I could write volumes on my experience with my eating disorder, summarising it is no easy task for me. This is something that has affected my life for the last 15 years. To say that it stole my happiness for a while would be an understatement. For the first few years it also stole my friends, family and my identity. I realise that this may sound a little dramatic, however it was such a large part of my life that it unfortunately led to an attempted suicide. Now, of course, I am mentally somewhere I never thought would be possible for me. Thankfully, things are enormously better.
It had begun with anorexia for a couple of years, which then evolved into bulimia once I was pressured by my family to eat larger portions. During the anorexic times, I actually believed that I was a very successful and happy person. In fact, I sometimes struggle to remind myself that it was a bad time because I managed to achieve so much back then. However, when I really look into it, my life was ruled by control- over food, exercise, studying, extra-curricular activities and more exercise. I didn’t have time to let people in because they were only interested in going out for a meal or for a night of drinking – extra calories that I could not afford.
With bulimia, it was a lot more obvious to me at the time that things were not going well. I would intentionally compensate for an action I felt shouldn’t have taken place at all (eating). Those times were particularly hard, as I had gained a lot of weight and was very swollen from the constant purging. This meant that most people assumed that my eating disorder days were over. The purging also meant that my teeth and stomach lining were not in a great state either. Whilst I did have friends who tried to help, I didn’t know how to accept it, and also was scared to do so.
Only after around 8 years did I choose to take serious action. I had reached a point where I was desperate and couldn’t see my life moving forward in any way. I applied for a place at a rehabilitation centre for people with eating disorders. Quite honestly, I hated it (I laugh about it now). However, I was very lucky to meet a fantastic therapist as well as 2 other inpatients who became good friends. I had finally met people who understood the disgust and shame that I felt. I spent 9 months there and despite my deep dislike for the place, I left feeling better able to handle the world.
Today, I am able to eat most things without too much thought, my relationship with my body has improved and I have deeper friendships and a very loving and patient fiancé. I obviously still have bad days, however I now know how to handle situations where I feel as though I am losing control. I never thought that this would be possible for me, so I guess my message to anyone who feels that they cannot recover is- please don’t give up, it’s painful but worth it.
please don’t give up, it’s painful but worth it.