I get a lot of emails from my readers, and I love hearing from every single one of you. Sometimes it’s people asking my advice on things (usually how to do flicky eyeliner, which camera do I use, and how to get “free stuff” but I tend to ignore the ones about freebies), sometimes it’s people pointing out things I got wrong in my reviews, or letting me know about stockists for hard to find items, and I really appreciate those! But sometimes, people just email me to get things off their chest, and these are the emails I treasure most. Sometimes they’re just plain ranty – somehow my love of a good rant has rubbed off on my readers (yippee!) – sometimes they’re hilarious, and sometimes, like the the email I’m about to share with you today, they break my heart a little bit.
One of my readers got in touch recently, and asked me to publish their story, because they thought that by making it public would help them. So, without further ado, here’s Anon to share a part of their life with you:
When you are stressed it is so easy to return to old habits.
When I was a teenager, I suffered from bulimia, it wasn’t something that came naturally to me. I really had to work at it. I read about people suffering from bulimia and I honestly thought that throwing up after eating was an excellent quick way to lose weight.
But I suppose that is how it starts, and, like a drug dealer offering free samples bulimia seduced me with its empty promises and hollow offers of friendship and the lure of skinniness was like a sirens call to me.
I got to be very good at it, and very, very good at hiding it. Drinking lots of water as I ate, putting tissue down the toilet so no-one heard the vomit hitting the bowl, I knew all the tricks. I was never skinny, not in my eyes. Apparently I had a haunted look about me. Haunted and panicky when I had to sit at the table for too long after eating when all I wanted to do was get rid of the meal I had just consumed.
I never thought of myself as TRULY bulimic, I always thought that I was the one in control. I thought I was choosing to throw up my meals. Now I see it in the same way as an alcoholic thinks they are the one in control if they are choosing what alcohol they throw down their throat at 10am. Addiction is addiction, whatever pretty bow you wrap it in.
Over the years I have battled with it on and off, and when I am happy, it rarely raises its head, in fact it has probably been 2 years since I suffered last.
The problem with eating disorders is that they never go away. It feels like they just sit in the background patiently waiting for you to feel low and then strike again. Stress is my breaking point. Food is my god. I have always had issues with food in the way that I use it as a punishment, a reward, a way to make myself feel better, or in this case worse.
Dieting is always a minefield for me. I am good at dieting, maybe too good. I deprive myself of everything that makes me happy. I start to lose weight and then the hatred of my body kicks in. As I lose weight I actually feel worse about myself. When I am at my biggest and not concerned about my weight I can gloss over everything, I revel in my curves. But as I lose weight I hate my belly, my hips. I look at myself with such loathing and hatred, I instantly return to that teenager who felt that she was a whale compared to her friends. I want to punish myself, and the only way I know how is with food. Then I feel guilty and have to throw up, and so the cycle begins again.
There is no pay off with bulimia, I end up with grey skin, spots, a constant sore throat and runny eyes and I sniff like I have a crack habit. I hate myself for falling back into the hands of what is possibly my oldest friend and worst enemy.
Why do I do it? I really don’t know. I wish I did.
I have slipped up. Due to six months of total stress I have fallen back in deep and while I think it is something I will always suffer with, I can try to make this a short slip up. I have to learn how to accept myself for what I am. There is no magic wand. No happy ending. All I can do is keep fighting it and never ever give up. I think I need to accept that I am not “playing” at having bulimia, I do actually have an eating disorder.
Which is weird to accept.
My name is ****** and I have an eating disorder.
And writing this down is the start of getting better.
I’m publishing this as a way of showing my support for Anon, and want to say thank you for being so brave and letting me publish this.
I happen to know they’re not alone in suffering, so if you have anything to say to Anon to show your support too, please do it in the comments, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll make sure your messages get passed along.
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