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Graphic horrifying details

I'm writing here because I miss being skinny. I don't have the self-control to successfully lose weight by diet and exercise, and I've gained so much weight over the past few years that I almost want to just kill myself--but I can't stand the thought of being fat in my casket. I hope that by opening up about my history with buimia, I can remind myself about how awful it goes nothing...

I toyed with the idea of throwing up my food a few times in junior high and high school, and I remember a few occasions where I forced myself to puke after "messing up," but I didn't think much of these occasions since they were so rare. I started my "routine" when I was about 20--a sophomore in college, around 2006. I had recently started seeing a guy who I met online. Although I wasn't big at all, like most people--I had only posted my most flattering pictures on myspace. He would constantly call me "tiny" and "little thing" and names like that, affectionately. I remember flatly stating "I'm not skinny!" before meeting him, horrified that he would be horrified, even though I really was pretty small.

He met me, continued to call me "tiny," and we started seeing each other pretty often. I couldn't help but notice that all the girls he mentioned as attractive were so drove me crazy. After a month or so, a friend of his visited from Spain. I never met her, but being star-struck by this new guy in my life, I stalked her photos online. Super skinny. Jealous and consumed in some sick idea of beauty, I decided that I would lose weight while he and his friend were away for 2 weeks--I went to the store and bought a six-pack of crumb-topped muffins and stood over the toilet for about a half an hour forcing myself to throw up. This was the start of something horrifying.

Two weeks passed, I hadn't lost any noticeable amount of weight, but I had started getting the hang of the binge-purge tricks...why would I stop my new "diet" there? I quickly learned that it was a lot easier to throw up when I drank a good amount of liquid when I was binging. I learned that I could better "aim" my puke if I held some toilet paper or paper towels into a slide shape as I leaned over the toilet. If I was in someone's home, I would run water while throwing up. If I was using a public restroom, I'd wait until it was empty, grab paper towels, and steal the handicapped stall to make my deposit. The used paper towels went into the sanitary napkin bin after I cleaned up after myself. I was getting good! I remember awkwardly waiting in the stall for anyone else in the restroom to leave. Soon enough, the runny nose that followed my purging disappeared, the pounds started melting away, and the only real "tell" I had on my body was a callous underneath my middle finger, near my palm. Repeatedly scraping against my bottom teeth left a rough mark.

Over the next few years, I went through a series of phases of binge foods. I don't perfectly remember the order...but over time I ate more and more. For a while I would stop at subway on the way home from work and get two 5 dollar footlong subs and some cookies, easily able to throw it up before anyone got home. My parents' kitchen was always well stocked, so sometimes a box of oreos would do the trick, or a entire bag of chips...or two I had a Ben&Jerry's phase...peanut butter cup ice cream comes back up pretty smoothly--often still cold! I was really sick...spending a fortune on food and throwing up several times an hour. I remember throwing up at my grandma's, and I couldn't get the toilet to properly flush. I was panicking, and ended up using a lot of toilet paper to collect the puke from the toilet water so I could wrap it up and throw it out somewhere else.

My third year as a bulimic was absolutely the worst. I had moved in with my boyfriend--see above--and had a pretty well-developed routine for when I could buy lots of food and throw it up without being caught. On the way to work: fast food breakfast galore!! I remember throwing the multiple bags of garbage out the window of my car while I was driving so that nobody would get suspicious seeing me throw away so much fast food trash. After work, I would pick up more fast food, eat it on my drive home, and throw it up well before my boyfriend came home. I remember another time I had orange juice, and couldn't find an opportunity to sneak away to throw it up. Panic again!

Third year continued, it started getting harder for me to throw up. I had to start forcing more fingers down my throat to get myself to gag. Sometimes I would take puke out of the toilet and put it back in my mouth to make myself disgusted enough to throw up more. I was hospitalized that year for orthostatic hypotension and tachycardia caused by dehydration and electrolyte imbalance associated with my sick "diet." Because of an underlying neurological condition, I was also hooked up to an EEG to watch my brain activity while I was in the hospital. I was worried about throwing up with that monitor on, unsure if the doctors could know that I was throwing up by watching my brain activity. As hard as it was, I didn't binge or purge while hospitalized. My doctor, perhaps suspicious (?) referred me to a psychiatrist as part of this ordeal, and I gradually opened up to him about this obsession.

I lost my drivers license as a result of the hospitalization (electrolyte imbalance exacerbated my epilepsy, causing seizures), and for six months I was getting rides to and from work. This severely limited my ability to sneakily buy food, and I gradually yielded to the great advice provided by my psychiatrist. White flag. I started directing energy toward recovering from my bulimia, and trying to realize how beautiful I really am. It's still hard to say that!

it has been about three years since all of that mess, with only a few occasions of messing up. I dont want to go back there, but I still struggle with my self image in so many ways. For anyone who is reading, I hope it helps you realize how easily something like a temporary "diet" can become a dangerous lifestyle. I lived a secret life completely revolving around food, and I became unable to control it. My bulimia could have killed me, and it makes me so sad to think that there are other people out there, right now, consumed by this lifestyle just like I was. I could go on for hours more with horror stories about this time in my life, and if you're dealing with it right now, contact a counselor before you add more horror stories to your list!! There are people who really do understand and who really can help you!!

Sorry for the soapbox. It's nice to see this many familiar stories! So many bad memories. Best of luck to everyone out there!!

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program