I signed up to this website a long time ago, in absolute desperation. At the time I remember thinking that I would never get away from my bulimia. It was bad, I was tormented, it consumed my life. I just wanted life back the way it was before I was bulimic.
I won't tell you how long I had been bulimic. All I will say is it was all I had known for a very long time, and I couldn't imagine life without it, though I desperately wanted a normal existence.
I feared weight gain worse than the most painful death imaginable.
I am recovered. Completely. I don't even think I am jinxing it by saying it out loud. I rarely even think about the fact that I'm recovered. In fact, the only reason I came here to post was an update email I received from your-bulimia-recovery.com. For a long time I had avoided support website like these, because when I finally made bulimia release it's grip, I wanted to keep it away, I didn't want to see the word, read or hear about it. After a while I settled into life without bulimia, and traces of anxiety around eating slipped away day by day.
I used to visit this site a lot. Stories of recovery aren't something I ever came across frequently while I was bulimic, only stories of hopelessness and struggle. For that reason I wasn't sure I believed I would recover. Now I know why I didn't see many stories. I think that a lot of people, once recovered, don't find the need, or maybe not the time, to share their story, because bulimia actually becomes a distant memory, you're too busy living your new fantastic life.
I can't even remember how I transitioned from bulimia, to those first breakthroughs of being without it. It slipped away as silently as it came. It was truly astonishing, considering how long I wished it would go. I have no date from which I can count how many days I have recovered. I thought that would be the day that I would remember for the rest of my life. But I can't. It's a distant memory.
How did I recover? I tried everything. I fought it with every fibre of my being. It was exhausting. I tried counselling, seeing a clinical psychologist, dialectical behaviour therapy, support groups online and in the community. I read books, so may goddamn books. I tried meal plans and supplements, I tried food monitoring, meditation and mindfulness. Inpatient programmes were out of the question, treatment cost thousands.
I kept practising self-forgiveness. I think this was the most important one. All the while I wished that one day I would stop thinking about food and my weight.
I also read about prozac, 60mg daily, as a treatment for bulimia. I had read a lot about it online about how it caused weight gain. I was terrified and refused treatment from day 1. I also didn't believe in it's efficacy because it was no miracle cure. Studies had shown that it's effect on binge behaviours soon wore off and relapse was not uncommon.
I lost my job because of bulimia, and had to move back in with my parents. My mother cried. It was the lowest point.
I stayed struggling on with my recovery tactics, using a range of helpful techniques that I had learned from various different treatment methods that I had read about in books. In particular, I found a book called Intuitive Eating, by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. It was the best weapon against bulimia in terms of bibliotherapy. I also found distraction more and more helpful. Before it wouldn't matter what I tried to distract myself with, I would be tormented with thoughts of food and would eventually give in to the binge. I struggled on, and actually learned how to play guitar as a distraction. I found my concentration, which has previously been very poor, began to improve. I had always been fascinated with photography, and I saved up and bought a dslr, and started teaching myself photography online through youtube tutorials and websites.
Today, I am not the girl I was before bulimia. I am even stronger and more resilient. I eat what I want. I exercise when I want. If I can't be bothered, I don't force myself to get up and exercise. If I want a slice of chocolate cake, I eat it. If I want one more biscuit, I eat it. And then I forget about it. I go about my life and when I feel my tummy rumbling, that's when I eat next, or if I'm running out of energy. And I will eat what the hell I want. No food rules. No calorie counting. If I eat a little too much, I go lie down and take a nap. No food is ruled out.
I won't tell you what I weigh. I will tell you that I am a very healthy size, the same size I had been before bulimia (I had lost a lot of weight and put it back on during my bulimia however). I have always been fairly athletic in my build before bulimia, and that's the way I am now. I am the same weight I had been constantly throughout my teens and twenties before bulimia started. Prozac didn't even change that. I had once feared that if I let myself just accept myself after a binge, and not purged, I would gain little by little. I didn't. I am amazed. But it makes sense. Because your body will start to trust you again and adjust to your natural weight.
I understand that some people will naturally have a curvier figure, which does not fit into the culturally thin ideals, and fear their weight settling back to "normal", because they never liked their body anyway. Well there is only one answer to this. Learn to love it. Forget about the norms. Just like everyone has their own taste in different body shapes, there will be people who totally want your type. There are the guys who want the skinny girl with the gap in her legs. There are guys who maintain that the "gap" between the legs is repulsive. There are guys that maintain that "bones are for dogs". Same with girls. Robert Pattinson may well have been voted the sexiest man in the world but I personally am in no way atttracted to him. Personally, I am not attracted to men who are too "beefy", and I believe in there being such a thing as "too much muscle". I like really average boys. You won't please everyone! But you will be perfect for someone. Nothing too perfect. So trust me, the cultural ideals are irrelevant.
I want to end by assuring you to keep fighting it, if you find yourself in the struggle against bulimia. There is light on the other side and you'll make it one day.