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Too Much Too Young

by Jillian

I've always felt big- even as a child, although when I look back at photos I realise I was fairly average. There were strict rules in my house about what and when you were allowed to eat and although I got enough I was always hungry or thinking ahead to the next meal: my step father was violent and unpredictable and the anxiety I experienced as a result seemed to become entwined somehow with my obsessions regarding food. My mother and step father seperated and overnight our financial situation changed drastically: there was never enough to eat and my mother complained constantly about how much it cost to feed me and my sister. Conversely, I became totally preoccupied with food and started binging while my mother was at work. The act of defrosting, preparing, eating food blocked out my worries and helped me to avoid thinking about or doing anything difficult or frightening. I couldn't make myself sick so I took laxatives, or high doses of over the counter medicines to make myself sick. My liver did not appreciate this. I used to eat spoiled or over-salted foods- again to be sick (you'd be surprised how ineffective this actually this- the body is pretty resilient). Of course I got bigger and bigger. I was overweight with bad skin, shy and academic, and as such had a hard time at school. The problem was made worse by working in a cafe and therefore having access to cake 24/7. I stole food, and the money to buy it, and ended up leaving school weighing about X lbs. I lost X lbs in my early twenties on the heartbreak diet (brutal but effective) and during this time managed to meet a nice man and have a lovely daughter, and my eating settled down. I developed stomach problems and my weight went down toabout X lbs (i'm 5' 8''). I loved it. Even after my stomach calmed down I carried on restricting and it seemed to consume my every waking minute- nothing else mattered. My partner was made redundant and I started working full time- but I had to leave that job when he went back to work and the binging started again. I was angry and felt like I had no control over anything in my life. I am 31 with a family, but I just can't seem to stop binging, and I can purge now which makes me feel freakish and revolting. It just seems so shameful and sordid, especially since i'm a grown woman and to be honest I think I often do it to anul a feeling of restless boredom. If I could put half the energy I spend planning and executing binges into something productive i'd be running the world by now. I'm terrified my daughter will sense my anxieties around food as she grows older. My partner know but finds it very difficult to discuss, so we don't, or he adopts a kind of patriarchal, scolding tone that makes me want to kill him. I used to cut myself as well and suffer from ocd. I feel exhausted and sorry for myself sometimes just trying to hold all the crazy in- as if i've lurched from one embarrasing, undignified situation to the next, and that people can tell this just by looking at me. I can't have normal friendships because all my spare time is taken up worrying about food. I read all the good, sensible advice on websites such as these but I just can't seem to change. I feel worn out by life and lonely. This illness wrings all the joy out of life.

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

The Bulimia Recovery Program