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Putting an end to my life of shame. KT's Bulimia Recovery

by Kt
(Cincinnati, OH)

Thank you Shaye...

I have learned so much from your website and what I have learned has lead me to today, my new day, me new life. I share with you what has been the biggest perpetrator of my ED cycle and what has prevented me from accepting and loving my inner self. Finally, I have uncovered my inner shame, and am baring my soul in hopes to help all those struggling with ED or who have any feelings of self-doubt.

How do I understand it, how do I live with it, accept it and move beyond it???
Shame is a horrible thing to live with; it has lead me to feelings of rejection, guilt, isolation, self-hatred and numerous other self-deprecating thoughts. I have lived with shame for at least 17 years- the time I have been actively bulimic, and even before that I have memories of it stemming to early childhood. Shame does not feel good, it hurts, it has obliterated my self-integrity, made me feel inferior and left me a failure in a dead corpse. It causes me to feel judged, criticized and hated by everyone all of the time. Even around my own family, including my parents, sister and husband, my mind has convinced me to truly believe that they see me as inadequate and they know I am a rotten piece of sh*t like I feel. Shame sucks. Shame is not the answer or direction for healing.

What got me thinking about this intense shame I feel was a session on emotion regulation in my DBT group. For those of you who don't know, DBT is dialectical behavior therapy. It takes a cognitive and behavioral approach to treat pervasive emotion dysregulation, which is a trait of many ED patients. The main components of DBT are learning skills that address mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance and emotion regulation. One of the core emotions in emotion regulation is shame, and when we went through it in group session it got my wheels turning, ignited the flame under my ass and has propelled me into a whole new realm of my treatment.

Shame is the toxic, self-punishing manner I have used to make myself feel worthless, empty, hollow, like not a person - unlovable. Shame is the method my brain has used to deal with the way ED has consumed me and literally taken over and ruined/ran my life. Shame makes me feel horrible, rotten to my inner core over the things I have done- the binging, purging, spending, restricting, lying, hiding, stealing, eating out of garbage cans, creeping around to find a secretive place to purge (I could go on for paragraphs); ultimately having given up my life, feeling like I have not really lived for the past 17 years. The shame and ED behaviors became a perpetual cycle. I would engage in the ED behaviors to quiet/cover the feelings of shame I felt about what I was doing, and the more I engaged in the behaviors the more shame I felt. ED became the only way I could find to deal with my insecurities, with my feelings of being inherently flawed, damaged and defective. The shame drained my energy, kept me from reaching out for help and made me a prisoner of my own disordered mind.

So, what am I to do? Keep living a life of shame? Keep letting food control me? Keep killing myself? NO! I finally realize that I have the power to get myself out of this and turn my life around, and it is about damn time. I am Katie. I matter and people care about and love me. I am a good person. I have self-worth. And I acknowledge the ultimatum- I cannot have both ED and the rest of my life. Thus, I choose to have compassion and to love myself for who and what I am, and to finally live. I am not perfect and that is ok. There will be more hurdles along the way, but as long as I am still fighting I will be able to face them and keep on going. I realize that I am human and there will be a range of emotions, feelings and experiences that I will have to deal with and accept. I have fought and damaged myself and my body for too long. It is time to nourish my inner soul, focus my attention on thoughts of respect and awe for what my body has endured and what it does for me every day. I apologize to and forgive myself. I am able to gracefully accept the consequences of my actions and have decided to put a stop to the rumination and self-deprecation. I CHOOSE TO LIVE!!!

Today is a new day. I am accepting myself as a worthwhile human being and will strive to live my life to its fullest. I hope anyone who reads this can learn from my experiences and find love and acceptance in themselves. It is my time to heal and finally live. I thank my family, therapists and friends for helping me to get here. I am grateful for this website for opening my eyes to the fact that I do not suffer alone. In the same way, I feel that I do not heal on my own either, but only by bringing others along with me. Here is to a life worth living for all of us.

Love yourself,

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program