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Swallowed straw

by Jen

I am 40 years old, and suffered from bulimia between the ages of 14 & 16. It seems like ages ago, but reading through these stories brings back the ugly hell I put myself through as a young teen. In fact, the reason I visited this page is because to this day, I still suffer from intestinal problems of an undiagnosed nature that I'm sure are related to the horrible treatment of my digestive system over 24 years ago. I suffer from bouts of intestinal tightness that is debilitating and mentally brings back the memories of my living hell. If there's any message I have for young women suffering from bulimia, it is that you were created to contribute in very special, unique ways in this life....and your creator gave you a body to take care of to carry out those purposes. Bulimia has long term physical consequences. The sooner you stop the behavior and start caring for yourself, the better chance you have at living without major consequences. You may think that 40 is so far off and that you have plenty of time, but I'm here to tell you, every day matters.

My bulimia started when I was 14. I was fat from the time I was in first grade and was hurting so bad inside from being made fun of at school. My home life provided my basics, food, shelter, and clothing, but my father was a Vietnam veteran, and clearly laid down the laws in our house. He drank too much and I remember feeling very disconnected and anxious in his presence. I felt rejected at home, too. I wanted to be thin. I thought life would be just wonderful if only I could be skinny. And at first, it was. I became anorexic first, at the age of 13. I was a tall, big boned girl, so my X lbs. as a 7th grader may not seem slim, but considering my 5' 7" frame, it was a me that no one had thought possible. Boys started to notice and like me and I was loving my anorexia. Then, things turned dark. I was so hungry and obsessed about food. I wanted to eat so bad and remember laying in bed at night thinking of nothing but food. I learned how to binge and purge. I have such vivid memories of the worst nights for me. There were nights when I ate everything I could get my hands on, all night long. I had to wait until everyone went to bed before vomiting. It didn't always work. Sometimes, too much time elapsed and I wasn't able to purge. So there I'd be, laying in bed with a very, very full belly. I couldn't sleep and would sweat so bad my pillow would be soaked by morning. I felt so gross and hated myself with a vengeance.

I routinely puked in the shower. I started using straws to help me vomit because sometimes my fingers just didn't seem to get the job done. I would hide these straws behind a refrigerator in the basement ( where the shower was), and I'd reuse them. They reeked of puke. I know, gross, but you know all to well what this disease can drive you to do. One night, I was so frustrated because the straw wasn't working. My belly was so bloated and I couldn't throw up. I was bent over and held the straw at the very tip between my index finger & thumb and pushed it as far as it would go down my throat. I lost the grip and swallowed it. I panicked, not knowing whether this was serious. My dad worked third shift, so I had to go tell my mom. She called my dad and he came home from work and they took me to the ER. My dad didn't speak a word to me on the way to the hospital. He was so angry. It felt so cold in the car that night. I was humiliated, scared, and hated myself. Having to tell ER staff what I did was the most embarrassing thing I've ever had to do.

I could write a book about my recovery journey, which physically was cold turkey (once I decided to stop binging/purging) at the age of 16. I never went back, physically, with the binge/ purge behavior. But I'd done physical damage to my body and the mental journey would be one that forced me to face many demons over a long period of time. Worth it, ABSOLUTELY!!! No matter what, life without bulimia is heaven compared to life with it. Choose not to live in the cold, dark isolation of bulimia. Choose life and openness to the life your creator meant for you. We were not created to be bulimic.

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program