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Just another cliche

My biggest fear is the day I overhear someone whisper "she had such potential to succeed and she simply threw it all away..."

No-one would ever guess that I'm a struggling bulimic.

At the end of this year I will qualify as a Doctor. I'm a hot-blooded vixen of a red-head, a shameless flirt and I can put up a facade that almost makes me come across as intensely calculating and in control.

My big secret is that I am the unfortunate captive of my own mind. The paradox being that my mind has the potential of being my strongest weapon and ally.

At high school I was the girl who secretly criticized the girls suffering with eating disorders. I used to state loudly that I am way too level headed and independent to allow something of the sort to happen to me.

As a successful sportswoman I had the pleasure of eating whatever I felt like, whenever I felt like eating.

One year into varsity(2000km from home), I met a graduating medical student who was the dream man to every girl on campus. Our friends kept reminding us how we were the perfect couple and the girls swooned over him every time we went out together, or when he wrote me songs and sang them to me while performing in the varsity's best acapella team, or when we watched the first team play rugby matches, or when he put on shows on the piano or saxophone...because he was the perfect allrounder. What he was underneath his own facade made me hate my perfect body. Behind closed doors he was manipulative, cruel, demanding and in an attempt to ignore what was happening I stopped eating and started running and gymming just to escape the relationship I was in.

In a few months my BMI was at X. My hormones had stopped circulating, I was heavily depressed. Everyone thought I had a chronic illness and didn't want to hassle me about it.

2 years later my parents and sister sat me down and blamed me for everything. They didn't want to hear about why it had happened, they told me to sort my shit out or they would take me out of varsity and put me into an institution.

My stubborn reaction was to be angry at them, at God and the rest of the world and to lie to them about seeing a dietician and a psychologist. I started restricting my food intake and counting calories and to myself I looked fat.

This carried on for another 2 years.

One afternoon, after a long day of working in the hospital, I blacked out. I couldn't feel anything - not warmth or affection, no anger, no hate, no happiness, not the rain pelleting down on my paper thin skin...NOTHING.

I was so frightened when I came around that I locked myself in my room and cried for hours. How could I have done this to myself? Was is worth ruining my own life and putting my career and patients in danger? Was it worth the pain I caused my friends and family?

So I started the slow journey to recovering from my "anorexia". It went well for a while, my emotions returned, I started having my period again, I was on the student council...and then it all spun out of control. After a few months my body realized that I was feeding it again and I started eating all the time, non-stop, and absolutely anything and everything.

I would eat until I felt sick...and one night I threw it all up.
I started putting on the much needed weight but one side of me was still retaliating against getting fat.

Binge/purging became the only way I could maintain a bit of control. Through the vicious cycle I had become obsessed with B/P'ing. I would deliberately drive out to buy specific foods, and stuff my face knowing that I could simply throw it up afterwards.

2 years on now things are out of control. It's like I don't have the willpower to get out of this situation and it is ruining my life.

When I am stressed, or someone comments on how healthy I look, or my new boyfriend says I am much hotter now since I put on some weight, the guilt sets in and I hardly make it through half a day without B/P'ing.

My new life looks perfect - but I feel so trapped and so guilty. I am so scared my family or boyfriend find out.

I need to study but B/P'ing haunts me all the time...

Please, help me - I don't want to become just another sad cliche.

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program