How I Kicked My 10 Year Bulimia Battle... And Why I Know ALL Bulimics Can Recover! - Visitor's Story
by Shaye Boddington
Healthy and Happy!
After a long day at school, I was feeling deflated and needed food to comfort me. My Mom was picking me up from school that day and eventually I saw her car pulled into the car park. I grabbed my books, stuffed them into my tatty blue bag and ran outside. Finally I could go home to eat.
When I jumped into the car I noticed straight away that something wasn't right. My mom was looking at me and she didn't start the car.
"Shaye, I need to talk to you." She said.
My heart began to pound, and my pores began to sweat... I felt sick to the stomach. Had she discovered my secret? Did she know I was bulimic? I'd managed to hide it since I was 8 years old... But I had a sinking feeling that my luck had come to an end...
"Shaye, I need to ask you a question and I need you to be honest with me."
Oh God, this was it, I though...
"Shaye, are you bulimic?"
My whole body felt as though it was on fire. I was embarrassed, angry, ashamed and disgusted. But, I did what I had learnt to do so well... I lied. I told her that there was no way I could do that to myself. I told her I was thin because I exercised so much.
I asked my mom why she would think such a ridiculous thing...
She told me that my sister Lara had just been taken to hospital.... She had admitted to being bulimic because she was in serious trouble after swallowing a toothbrush in a desperate attempt to throw up. She told me that Lara had said through her tears that she thought I was bulimic too.
I was terrified for my sister, but bulimia teaches you to be selfish. Instantly I went into defensive mode.
I made excuses for myself, saying that Lara's mind was warped from bulimia... I told her that Lara thinks anybody slim is bulimic!
I can't believe that my sister was in a serious condition with a toothbrush in her tummy... and I lied to make her look like the bad one.
But, that's what bulimia does to you.
I managed to convince my mom that I was absolutely fine and that Lara was just trying to shift the focus off herself.
Thank God Lara managed to recover from the toothbrush incident and got bulimia treatment... She recovered.
Unfortunately, I wasn't so lucky.
My bulimia continued for another 4 years.
By the time I reached 20 years old, I had been bulimic for over 1/2 my life. I didn't know how to live any other way.
My Recovery Journey
My bulimia had become so bad that I was throwing up 15+ times a day. I was at university and was supposed to be having the time of my life. Instead I spent my days working, eating, studying, vomiting, eating, vomiting... and so on. It was an endless and vicious cycle.
When I wasn't at university I worked like crazy to earn enough money for all the food I ate. During my first year at University I spent over $20,000 at the cafeteria on food that I threw up.
Not only was bulimia costing me a fortune in cash... It was costing me my health too.
During my 2nd year at University, my health took a dive. My heart began to skip beats, my teeth were crumbling away, I would have phases of psychotic thoughts, and sometimes I would get a pain in my heart so bad that I would fall to the ground.
Bulimia was killing me. It had taken over a decade... but finally, my body was saying ENOUGH!
It was at this time I realized there had to be more to life. I began imagining what a waste it would be if bulimia killed me... What my life would have meant... What I would have achieved - besides making the cafeteria companies rich!
I felt such profound sadness at the years I had wasted and I began to feel a burning desire not to waste any more.
Finally... I wanted to recover so badly, that I was willing to do anything.
I didn't know how to stop bulimia... So I needed somebody to teach me. With shaking hands and a pounding heart, I made the appointment to see the university therapist.
The First Therapy Session
I remember sitting in the waiting room feeling like a pathetic excuse for a human being. 'What on earth was this lady going to think of me? She was going to think I was disgusting, wasteful, mad!'
I bet that she had never seen anybody as loony as me.
But recovery was now a burning desire, I wanted to live again!
So I walked into her office and sat down opposite her. I was jittery with nerves and could hardly tell her what I wanted to say. But, eventually I said it...
When I walked out of that office an hour later, I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. It was the first time in my 10+ year ordeal that I had talked about my illness. I had carried the burden alone and it felt so good to offload.
I visited Amanda for the best part of a year. During that time we explored all areas of my life:
What made me binge eat?
What caused my dissatisfaction with my body?
Why did I never feel good enough, thin enough, popular enough...?
With the help of Amanda, I searched the maze of my mind, figuring out answers to all these tricky questions.
It became clear to me that the reasons I fell into the hell of bulimia was a combination of 4 things:
- I came from a wonderful and loving family... But, all the women were always trying the latest fad diets
- Between the ages of 8-11, I was bullied by one girl at school who I really wanted to be friends with
- I did gymnastics and springboard diving - both perfectionist sports which require slim bodies
- Immigration from Zimbabwe to New Zealand in my early teens threw my world upside down and made my bulimia spiral out of control
Therapy and a desire to recover helped me overcome these issues. For the first time in my life, I dealt with them. I resisted the urge to cover them up with bulimia.
Four Years Later
It has been four years since I recovered from bulimia. Life has never been better! To be able to live my life without binging and purging... Without even thinking about it... Is amazing!
I never imagined that full - 100% recovery from bulimia was possible. In fact, I heard somebody say once, recovering from bulimia is just the start of a life-long battle to fight it off. I tell you now that this is not true! You can rid yourself of this illness for life! You can be healthy, happy, vibrant and FREE!
Bulimia truly can be a thing of the past.
I am living proof. If I did it - you can too.
I am so confident that ANYBODY can recover from bulimia that it inspired me to start the website www.your-bulimia-recovery.com - Please feel free to explore it, read my stories, the stories of others... and even share your own bulimia experience.