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from restricting to bulimia...

by Danielle
(New York)

Growing up, I was the happiest kid. Cheerleading was my life and my passion, I was popular, had a great family, and didn't really care that I was always a little overweight, especially for a cheerleader. I was consistently teased by my siblings that I was fat, but it wasn't until I was forced to quit cheerleading that my weight increased and I found myself with no hobby and no passion. I began a simple diet that very quickly turned into severe restricting and an intense fear of almost all food. After a year of trying to maintain this new, lower weight and with the help of a nutritionist, I began to have a lessened fear of food and began eating more and more. I still was eating mainly healthy foods, since I could not purge, even when I tried. One night, however, I felt too full and successfully purged for the first time. It was a form of a high for me, and I had a sense of pride and happiness after this happened. I did not know then that this "gift" I had finally been able to do would lead to slight weight gain and tremendous depression, anger, and shame.

Bulimia began and is still persistent. An amazing year in school was tainted by this disease- friendships were more superficial, parties skipped because of feeling fat, and dinners and activities missed out on because I'd rather binge and purge in secrecy. My life is now consumed by this. Every day I wake up and my day is determined based on the number on the scale. I am 20 years old and have been dealing with this since I was 17, and I have failed time and time again when trying to recover on my own.

Now, I saw a nutritionist and therapist at college without my parents knowing, and they suggested inpatient or intensive outpatient treatment during the summer so that I could return to school happier and healthier and could continue recovery there. However, my fear of admitting I have a problem to my parents stops me from getting the treatment that I truly want. I am tired of this- tired of the secrecy, of not losing weight, of the focus on numbers, and tired of not being happy. I am still normal weight and physically healthy according to doctors, so I do not feel I deserve recovery though. I am miserable right now and so confused about life, irritable, and don't know how to tell my parents I need help. Also, I don't want them involved in my eating disorder at all, but I don't think I can do it on my own...

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Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of
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The Bulimia Recovery Program