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I want my hair back, I want to feel pretty again!

by SS

Ive never talked about this to anyone before, but I think now is the time. My story is still ongoing, and I want to just feel normal again and not worry about the fears that Im sure you know bulimia instills in you. It all began two years ago. I am 14 right now, and I know thats very young to have something like this, and as I type this Im trying to gather the courage to not back down and to continue typing this. I used to do (and still do) so many activities, like karate, gymnastics, dance, etc.

My story began when I was about 12, and I still dont know exactly what happened to mess my life up so greatly. I was healthy, I had curly, thick black hair that I loved, and I felt amazing. I was strong and had muscles, which gave me so much pride. However, I started noticing that my best friend (she still is) was so skinny and looked really good. I have a twin sister, and the three of us are still inseparable. I was always a bit lighter than my sister from birth, but nothing major. Anyways, here and now, we would jokingly compare ourselves (as kids do) and say that my friend was the skinniest, then me, and then my twin sister was the heaviest...

The truth was, my sister and I were actually healthy weights. My friend was underweight, but we were 9-10 year old kids so it didn't really matter. I started thinking a lot, and I started looking too. I thought that maybe, just maybe, if I became a little skinnier, I could look good and then I could be the thinnest. Now looking back, I wish I never had those thoughts, because they ruined my life (at least I think they did). In the mornings, my grandma would (and still does, even just today) make us have a mug of milk for breakfast. I thought nothing of it-it tasted good and seemed normal. But then, I tried something Id never done before...

I drank only half and didn't finish the rest. To some people, not finishing everything on your plate is normal. But, Im Indian, and in our culture, your always supposed to finish everything and not waste, even if you're really full. Its always been liked that. I started thinking that I could do the same with my lunch. So, I began throwing away half of my lunch. That escalated, and I started thinking I should lose more weight. As time passed, I developed anorexia. There it is. It feels so good to say that.

I started not eating lunch at school and only eating breakfast and dinner. I was obsessed with trying to be skinny. Mind you, at this time, my hair was perfectly fine and I only looked a little thinner. During spring break, we went on vacation to Mexico. I wore a swimsuit most of the days because I loved the pool but I hated how it stuck to me and felt fat. I know it sounds bratty to say that, and I feel so dumb that it even happened, but it did. I didn't want to eat breakfast because I thought it would make me fatter, and I even cried sometimes. But I ate lunch and dinner, so my parents wouldn't really say much. However, on the flight back, my dad was the one who said something and said I should go to the doctor. I kept making the excuse that my stomach hurt, so they thought it was medical. I was terrified because I thought they would see right through me and I would be in trouble. When we returned to life after vacation, it was then that I started looking noticeably thinner. My parents, sister, family, and friends commented on how skinny I was, but I tried to laugh it off. Inside, though, I was gleeful that I looked skinnier and felt pretty. My hair was still thick and pretty good; I never really thought about it. However, in Indian culture, there is such thing as garba, and during garbas, dressing up is normal. In the clothing you wear, your stomach usually shows. One day, after eating dinner at my cousins house before garba, I went to go change. I saw myself in the mirror and thought my stomach looked fat, and there was nothing I could do about it. But then, I did something I will always regret and you can probably guess. I threw up.

I feel so shamed, but I did it.

I looked in the mirror and thought that it was good because I could eat anything and still be thin. After that, I started throwing up after dinner. Then I started doing after lunch too. I always felt cold, and this was when my hair started falling out. My twin sister still has her perfect curls, and people always complement her on her hair. It makes me want to cry because now, my hair looks nothing like it once did, and they never say anything about my hair. I know its because it looks so bad compared to hers. Back to my story, I was always trying to get away from the dinner table and food in general. I even stuffed food in my socks and pretended to chew. It was so gross but I felt like I had to do anything to not eat. My parents really started noticing my withdrawn behavior, but I was still myself with my friends. They took me to the doctor, and I didn't want to admit what I had. I hadn't eaten a real meal without throwing up in so long, and I felt so helpless. I think we all knew that I had anorexia (no one knows about my bulimia) but i didn't want to say it.

My parents told me that my teacher saw me throwing out my lunch at school, and they said that I would have to go to a psychiatrist if I didn't do anything. I had to even miss school to get blood work done. I was so fed up, so slowly, I began to try to eat. I went from X pounds to X, and thats where I am now. But I still have bulimia.

Its strange though, because now I eat lunch and feel fine. I always purge after dinner, though. Because I have to wake up early for school, I pretend to drink milk/breakfast and even put a mug in the sink to fake it. Some school day, though, my grandma is always awake and so I have to drink milk because she is watching. My parents think Ive started eating normally again, and that my body just isnt the type to gain much weight, but i still have bulimia, just not as bad as before.

During weekends, I have time, and I know it sounds horrible, but I bring food to my room and after eating I purge in the shower. Its weird because I joined xc (its my freshman year) and I was one of the top 3 runners and beat my sister, even with bulimia...I still dont know how. I beat everyone in practices and never felt tired.

My hair though, is another story. Because of the weight I gained, it went back to being a little curly, and it grew a little longer. However, its still very thin and I know I have some balding spots, but they're not too visible. Ive always had frizzy hair, even when it was thick. and my sister does too. However, while I have thin, frizzy hair thats turned dry, hers is curly and the friz loos good. She always tells me I have no hair, and I always want to cry. Even worse, I have layers, so my ponytails are thin friz (in my opinion). My mom and grandma know that my hair is way thinner now, and they tell me to keep eating nutrients. I dont know what to do. Im going to eat dinner in twenty minutes, and I dont think Im going to b and p. After taking a shower two hrs ago, I told myself that Im bald and that I have to have good hair like all my friends. But whenever I eat a lot (usually dinner), I cant control the full feeling and then spiral into b and p. Now I only b and p once a day, and sometimes I dont even do it. I know this is good progress, but...

I want my hair back. I want to be able to leave it down again. My best friend, who I have talked about in the beginning, has EXTREMELY THICK hair, but shes so thin. She only eats half her lunch in school like 3/5 of the time, and I always finish everything. I dont b and p in school, but I always think that shes so lucky to have control and not eat too much but be thin and have amazing hair. She has NO bald spots and literally has 7x the hair I have, and its shiny and her braids weigh a loy. Shes so confident and does eyeliner and is also kind of naturally thin bc her dad is very thin too. But shes not the one with the eating disorder. I am.

I want my hair back and I want it to look like it once did. I am even sure that I have a plan. When I go to college, I'll stop b and p bc no one will force me to have so much food, and if I can control myself, I can eat enough to stay thin but not ever have to throw up. My hair actually looks voluminous and curly from the front, but from the back and especially top, I know its basically gone. College is in 4 years, and I dont know what to do until then. I really want to handle this on my own, and I dont want to tell my parents. Now, its kind of about being thin, but mostly, I just want my hair back. I know I have many ups and downs and my story is kind of confusing, but if you have any advice at all, please help me :(

Shaye Says

Hi SS,

Thank you for sharing your story with me. You have been through so much - and I remember how hard it is to live with all the turmoil anorexia and bulimia brings.

I have a little bit of advice I would like to share with you - beautiful girl, you need to stop dieting. I know this can feel scary and you might even think "But I've ruined my metabolism forever, if I don't diet I'll get fat" - but this isn't true. As you allow yourself to eat - and digest - more food, you'll see that your body is resilient and it'll bounce right back! Your hair will get beautiful again and you'll get that awesome energy back.

Giving up dieting wont happen overnight, but please work on it... one step at a time, work on getting regular meals into your day. Work towards 6 mini meals... breakfast - snack - lunch - snack - dinner - snack. This is a great way to get your metabolism working well and to help reduce binge urges. I talk a lot more about this style of eating and why it's so important in my recovery program. If you would like to learn more click here.

Also work on being kind and loving to yourself. You are a beautiful human being - worthy of all the kindness in the world :)

x Shaye

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program