I don’t know when you can say that you’re cured from a sickness like bulimia, it’s just always kind of there, even if I’m just thinking about it. I haven’t binged and purged in a good few solid months, and it hasn’t been as present in my mind as it once was. I’ve been struggling with it for the last five years or so, I thought it would just be a phase where I would lose the weight I wanted to, get back in control of my body and then stop when I was happy with the results; but I’ve learned that my body will never be perfect so stopping all together is really hard.
I went to Greece for a month in 2010 for a university credit to finish my minor in Classics. As you may know, the main food choices are all high calorie things like feta, tzatziki, fatty meat, pita bread, beer, etc. Even if I ate something that was pretty good for me, I ate huge portions of that which probably didn’t help anything either.
When I got home, I noticed how tight my clothes were fighting but when you gradually gain weight it’s hard to tell just how much, so I decided to weigh myself. I’m a 5’3″ girl who has always believed 120 lbs would be around the heaviest that I would be, but when I weighed myself that day I came out to 142 lbs and I went into a bit of shock. I still remember the number because I couldn’t stop staring at it, and re-weighing myself to make sure the scale wasn’t broken.
I started to get really depressed and I tried to motivate myself to work out but it just felt like I was too far gone at the time. My best friend at the time (Jen, from the previous post) had told me the year before that for about a month she struggled with bulimia and that she basically started up because she was stressed out and once she was passed that stress she stopped. I figured I could do the same, it would take care of my weight, I could be lazy and I could feel in control again.
Over the course of a few months I was back down to about 120 lbs but that still didn’t feel like enough. I wanted to be skinnier so that I would feel more beautiful and comfortable in my skin. At this time, I was also in a transitional phase – I had graduated from University, I had about $35,000.00 to repay in student loans, I was living back at home and I was unemployed with no prospects, no friends in the area and no boyfriend; I was overwhelmed.
I got more and more active during the year, I was running a couple miles every day, I would walk my parents dog for an additional 40-60 minutes just about every day as well (it just depended on the weather) and I was gaining a lot of core strength and muscle. I still couldn’t stop the urges to purge though, I was still so stressed out and purging was the one thing in the world that I could control for myself.
Over the year it got more intense, to the point where I honestly had no appetite and I wasn’t ingesting more than a couple hundred calories a day. Mostly because I hate the taste of coffee when it comes up my throat, so I would keep that down. When I ate a few bites of anything, my stomach felt overwhelmingly full and I felt like I absolutely had to purge, not even just because of my wanting to be skinny, I just honestly felt sick from feeling full. I lost control of it at that point and I knew it.
My mum was seeing a therapist around March of 2011 and she knew that I was on the depressed side but that’s all she knew. She recommended that I go and see her therapist and maybe that would help. Her therapist was this old lady who instead of asking me details about my life, kept handing me pamphlets and quizzes to fill out. She determined from those that I was extremely depressed. At the end of the session she asked me if there was anything else she should know and I quietly told her I was bulimic and cried. I never went back to her or any other therapist for that matter.
In October of 2011, it had been over a year at this point with my bulimia, I still hadn’t told anyone besides the therapist and I was starting to get scared. I went to a Halloween party, and I was drinking pretty heavily and I got it in my mind that I wanted to confide in Jen. Her reaction was very much what I expected, soft crying and trying to wrap her head around it. More than anything though, I wanted to know how she stopped so quickly and I think she wanted to know how I could do it for so long. The next day I was really mad at myself for telling her anything, bulimia was my thing & I was upset that it wasn’t just my secret anymore. In the year following I partied a lot with Jen and I was still binging and purging but my hangovers were doing a lot of the work for me. I was looking and feeling really skinny and my self esteem was higher because of that. One night we were pre-drinking before going out with a group of our friends and taking selfies and being silly. After Jen had taken a few pictures of me, she kept saying things like “wow, you look so skinny!” “you look really great, I wish I looked like that” “I feel so bloated” and so on. After a few minutes she kind of repeated herself, but she said it much louder this time “wow you look so skinny! I would too if I were cheating to get thin!” -I wanted to die.
Luckily, somehow everyone else was too preoccupied with what they were doing and nobody seemed to have heard her (or they didn’t want to get involved); so I just carried on like I didn’t care that she said that and went to talk to other people. I am someone who holds grudges and I am still mad that she would try to embarrass me. Bulimia is a private lonely sickness and for me to have told her was a huge deal, I didn’t tell her for over a year for a reason. That act of stupidity just showed me that I really couldn’t trust anyone with this information so after I kicked her out of my life I haven’t told anyone else.
I do think that my mum knows on some level, actually not too long ago, maybe just a couple months ago we were talking about whatever. I mentioned that something made me physically sick a lot (I don’t honestly remember what I said though), and my mum said “Oh, I was wondering why you were throwing up so much.” I quickly changed the topic, and now I avoid conversations that might go back to that topic.
Since about mid 2013 I’ve lessened my bathroom visits to purge by at least three quarters. Something that I was doing multiple times a day became something I did once or twice a month, and now its more like something I do three or four times a year. I do think I’m getting over it on some level, my teeth aren’t rotting out of my head, I don’t have puke breath all day and my throats not always sore from the acid anymore. The biggest reminder of my past with bulimia are the little scars on my middle finger, I try not to look at them though. I think I’ve slowed down because I feel more in control of my life, I have a job, a boyfriend, a puppy, my debts are paid off and things like that. I still have my days though where its just something I need to do, but it always comes back to not being able to deal with something and feeling out of control. I’m hoping one day, when I feel like everything is falling apart I can just deal with it and move on.
As of today, I am probably pushing 125-130 lbs, I really want to relapse because I know it works but I haven’t yet. I live in a cold climate so right now its around -30 outside and I can’t get out and motivate myself to work out. All I want to do it sit around and eat and magically get skinny. I’m still a work in progress but I’m hoping that when the weather gets milder I’ll get motivated again to lose weight healthily and that way I can actually tell people how I look so good & I’ll get to be proud of myself for that!