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IPECAC SYRUP, (when a toothbrush just isn't enough!)

by Steph

I've been bulimic for 10 years (I'm 24)and have finally decided that I need help and want to stop. I have talked myself out of it so many times and I finally feel that enough is enough. When I think back over the years, I am surprised I am even alive. This tid bit of information is one of my worst memories of my desperation in bulimia.>>>>

I was 20 and in University. I had been binging so many times a day I had lost count. I had skipped lectures for the entire week to binge and purge and by this point I was using a toothbrush as my fingers were no ineffective. My gag reflex was almost non-existent as it had become desensitized, so much so that I was using the bristly side of the brush to scrape my throat so I would gag.

It was getting so hard to purge and I was becoming even more desperate. Being a student nurse unfortunately gave me a lot of knowledge on which medication would make me sick (called emetics), so I researched for days on how to get this medication as it was illegal in the UK and therefore was not used on wards. (Its now illegal everywhere).

I finally found ipecac syrup online (even though it is illegal!) in a country I had never heard of and had it shipped to me. It was SO expensive and yet the bottle was no bigger than the height of a rubix cube and about as wide as £2 coin.
I took the syrup with lots of water after another binge and it kicked in after 30 mins. It worked perfectly. What the bottle FAILED to tell me was that the medication wore off, after an hour! So though I had puked enough to remove the food in the first 6-8 expulsions/vomits, the medication continued to force me to wretch and vomit for another 45minutes after! The wretching was so frequent that I couldn't catch my breath between the wretches and ran outside for help but couldn't scream between wretches either, plus it was like 2am and nobody was up anyway.

Eventually I felt very dizzy and started drifting in an out of consciousness while STILL WRETCHING. I finally passed out on the grass outside and woke up hours later, shaking furiously with a splitting headache, thumping chest and a burning and bleeding throat.
I had been vomiting bile even while unconscious and my throat had small tears as a result. My heart was beating very strangely and I was sure I would die. I stumbled back inside and drank about a litre of juice (which I NEVER drank...kcals) as I was so very dehydrated. I was terrified and even more afraid to sleep in case I did not wake up.

I could have very easily died that night but what scared me the most is that people had walked by me while I was unconscious on the grass and when they asked me about it in the morning, I simply laughed it off and told them I was drunk. I was back to purging with a toothbrush the very next day, I was THAT addicted!

It's memories like this that spur me on to quitting. It is desperately hard and most days I want to give up but at 24 years old, my life is just beginning and I really want to see the rest of it! Don't you?

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program