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My Story... the awakening

by Melanie
(Sydney, Australia)

The awakening……

In the beginning Bulimia seemed like a pretty good value proposition to me – I could eat what I wanted and stay slim. What I didn’t realise some of the awful side effects…
For the past 12 months (possibly longer) I have been struggling with a bloated / puffy face. For the life of me I couldn’t work out what was causing it. I have attributed it to a myriad of causes and blamed it on soy, blamed it on dairy, assumed that it may have been from lack of sleep or that I just looked ugly. I have tried everything to get rid of it – detoxs, colonics, gluten free diets, no coffee all to no avail or with limited improvement.
Then 10 days ago after a relatively bad but by no means my worst b/p experience (3*) I woke up to a swollen face, protruding glands, a sore and burning throat and the dreaded puffy eyes, I looked like shit – everything that I did not want to look like. It is worth mentioning that I was on a detox diet at the time and as a result had eliminated most of those foods that I had assumed were the causes of the puffy face. This time I had nothing to blame it on and then a thought occurred to me that maybe my glands were up from the previous days activities. I went to work and googled ‘swollen face + vomiting’ I was hit with a million and one search responses , words like chipmunk cheeks and pictures of people’s faces that resembled mine flooded the screen and then it dawned on me…….This is why.

My mind was flooded with thoughts, comforted by a strange sense of relief. It all made sense. My sister and friends have been calling me a chipmunk for the last yr… do they know? Was it that obvious all along? Why didn’t I work this out before? I HATE the chipmunk cheeks. I started thinking some more about different things, maybe then reason I struggled to lose weight despite all of the exercise and best efforts was because of the binging episodes. It wasn’t as if I was eating and throwing up after every meal. I would enjoy a normal healthy day and then go home from work and binge a couple of times before finally eating a meal or two and going to bed…all those extra calories. It was like a puzzle magically fell into place. The fact that I have struggled to concentrate at school and uni as well – I was always a good student (naughty but bright enough that I excelled) there is a direct correlation between the time that my ED started and a drop in my grades and ability to concentrate.

I don’t want to have a puffy face, I don’t want to be ugly and I don’t want to be fat. All of this is because of the bulimia – the one thing that was supposed to be controlling this was actually making it worse. I know it sounds vain but there it was – I had my motivator to stop. How strange though that the motivator that started it has oddly enough turned out to be the motivator to end it. Vanity started it and vanity will finish it.
So now I have my chance to stop. I had considered it before on the basis of time – I didn’t want to have this with me for the rest of my life and I always mindful of the fact that It had started when I was 16. If I was still doing this in 3 years (at 30) it will have been with me for half my life and for every day after that point it will be controlling me. Something really irks me about still having this with me at 30 - I know deep down that if it goes on until then that it will be harder and harder to beat. Im a mind over matter person and I believe that If I can stop before it has been with me for the majority (over 50
% of my life) then I can write it off as something bad and move on – it won’t be dominating me.

A new beginning…

So here I am, day 14. There is definitely some improvement in my face, I am suffering from some bloating but I am not to upset by it. I am determined as hell to beat this and move on with my life. I am now firmly of the belief that I cannot look good, attain a flat stomach or be at my slimmest when I am bulimic.
I am confident that I can move forward;

1. Because this is the first time I have ever actually wanted to. I have flirted with the idea in the past but it was always a ‘oh that would be nice thought, but I never believed that I could or actually wanted to do it.

2. All of those crazy health kicks have actually taught me a thing or two about nutrition and psychology. That time when I do function as a normal person (2 meals a day) or up until I go home after work is a very healthy balanced diet. Generally speaking I don’t eat shit.

3. I have discovered yoga and Pilates, I have been committed ot this for around 2 years and really enjoy it. I also get results. I trust that by engaging in this I can achieve my goals.

It’s funny though the seeds of change were being sewn at the start of the year – I wrote down that one of my goals this yr was to conquer this – I didn’t believe that I would actually be doing it.

Thanks for letting me share my story; this is the first time that I have ever openly and honestly shared it with anyone.

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program