I have bulimia. Believe me, I hate talking about it. To me it’s an embarrassing secret I keep hidden from others. For years I wanted no one to know about it. I’m ashamed that as a grown woman I do this to myself. It’s not just a teenage illness; I developed bulimia in my early twenties and have struggled to escape it ever since.
It’s a daily internal struggle. I’m constantly in a battle with my own mind. I feel paralysed by the need to binge and purge. I sit stuck for hours, unable to think about anything else. If I go to a supermarket I’ll be there twice as long as I’d planned, agonising over what to buy. Once trapped in the cycle of binging and purging it’s very difficult to break and can feel impossible. After purging, I feel a great release afterwards. It’s an adrenaline rush that becomes addictive. There is also the thrill that I’ve managed to eat and now I won’t gain weight.
Often when I’m depressed, I binge without thinking. All I want is to just do something to draw my mind away from all the negativity in my head. When I have finished and realised the extent of what I have eaten I feel angry at myself and physically uncomfortable. So, I will purge to counteract that feeling. The swell of anxiety after eating can be unbearable. My stomach is full and it feels ready to burst like a balloon that’s been overfilled with air. The tension inside continues to swell and I find it difficult to regulate my breathing, taking short sharp breaths. My head is dizzy with worry and the nausea is there in the background. All of this is coaxing me, fuelling the compulsion to purge. I can’t think straight, my mind is bogged down with the stress and all I can think is,
“Get rid of it, you’re a disgusting pig. Get rid of it, get rid of it now.”
The anguish I feel is all consuming. I’m trapped and claustrophobia envelops me with the walls around me folding into smaller and smaller pieces, until my world is miniscule. Then the only thing left is the temptation to binge and purge. The guilt I feel is tremendous and I promise myself this is the last time, every time.
I’m currently trying to recover from bulimia. It’s been a monumental task. The daily ritual had become ingrained into my thinking, to the point that I couldn’t picture my life without it. I have had slip ups. I know there will be more, but I will never make it an excuse to give up trying.