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Rediscovering the Happiness I Once Was - Fionas Bulimia Recovery Story

by Fiona


I am currently sixteen and have only been struggling with bulimia for 5 months...but as we all know, it can cause so much damage in such a short time. When I was 5 months old, my sister (who was 5 years old) was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. My life consisted of hospitals, a mother consumed by her rage, a lazy, overweight (but extremely loving) dad, and my pursuit of pleasing everybody. All the attention was focused on my sister, my little brother demanded his needs met, and my oldest sister began cutting to attract some of the attention she had lost as well. I became swallowed by my family's dysfunction and realized very early on that it was not my job to create more burdens.

I repressed all of my feelings and endured the verbal abuse and lack of attention. People recall me as the happiest, most carefree, naked, and faithful little child and until about a year ago, I genuinely believed that was my identity. But now I realize it was somebody I CREATED to survive in my environment. I should probably also mention that both my parents are amazing chefs and growing up, food was always a big deal and by the time I was in sixth grade I was 208 pounds.

I don't recall ever being teased by anyone actually, I was extremely comfortable in my body and for the most part, unaware that I was even overweight. My sister, and dad were overweight but my mom was an avid runner and seemed to be able to eat whatever she pleased. My sister, Ellen, died of cancer at 14 when I was 8, and soon after my parents divorced.

Family life became easier. My mom was less stressed and confronted her demons in therapy, but I was not comfortable with this new, happier person who seemed to have forgotten all the pain she had inflicted in me as a child. That's when my repressed anger, pain, and resentment could not remain inside me. After losing weight from dance and a healthier eating habits, I began to shed weight. I've always been athletic, tall and strong and loved my body the way it was. I always had lower stomach/intestine discomfort but it progressed with the pressure I now felt to maintain my weight loss and I began to never feel justified to eat because I felt SO FULL all the time. Until one day, the discomfort and anxiety was too much and I threw it all up. Relief...

It started like most others, just unusually large meals, then not worrying about eating too much, to now intentionally gorging myself. Within the first month I was dying to tell my mom but couldn't bring myself to do it, so I put myself into situations subconsciously where there was a chance she would see. Finally, she did...

She walked in on me throwing up into a bag on the floor of my cousin's room during winter break. I sobbed and she cradled me, confessing that she had been bulimic for 15 years of her life as well. And that I was not to be ashamed because it was not who I am. It's symptomatic of what I have been forced to deny. Through one on one therapy and incredible family members, friends, and faith in God I have been able to see this struggle as a blessing rather than a curse...

There are days where I wish to no longer exist, where I tell my mom "I just want to be gone", but there are also days where I experience joy to the fullest capacity. I believe I am incredibly privileged, actually, to be confronting this so early in my life and I guess I wanted to share because I haven't yet felt connected to other bulimics other than my mom...but I didn't mention that I'm bulimic and anorexic, which she cannot fully relate to.

Anyhow, I am a complete advocate for therapy because for me, it wasn't about body image and bulimia wasn't my disease, it was the only way I knew how to deal with my dis-ease.

Thank you for listening, I feel much better now (:

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program