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I used to be in control - A Bulimia Story

by Jessica
(Ohio)

I started being bulimic when I was a sophmore in high school. Now I will be a senior in college and I am still suffering with the disease.

When I first started it was because I wanted to lose weight for my sport. All my life I was a swimmer, competing at nationally ranked levels.

In high school I qualified every year for the state championships and placed in the top 8 for every event. My world seemed so under control and I was feeling as if my problem with food was a mere sacrifice for my athletic success.

What I did not realize at the time was how out of control it was all getting. I am 5'5 and I got down to 103 pounds. For some, that might not seem too dangerous, but for an athlete, it is.

There were 3 times I passed out, and one of those times were in the water. I could not even compete anymore. My times were so slow and I had no energy. The sport I had worked for my whole life was slowly disappearing from me.

As my freshman year of college rolled around I began training with my team. Again, I could not make my usual send offs and was getting frustrated...

My problem was only getting worse.

We had 3 a day practices, and I was taking a full load of classes. The only time I could binge and purge was around midnight, or 3 am. I did this for no reason... anxiety and boredom. This left me exhausted and unable to swim. I began to hate myself even more, and my body even more.

I noticed that I didn't even look like the same girl anymore. My once thick, curly hair was thinning, my weight gain was always fluctuating and my face looked round.

I feel hideous.

No one knows about my bulimia except for my mom. And for some reason she has never helped me get treatment. I don't think she really cares.

With all of this, I quit swimming. And now, I feel lost. As I try to recover on my own, I find myself just doing the cycle over and over again. A part of me still likes being bulimic, and the other part hates it. I want to stop, but I don't know how.

How can I stop bulimia on my own? I started on my own... Why can't I beat it? It has been almost 7 years.

Sometimes I wish I was anorexic. That way I wouldn't spend my money binging on food, and I wouldn't look unattractive.

Please give some advice...

A MESSAGE FROM SHAYE:



WOW Jessica - I can't believe how similar your story is to mine! I had shivers all over my body when I was reading it... and Actually feel quite emotional right now.

I was also an athlete - and had to give up springboard diving because of my bulimia... 4 months before the Olympic Games - which I was in the squad for!

Bulimia is a consuming illness. It starts off just as something you do to lose a little weight... but gradually it takes hold of you - and without realising it begins to 'own' you.

The good news is that YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOUR BULIMIA.

You are not JESSICA THE BULIMIC... You are Jessica, a girl who struggles with bulimia.

The first thing to realise is that you CAN recover from bulimia. You can beat it! You might not believe this right away but remind yourself every night when you go to beat "I CAN BEAT THIS" "I WILL BE HEALTHY AND HAPPY"...

And, if you manage not to binge and purge for a day, or even if you do it a little less in a day... Give yourself positive reinforcement... Squeeze yourself as hard as you can and say "YOU GO GIRL... TODAY WAS GOOD!"

I know it sounds really lame... but it helps. And if at first you feel like your faking it... that's okay... Fake it till you make it!

My second piece of advice is to choose 2 people you trust to discuss your bulimia with. This is REALLY HARD... But feels SO good once it's done! This is a VITAL step in bulimia recovery. I advise that you talk to your mom about it and a close friend.

Tell them how you feel, how much you have given up because of bulimia, how close you have come to death from bulimia (passing out in the pool!) They need to know how it is affecting you. You can even give them this website to help them gain a better understanding of bulimia.

I remember the first time I talked about my bulimia, I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. A problem shared is a problem halved.

The next thing I advise you do is start to keep a diary of your eating and emotions. Do this vigilantly... Write down when your feeling sad, depressed, happy, excited, nervous and so on... Also try to figure out why you're feeling that way. Write down when you binge and try to figure out if those emotions seem to trigger it. You might need to dig deep for this.

You could even try to write a bulimia poem - I found this helped me to express my feelings when I was bulimic.

Feel free to share any eating disorder poems you write here.

Another thing that I found really helped me when I was bulimic was this:

Try, just as you start to binge... To stop. Think... why I am doing this, dig deep... am I sad, lonely, depressed? Write it down in your diary... and then if you want, you can continue your binge.

It's really about observation at first. Once you have observed, you will begin to understand your bulimia a bit more...

Understanding is an important step in bulimia recovery.

My final piece of advice to you is to see a therapist who specializes in eating disorders. I understand how hard this can be!

I was SO nervous the first time I went to see my therapist... I actually felt like I was going to throw up from nerves!

But... It was the best thing I ever did. Having somebody who doesn't know you - who won't judge you - who has seen hundreds of people like you before... is priceless.

If it's the cost that is putting you off - think about how much money you will save in the long run! I know I was throwing up $20,000+ a year!! A therapist will cost a fraction of that.

You may even have a state funded therapist in Ohio, although I'm not sure how the medical system works over there.

Jessica, I hope that this helps you. Please keep me posted on how you go... My heart aches for you as I know what you're going through... It's difficult... But recovery is real - and it is amazing!

All the best girl. Feel free to write on my site whenever you want - I will always reply.

Love.
Shaye

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Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of your-bulimia-recovery.com
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community


The Bulimia Recovery Program