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The man in black

by K

My eating disorder offically started when I was 16 years old. Although i can remember my whole life even at an early age of 5 or 6 feeling fat and un-pretty. I remember having a hard time fitting in to the groups of kids at my school not because I wasnt social or involved in sports or band but becasuse I felt ugly and never good enough with who I was in my own skin.
When I was 16 I went through a break up with my first "love". I remeber it being the most depressing and devestating thing that had happened to me at that age. I was un able to cope with the feelings and turned to binging and purging as a way out. I would sneak food constantly from my family home and tell them I needed to use the washroom or take a shower and then I would rid my body of everything. At first it started once or twice a day but as time went on (and I started to lose a lot of weight) I began binging and purging 6 to 10 times a day. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but the feeling of release was the best feeling ever. For the first time in my life I felt in control. I felt like I was fitting in at school as I was now X lbs at 5'9 and I wasnt afraid that people would judge me with my few extra pounds. After about a year of binging and purging things started to get bad. I was constanly depressed. I felt like no one understood me, no one cared. I was so alone. My friends and family knew that there was something going on but I think they were too scared to talk to me about it and didnt want to push me away. When I was 19 i decided to go and speak with a therapist. I was binging and purging every time I ate at this point. At work, at home, in a bathroom at a fast food joint. I was embarrassed and so ashamed of my behaviour. I have to say it took 4 years of therapy to finally start to love myself again. I was sitting in sessions listening to her thinking you are crazy! I will never stop. But slowly - I started to slow down. I realized that there was a greater force that was controlling my bulimia - not me. It was the disease. One time I had to draw a picture of my disease, and I drew a man - dressed in black. I still remember that day as it was a major turning point in my life. At the moment I realised - I have control, I have control to decided if I want to live or die, if I want to throw my food up or keep it in like a normal person who deserves to eat. I had control on my outlook on life. I beat myself up probably better than anyone in my life for any mistake I have ever made. You have to realise that you can't do that. You need to love yourself before you can love anyone else. I still struggle with the man in black, but I can now remind myself that I am in control. I do not need to do this, I am beautiful and I love myself. I hope if anyone reads this they know that there is hope. You ARE worth it. You have a disease which is treatable and you are a good person no matter what you have done in your past. It has been 10 years since I have begun this journey and I believe that you are continually growing and learning on how to cope and deal. When you feel alone (like I do today) dont turn to the food and the purging turn to a website such as this. You will see you are not alone and there are people here who will love and support you and understand what you are going through. Tell your man in black you are in control and you will not give him the power today.

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program