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Preventing the Purge

by Emmy Dixon
(Kokomo, IN)

I am 16 years old and began purging four months ago. Eight months ago I was hospitalized for severe depression, anxiety, and several suicide attempts. I come from a family of successful women. Valedictorians, doctors, and severe perfectionism were my role models. Being involved in everything was normal. I developed an athletic physique from years of gymnastics, soccer, dance, swimming, and running. I took pride in my body shape, avoided all forms of sugar, limited my portion size, and exercised extra to develop that coveted six pack. Entering high school, I took a break from sports and became seriously competitive on the violin and saxophone. I told myself that I always wanted to be able to see my abs and if I didn't, I would kill myself. End of freshman year rolled around and boy was I in good shape. Not just physically! I was second in a class of 200, traveled to the state in violin and saxophone solos, placed third in the talent show, and went to regionals in the 800. I won highest GPA and most valued athlete for the track team that year. Boy did I enter that summer happy as a hippo.

That summer, we took a family vacation to Europe. Approaching the trip, I was excited but secretly worried I would gain weight while overseas, because we all know the French and Italians love to eat. In fact, touring, walking, sweating, continuing my cross country workouts, and eating less because food was so expensive in Europe, had the opposite effect. I lost the little body fat that I had and was ecstatic! I returned to America and entered sophomore year smaller than ever. The only down side was that I had no jeans that fit me properly, yet I survived since I was way too busy with marching band, cross country, spell bowl, and a rigorous academic curriculum to make a shopping trip.

Unfortunately life took a turn for the worse when I became overwhelmed. The little voice in my head twisted the world into a dark, evil place. I hated everything and everybody, school, teachers, sisters, parents, coaches, teammates, band members, classmates, neighbors, God, and most of all myself. I was tired all the time, had no time for relaxation or my own pursuit of happiness. I loathed life with a passion. I dreamed of plans to kill myself and end the pain. I tried every tactic to avoid school, and when I did go I did not participate and struggled through the halls despairing at how far I had sunk. My mom, a neurologist, felt she could handle my depression even after I was admitted to the ER after my first overdose. I had given up from the beginning. I transformed from a mature young woman into a baby, selfish, and determined to hurt herself because she was tired and saw herself as a failure. I believed I would not make it to college or even to junior year, I worried that I would get fat and have no friends, lay around all the time, and not learn anything, be ugly and have bad teeth. I saw no hope in life for myself and plotted to run in grit of a semi.
Thankfully, that was prevented and sent to the physch ward for the third time. I was happy to go, so I didn't have to return.

My spiral into failure I took out on eating and gained back the weight I lost in Europe. This devastated me even more and heightened my need to end my failure.

With the help of several doctors, support from friends, teachers, and family, and intense therapy, I became healthy and went back to school.

I began purging at a slumber party. I had had so much dessert that I was fit to burst, so I went upstairs and puked for the first time ever. I thought it would be a one time thing, but it has morphed into an enslaving machine. Everytime I think I get on the right track I relapse and suicidal thoughts, feelings of failure and embarrassment return. It is hard to focus on school, hobbies, family, running, and God when I have nagging thoughts in my brain plotting I get down to the kitchen. I want this to stop and I know I have the self-control and dedication to prevent the purge. I know I have so much potential I just need to capture that strength and prime it. Self-discipline. Women's mightiest weapon! Prevent the purge!

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

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