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It just won't go away!!!

by Misha

I am 23 years old. I live a blessed life. I just finished my fourth year of university at Hawaii Pacific University in Advertising and Public Relations, but am holding off graduating so I can go to South Korea for a semester.

My sophomore year, i went on a trip around the world with a program, Semester at Sea, where i was on a ship for 110 days, and stopped in 14 different countries, and our academic studies were focused on global issues, and specifically, the ports we stopped in. I have amazing friends, amazing family, amazing opportunities.

There's always that saying that having money is more of a burden than not. As arrogant as I am sounding (and I hope it does not offend. . .) it is true for me. I have been dealing with anorexia/bulimia/compulsive eating/disordered eating since I was 17.

My senior year in high school i spent in and out of the hospital, being in the hospital and inpatient and out patient programs more than not, and finally finishing off the last month of school in a rehab place, after having spent a full month in the Intensive Care Unit, my family ready to say goodbye to me. You'd think that a near death experience and missing my senior year of high school would be the low point and make me want to get better. Not the case. I relapsed several times. Never bad enough to land in the hospital again, but enough where I couldn't have friends, couldn't go to college for a year.

Growing up in the community I did, there were always parties, events, fundraisers, etc to attend, and put on a happy face, socialize, and be perfect model of social grace. Naturally, my illness and hospitalizations were kept secret, and always excused. All those events, parties, etc, were always catered, serving delicious, fatty, sinfully good food. It always amazed me how unfazed by the food everyone seemed to be. At the buffets, dessert tables, around the hors d'oeuvres, the bowls filled with peanuts, tiers of chocolates and tea cakes, how was it that no one else was completely preoccupied by it all? So colorful, so beautiful, so sugary, fatty, salty, just screaming to be eaten! But, being fat was not an option. I was adopted from Korea, and there is that stereotype that Asians are so skinny. . . So, I was able to get away with stuffing my face (gracefully that is), and never gaining a pound. Little did they know that, when I went to fix my hair, re-touch my makeup, I was throwing my guts up. My chubby cheeks and squinty Asian eyes were the perfect cover-up, so no one ever noticed when they got just a touch chubbier, my eyes a touch puffier.

It was easy to be bulimic. Both my parents work a lot. My sister and I fended for ourselves most of the time. Both my parents were devastated by my eating disorder, especially when I was in the hospital, I'm not saying they didn't care. They made sure I got the best medical care, went to the best rehab center, but they were never around.

I have been in recovery for 5 years now. I wonder if I ever will be rid of this. I'm so sick of it.

Once I made it to Univeristy, I was free. My parents live in NYC, and I went all the way out to Hawaii. I had a minor relapse with anorexia, but not enough to be sick. I started making friends, I became wildly independent. I made great friends, excelled in my courses. I loved life! But, I came home every holiday and vacation- Christmas and summer. Every time i come home, i relapse. I fall back into binging and purging. I hate it, i don't understand, why can I go for months in Hawaii without a single episode, only to come home and start back up as if I never stopped?

I am one of the most fortunate people I know. I've traveled around the world several times over, I travel with my family every Christmas and summer, I've been to third world countries and done service work there, and yet, I cannot shake this disease. It is sick, selfish, and painful.

This past weekend, 3 of my best friends and I went on a long weekend to my Mom's beach house in Cape Cod. We had a blast, partied hard, grilled out, went to the beach every day. And, of course, had a food holiday too, eating and eating and eating. For me, of course, it was bingeing, and bingeing, and purging. WTF!!! REALLY?!? On vacation with my friends??? That is just so screwed up to me, and yet, I can't seem to help myself!!! It almost makes me dread coming home for holidays because I will just go straight back to my bad habits, no matter how carefully I plan ahead, mentally prepare myself before I get home, and build up my self-control. Its no good.

Recently, I have gotten myself dependent on laxatives. After the year I spent in the hospital, my digestive track and bowels have never been able to get on a stable track. After Semester at Sea, having eaten crazy, exotic foods, i gained a bit of weight, but more importantly, it seemed to have messed up my bowels even more. I go once or twice a week at most, even during school terms. When I'm home, binging and purging, forget it. I can't go at all without a laxative. And now, after 3 weeks of regular use, I am up to needing to take 4 in a night to get even a small bowel movement.

I'm so sick of this cycle. I want to be normal, and get excited to come home, not dread it because I know what will happen, i just seem to have no self-control when I get to my parents house.

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