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My life long disease

by Calli Mitchell
(Creston Iowa US)

My bulimia started around the age of 8 or 9 years old. My parents were divorced and I lived with my mom and her boyfriend, whom was very violent I need to add. My mom always made a big supper every night and usually their fighting was soon to follow. When a child or person gets very scared, which I was, it makes you very sick to your stomach anyways. I remember being so very scared that I threw up, but not so much on purpose. However, the feeling that came over me after I threw up was unexplainable. So, I was on the road with this horrible disease. I would throw up every night after supper into garbage bags and tie them up into knots and hide them in my closet. GROSS HUH? When I had a time come up that I was home alone I would find somewhere to toss them. Funny, I can't remember at this point where I put them.
I remember doing this all through my childhood because it made me feel good. I was finally in control of something "I thought". I was very active in sports all through school and seemed to maintain a healthy, strong body. However, I played softball year round and apparently there was some sort of sign I wasn't good at hiding because the coach approached me one day and just came out with it. She said "I know that you are bulimic and I am here to help you." I was appauled to say the least! How could she possibly know anything about me and my secret? She went on to tell me her story and how she struggled all through college with the same disease. I of course did not have whatever disease she was talking about because it did not sound at all like what I was doing or why I was doing it. I was in control, and I could stop whenever I wanted to "I thought."
Things went into a downward spiral after that. My closest friends knew I was doing it, and they knew the reasons why. They were very worried to say the least. Eventually I started to whither away. My moods were touch and go all of the time. I was so chemically embalanced that I am ashamed to say, I don't have a lot of the same memories as my friends because I was so out of it. I tried to stop many many times on my own, but I soon figured out that I had never been in control of when I threw up, bulimia was controlling me the entire time, but I did not know it. This was the scariest moment of my life. Yes, scarier than being beaten by my stepfather and/or watching him beat my mother. What had I done?
I ended up in a hospital in Omaha NE at the weight of X lbs. This was the most horrifying experience I had ever had, and still is. I was 17 years old at the time. I was no longer a healthy, strong girl! I could no longer run or do anything. I was completely at bulimia's mercy!!! I wanted to get better, but it was soooo hard to do. I could not believe that what I once thought of as being in control was quite the opposite. I was heartbroken.
I spent 6 weeks in there. I was certainly not cured when I left, but I was on the very long road to recovery. I had an amazing boyfriend at the time, who later became the husband I have now of 14 years. I had a great support system which helped, but it was really up to me to decide when it was over.
I had my many moments of relapsing off and on over the years, but when I became pregnant with my first child, which was hard to do because of some health issues due to bulimia, that's when I started to take the very best care of myself. I went years without having to purge! Don't get me wrong, I still would have a relapse of maybe a couple of times, but I never let them get to me. Throwing up came so easy to me back then, all I really had to do was bend over and WALA! After several years of not throwing up all of that became better too.
I had very scary foods, and I still do. I stay away from them for the most part. They don't really taste all that great to me now anyways. I suppose it just brings back the memory for me. This is just like any other addiction. It never really completely goes away, and you just have to learn how to cope with all of it. The huge difference is, an alcoholic can quit drinking alcohol alltogether, but we cannot stop eating food! We have to learn an entirely different way of living and eating! It is certainly not easy.
I am 32 years old now. I have 3 children and have been with my husband for 16 years! I am a recovered bulimic for about 10 years now, however, in the last couple weeks have had a relapse! I just want to point out that this is a life long struggle that takes work forever! I am moving past my relapse now. We all deal with stress differently, and sometimes when life gets to me this is something I tend to fall back on. Don't be upset with yourself when you have a set back! Accept that you might have some set backs. Just be prepared to tackle them right away as it is a very scary disease, and I am always scared when I have a relapse, which is how I discovered this website! I also smoked for 15 years, and I have to say that quitting smoking was a piece of cake compared to quitting bulimia. You can do it! It is possible! Do it! Own your life again! Life is amazing if you just let it be! Good luck!

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