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My Greatest Fear

by L

I am really happy that I ran across this site. I think it is wonderful that there is a place where we can express our emotions and share what what we feel about our eating disorders, without having to worry about being shamed or laughed at.

I am 39 years old and I was anorexic and bulimic for a total of about 9 years. It all started when I was 15. My parents divorced and at first, I laughed it off. night I sat up in my bed and it hit me like a ton of bricks..I became very depressed. I stopped eating and the control I felt from curbing my appetite made me feel like I was accomplishing something.

Also, at this time, it seemed boys noticed me more. Being 4'11" and always a petite girl, I had an awesome figure! Girlfriends were always telling me, "you make me sick!", "You're so cute and I wish I could be little like you." "You ought to be a cheerleader because you would always be on the top."...comments like this made me feel good, but it also fueled my anorexia. I was proud to be tiny (I was really naturally tiny..I weighed around 110 before anorexia and went down to 85).

Besides my parents divorce, my father was an alcoholic and he used to beat my mother. He never hurt me; I was his pride and joy, his little girl. Growing up, and even today, my mother was always distant and I felt she was never really there for me. I think she had some depression herself. She was always on a diet, but I don't think she had an eating disorder. Anyhow, I felt like the invisible child oftentimes. I had to grow up fast. I was a latchkey kid and I was always alone. Many times we didn't have a lot of food in the house. I used to always feel like I had to hide things. I never had company over, I was too embarrassed. We were rather poor.

When I became 17 I got pregnant by a boy who just did not care. I had an abortion and my father pretty much disowned me. He said the most hurtful words to me: "If you think your still my little girl you are full of shit." I tell you, those words crushed me! I still cry today about that. Our relationship was never the same since and it breaks my heart. I had come to realize that I was no longer the perfect daughter. I was damaged goods.

As a result of the abortion I felt so ashamed and disgusted. I felt like I did not deserve love and everyone hated me. I was paranoid all the time. Because the pregnancy made me eat, I had gained some weight and had a taste for food again. Like all minds of an anorexic/bulimic, we feel that eating makes us become disgusting, out of control pigs. Well, as you have probably figured out, Ana's friend, Bully came along. I discovered from a girl at school that I can eat all I want and not gain anything. It was wonderful at first. I have always had a weakness for sweets and I was determined to have my cake and eat it too! My bulimia never got as bad as some, but it was an ordeal. My dentist had to fill several of my teeth and I even lost a couple of molars. He commented that my enamel was really thin. I've had a few fainting episodes. I went to the ER on my own once because I was having bad chest pains and constant stomach burning and pain. The ER doctor asked me if I was bulimic, of course, I said no.

Fortunately, when I got a job with health insurance I was able to see a Psychologist. I learned to accept the way I am and why I do things I do. I started seeing myself in a better light. I am still afraid to get fat and do not like my body. I wish I could lose about 20 lbs. It never goes away....the fear of being fat never goes away. I think that is the biggest part of recovery..not letting your fear of fat get to you. I have not b/p in about 12 yrs, but I do sometimes restrict what I eat, but I never starve. I hate it! Why can't I be normal? I want to be the girl who is not ashamed to eat a big, messy cheeseburger at the red light! I am so tired of having to hide my body. I hate shopping for clothes because nothing looks good on me. The bigger the clothes, the uglier they get. I am sure all this is just in my head, but it is a very real thought for me.

Today, the fear of getting fat or caught eating cheeseburgers in the car is not my biggest fear. My biggest fear is that my little daughter will have an eating disorder. She is only 6, but I know that when she gets older she will start to judge herself. A girl doesn't have to have had a traumatic experience to develop an eating disorder..A simple compliment can start the charade. All it takes is a compliment or an envious look from another.

I feel most "normal" mothers fear their daughters will get sexually assaulted or end up with an abusive boyfriend...nope...not this former anorexic/bulimic. I fear my daughter will forever worry about staying skinny and live her life around food. I pray I am not right. I pray that she will be strong enough to not let Ana and her Bully friend take over her life. It's not a way to live; and believe me, I will be watching her like a hawk. Been there done that! I also know that if she does develop an eating disorder I will help her before she gets too bad off. I do not want my daughter to end up like me. I want her to be happy and embrace herself for who she is. She is beautiful and smart! I want her to be able to love food in a healthy way. I imagine how wonderful that could be. I will probably never know for myself.

So, that is my story. I am sure I will get some hateful comments about abortion and I hope that those of you who are pro-life do not criticize me too much. You have to remember that it was Ana telling me what to do, controlling my thoughts and making me very selfish. Today, I would never have an abortion. I have two beautiful children and I love them very much. So, please don't judge me by my past. It was not me that was making me do those was the eating disorder controlling me as usual.

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program