that it was my stash that I could eat and throw up if I felt like chocolate. He didn't know how to take this, but I had always displayed confidence, even though I was a different person inside. He just trusted me that I knew what I was doing and that everything was OK.

We eventually married. When I was pregnant, at 21, I stopped throwing up because I thought that no one would be able to tell if I put on weight. I was going to get bigger anyway and figured that I could loose the few kilos I put on after the baby was born. I loved this. I was eating and enjoying everything and I didn't feel guilty. I have been smoking since I was 13 and the only guilt I had was when I had a cigarette.

The next 10 years turned into a cycle of no eating, binging and purging, binging and not purging, massive weight gain and massive weight loss. I went from 55kg at to 61. Then from 61 to 58, 58 to 65, 60 to 68, 65 to 73, 70 to 77...can you see a pattern here. I reached 80kg when I was 28 and was back down to 59 when I was 29. I had 2 kids by this time but had never learnt to eat healthy or correctly. If I had eaten the right way from my teenage years I could have controlled my weight. When I put it on, I become desperate to take it off and quickly. I damage my body and my mind in the process.

By the time I was 31, I was at 75kg. When I reached 35 I tipped the scales at 102kg or 224lbs. How I got to this stage I will never really understand. I got tired of purging and just kept on binging and only purging once a day but having 3 or 4 big binging sessions. I would always think, I've got to get rid of this food but 2 hours would pass and when I tried all that I could get was a small amount and bile.

At 37, my mind snapped. I woke up one day and thought, what has happened to me! I went on my strict hunger, binge and purge diet. I believed that I had to get back to what worked. Now at 37, I am vomiting everything up again. I am at my office now. It is 11.30pm and instead of working I organised a massive meal, purged it all and am now writing this.

Even with the purging it is now all planned. If I binge, I only binge at night when I have the privacy of my bathroom at home or at work to get rid of the food. My bathrooms have everything that I need on hand. Water bottle, fresh hand towel, room deodoriser. If I am vomiting in the toilet, I have the tap running so that no one will hear. I put heaps of paper in the toilet so that it doesn't make a noise or splash water back at me.

I have a 15 year old daughter who is beautiful, popular and talented but she thinks that she is fat! She doesn't eat much at meals but takes heaps of junk food from our cupboard and I find it in her room. I don't believe that she is purging as she isn't in the toilet for long and doesn't shower after she eats but the future scares me.

Just so you all know, I have many health problems. All of which I believe to be associated with my excessive vomiting over the years. I left my first husband. I felt so confident and good about myself when I was back to 59kg at 29. There were other issues as well but this confidence led me to make the decision.

I have suffered from major depression, was diagnosed with Bi Polar disorder when I was 30. I now have chrones disease, which is a major small intestine disorder and is extremely painful and difficult to manage. This can never be cured. My teeth look OK but the enamel has been stripped and I have to keep getting work done. My skin is worse than anything. I look OK but under my clothes,on my back,arms and buttocks are scarring from welts and extremely bad skin conditions caused from my non eating/drinking/binging/purging sessions over the last 25 years.

Don't do this! Ever! Some of you are way to young to understand the implications that this can have on the rest of your lives. All I had to do was eat healthy, exercise and realise that the way I saw myself was not reality. Looking back, I was beautiful. I was never overweight when I was a child. Even if you are overweight this is the worst method that you can try for weight loss. You may believe that it is working in the short term but it isn't. The truly beautiful people do it right. That's what makes their skin glow and their hair shine.

A woman is allowed to have curves. We have hips and breasts that define who we are. Don't try and change that, embrace it. I know what I have done wrong but it is too late for me to go back and change all of the years of abuse that I have done to my own body. I don't want to vomit every day. I want to be able to control what I eat in a healthy way. I am getting married again soon and my vomiting lately is my desperate attempt to look good on the day. What I need to remember is that my future husband met me when I was thin, has supported and loved me when I was over 100kg and still loves me today. Even through I know all of this, nothing makes me stop feeling like I should and could be better.

I want everyone to understand what happens if you don't seek help, what happens if you don't stop. The cycle of denial and pain that exists with this illness is horrible. Don't worry if you fail the first time, or the second or the 10th. Just keep trying. When I read the stories I think about myself as a teenager and of my daughter. It would be the worst thing in the world to know that my child is going through this. I am older than most of you but believe me when I say that I understand what you are going through. You all have people who love you and care about you, just the way you are.

I hope that this story helps you. It has certainly stirred many emotions for me. Please look after yourself. We only get one shot at this life and from someone with experience with what you are going through, I beg you to stop and please don't end up like me. My love and hugs to you all.

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program