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I started and deleted the first sentence of this story a multiple times. That's the problem with me - beginnings are always difficult. I never know how to begin anymore. I have started all over again multiple times now and I have always hit rock bottom afterwards. I always thought that there is no lower to go but then I discover there is. And I hit it.

I am 22 years old and I have suffered anorexia/bulimia for 2 years. Unlike most of you I started rather late with the most fashionable illness of the 21st century. Like with smoking. Actually the two coincided but more on that later.

How it started? I have no fucking idea. I guess it started years ago but it got worse when I went to university in the UK. For the first time I was living away from my parents. I was absolutely confident that I will succeed. I easily make new friends, I am not shy, and I feel good almost everywhere I go. At least I was like that two years ago.

I have always had some issues about my weight. I wasn't skinny and I wasn't fat. You could say I was normal with a little bit of fat around and big tits. My friends always envied me about them and I always envied them about their bodies. In high school I rarely had any comments about my structure. I only remember a few now, but back then when I heard them I didn't notice them. I guess subconsciously I did but I realize that now. A classmate of mine told me to get of the chair because I will break it. My boyfriend used to tell me "Fatty". Nothing of that mattered to me back then. Most probably, as I said, the brain was storing these experiences waiting for a proper moment to unleash them.

And the moment came when I arrived in the UK. It wasn't stressful at the beginning. I was away from my boyfriend and I was taking it pretty hard but other than that I was enjoying myself. I found new friends (most of them I have lost now) and I was having the fun only first year at university can offer to you. For a few months. Then I started somewhat innocently. I wanted to lose a few pounds by exercising. I started exercising 2-3 times a week and eating like before. There were no evident results so I decided to take harsh measures. I started exercising 5 times a week. At nights I usually went out with my friends and after lots of alcohol I end up eating lots and of course there was no result again.

At Christmas when I came home I realized that not only I hadn't lost weight but I had gained weight. That is when I started. I found a website that had "wise" advice about eating. Starting from my favorite: "Never ever eat an apple after 4pm otherwise you will be A BIG FAT PIG". Not in that exact words but you get my point. I bought jeans I couldn't fit in and made it my goal to fit in them in 10 days. I succeeded. When I went home for the April break all of my friends were astonished. "Aaa, you lost so much weight. You look amazing". You are people obsessed with their weight, you know how this feels. I felt incredible, amazing, proud with myself. I wanted more. I said I would stop at Xkg's but then I went on and on and on... Until I reached Xkg. I lost X kg for 4 months. I was scary to look at (at least that's what everybody said). I didn't. I liked myself. I thought I was very pretty.

Somewhere in between this dramatic loss of weight I started counseling. It helped a lot while I was home but the moment I went back to uni things would fall apart.

My second year at uni was a series of binging and purging. I've done all you mentioned. I've stole food from my housemates, I have thrown up in every possible place you can think of, I have come up with lies not to eat something (my favorite: I am allergic; at some point I became allergic to almost everything). My housemate was really supportive, he even locked in his food. I managed to open the lock up.

I will skip my second year and the summer after. Same shit different day. Bunging, purging, restraining from food, exercising. I thought I had hid rock bottom. Well, I hadn't. Third year was the worst of all. I thought I was getting better but in fact I was getting worse. Third year I rediscovered the possibilities of bulimia - overeating and not throwing up. I didn't read if anyone of you had this symptom but I had. I wanted to hurt myself, to make myself suffer. I was hating myself and I wanted another reason to hate myself even more. I started buying enormous amounts of food and stuffing them. I only threw up when I just couldn't take anymore. Just to eat again. Consequently, I dramatically gained weight. Which made me hate myself even more. Every time I looked in the mirror I started hitting myself. I thought "You are a big fat thing! You will never lose weight. Better go binge". And that is what I do. Everyday. Every other day. I throw up some of it but not all of it. I am about to finish my final year at uni. I have got amazing grades, I have been accepted to the top European school but don't ask me how I did it. I have not even the slightest idea how between the purging and the bunging I managed to study and get really good grades.

I don't know what to do now. I will go home and try to stabilize myself again. It is difficult. Difficult to watch myself in the mirror, difficult to see in other people's eyes that they know what it is about. I have lost so many friends, I have closed inside myself, I am not the person I used to be. I don't know the person I am anymore.

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program