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The Little Engine

by Ann

I can remember when I was four or five, eating candy with my sister at our grandma's house. My younger sister had a pack of gummies. I had red vines. I can remember reading the ingredients and seeing that my sister's candy had no fat in it, while mine did. I refused to eat the rest of my candy and instead traded it for my sister's.
I was a chubby child. The ladies at my church used to pinch my cheeks because they "were so darling." I knew I was not skinny, but never really did anything about it. In elementary school, my best friend was a ballet dancer. She was tall and willowy. My opposite. She had the appetite of a horse and would eat all the time. As her best friend, I would follow her lead. It wasn't until I was in middle school that I really started paying attention to my weight. Coming from a small elementary school, surrounded by friends, to a public middle school with absolutely no one that I knew, was a shocking change for me. Boys were suddenly no longer icky and everyone seemed so sure of themselves. Growing up, my mother used to tell my sister and I stories of how thin she used to be. "Only 92 pounds in college" she said over and over. "I wouldn't eat all day, then eat a small dinner." It was mortifying. At only twelve I was already X pounds. I stopped eating lunch, despite the protests of my friends, but lost no weight. Instead, I started eating a great deal after school. But, even then, I wasn't overly obsessed with my weight. It bothered me, but by then I was making friends and things seemed to be getting better.

In 2007, during 8th and 9th grade my aunt, grandmother and childhood friend, along with my fish, bird and two of my cats, all died. It was an incredibly dark and depressing time of my life. Pictures of my family during this period all feature me, unsmiling and dark eyed next to my sister and brother who are the picture of health and youth. My eating disorder blossomed into full life then...

In freshman year, I went from X lbs to X in a matter of two months. I hardly ate and lost my period for a long while. On the weekends, starving and exhausted, I would eat anything and everything, only to feel self loathing and disgust the following morning where the routine would start again. This continued must of high school. I knew that some thing had to change, but couldn't find the will power.

Finally, at the end of senior year, I confided in my mom. Three years earlier, crying and at wits end, I had told my sister about my problem. She had brushed it aside as a misdiagnosis and quickly forgot. When I told my mom, crying once more and completely embarrassed, I was met with similar disbelief, but at least she didn't brush it aside. She took me to see an unhelpful therapist, under whose guidance, I learned all sorts of ways to cope with my dad's alcoholism, but never spent any time discussing my self hate and messed up relationship with food.

When I went away to college, things seemed to get better for a time, but as I settled into the routine of classes, and learned my roommates' daily schedule, I started sneaking food (mine and theirs I'm ashamed to admit) and would binge nearly every day. I had gained most of my weight back in high school, and had lost a lot of it when I first came to college. I was now, and am, in an embarrassing weight roller coaster I fear is obvious for all to see. It's summer now, and every day, I binge. I've trained my self to no longer throw it up, so now it sits in me and makes me feel terrible.

I college, I met an amazingly sweet, funny and caring man, and more than anything want to be healthy. I want to be the person he thinks I am. But, sometimes, it feels like the pressure is too much. I eat all the time now, and feel so alone and depressed. I dislike who I am when I am in the deepest dredges of bulimia and an struggling so hard to get out. This website, I hope will be an answer to my prayers. Every morning, I wake up, hopeful that this day will be better than the one before, and every night, I go to bed with a bleeding heart and gaping hopelessness. I don't know how much longer I can wake up feeling hopeful when I keep ending the day feeling so powerless. I don't want to hurt my family or loved ones, and hate that I am destroying this body, God's gift to me, but can't seem to do anything about it. Perhaps, this is my rock bottom. Now, the only place I can go is up.

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program