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My Bulimia Story

by Mac

I suffer from bulimia, admittedly not as severely as some other cases I have read about where they purge 5 times a day, but it has been a problem in my life for around 3 years now and it has become worse recently. On average, in a week I would binge and purge 4-5 days out of 7. The other 2-3 days would be under a very restricted, calorie-controlled diet, where treats are out of the question.

It began when I was around 12 years old and my body was changing. I was developing breasts and hips, and my figure was filling out. I thought I was just getting fat and eating too much, and my self-image was way off. Looking back at photos, I see a very slim, healthy young girl. At the time I thought I looked terrible, and the way I looked was constantly on my mind. What's more, I had developed quite bad acne so I really hated my appearance and seldom ever felt attractive, which is all I ever wanted. I would compare myself to some friends I had that I thought had 'perfect' bodies. People at school teased me about my skin, and I couldn't do anything about it, so I decided to focus on my body - at least this was something I could change. I loved to snack, though, and I found it hard cutting foods out of my diet so I thought up of a 'genius' plan to have my cake and eat it: I would just throw everything up afterwards. I did this whenever I felt I had eaten something 'bad' or eaten too much. I fainted twice at school at different times, although I can't be sure if this was due to bulimia or not.

I confided in a friend about it, and at first she was supportive. However, we had an immature, schoolgirl quarrel which resulted in her emailing my Mum about what I had told her. My parents were very worried, but I denied everything, however I'm sure they didn't truly believe me. I moved schools and as far as I remember my bulimic behaviour continued on occasion, with a cycle of diets, leading to failure, leading to binging then purging. I don't remember ever having had a healthy, normal relationship with food, despite being provided with and enjoying wholesome, healthy meals. It was what I ate on my own which threw everything out of control.

I began boarding at school and it was a whole new environment, where I shared a home with lots of other girls. I still found ways of binging and purging, and disguised it. I would sneak food up to my room, sometimes whole packets of biscuits and hoards of toast and butter which I guzzled down easily. Then I would rush off to the most secluded bathroom, turn on the taps at full blast to disguise the sound, and use my toothbrush to purge out what I had eaten. Sometimes I would be so ashamed of what I was doing I would cry in my room for ages, and I even resorted to self-harm sometimes.

Then one summer things had changed. I had gained quite alot of weight, because I stopped purging after my binges due to a fear of that depressed feeling after throwing up. I was horrified by what I looked like in photos that were taken of me, and decided that food was the enemy. I went cold turkey and stopped binging altogether, and ate only a few bites of each meal. I lost about 12 pounds in 1 and a half weeks. I was proud of myself at the time, when my friends commented on how much weight I'd lost. But then I noticed my hair falling out, my skin getting bad again, my nails getting weak and I had no energy and I was often in a bad mood. When I got back to school after the summer, I was back in an environment where everybody ate together, and if people saw you weren't eating enough, they would comment. So I began eating again, and eating, and eating... And so the binge-purge cycle returned.

Since then, it has remained constant, however recently it has become a bit more out of control. I feel sick to the bone of it and desperately want a way out. I took the first step a few days ago by opening up to my parents about my problem, and talking it through with them. We spoke about seeing a doctor, which I have yet to do, and I admit I am scared but I know I should go. After all, what have I got to lose? I am only 16 years old, and I want to enjoy my youth as much as possible. Reading success stories has inspired me and comforted me, letting me know that recovery is possible and bulimia doesn't have to last forever. So I thank all of you who have posted your stories, and it's a huge comfort knowing I am not alone. And I sincerely wish all of you still suffering the best of luck with your recovery, because it is completely possible for all of us :)

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program