i am no longer my eating disorder but my bulimia defined me for a significant portion of my life. my “ed” was my companion, my worst friend and my best enemy, my security blanket. it was my way of getting by, of existing and surviving yet never fully living.
i grew up in a dysfunctional family that at the same time was very close. i struggled in school where i never quite fit in unless i was acting out. signs of an eating disorder progressing were evident early on, around 8 years old, but symptoms showed themselves when i was 12 going on 13 years old and began restricting. i never decided to engage in my eating disorder, it kind of just happened. i woke up one morning and felt i didn’t need to eat. people who needed to eat were people who needed to survive. i didn’t deserve that.
as time progressed i grew a liking to my eating disorder. i felt successful, invincible, like i was finally doing something good with my life. the feeling was short lived. any time i “slipped”, i felt the exact opposite of good. i was worthless, disgusting, i would never amount to anything.
shortly before my 14th birthday, i decided i wanted out. i didn’t want to hate myself in this way anymore. i wanted more for myself. i still didn’t believe i deserved more for myself but i was too much of a coward to kill myself that i felt the only way out was to change. so i asked for help. my mom took me to our family doctor who said in these exact words, “it’s good that you lost the weight you did. you were slightly overweight. in fact, you could afford to lose x more pounds and you would still be healthy.” i ignored his naive remark and re-fed with the help of my also naive family. soon, i was a few pounds short of what my doctor had considered overweight and i relapsed back into restricting habits.
when grade 10 began, i was excited to show everyone how much weight i had lost over the summer but restricting was becoming increasingly more difficult. i began binging on weekends, then weekdays, and before i knew it was binging every day. i continued to binge until i reached my highest weight. so, in an effort to get thin again i became vegan though i was already vegetarian. i slowly lost weight but it wasn’t fast enough so by 15 i tried purging again. i was unsuccessful previously but i was determined to make it work. i made it work, thus beginning 3 long years of bulimia.
shortly before my 16th birthday i moved in with my sister. in an effort to hide my bulimia from her, i swapped vomiting with over-exercise and an orthorexic diet. i managed to fool my sister but i didn’t fool my mother who watched me like a hawk regardless of no longer living with her. that month i was sent to outpatient treatment against my will, though i went to the assessment willingly in attempts to prove my mother wrong about having an eating disorder. i was in full blown denial about my illness until it became impossible to even lie to myself. not long after i began outpatient treatment, i was prescribed medication to help with my urges to binge/purge. i began binge/purging more frequently because the medication numbed me and acting out helped me to feel alive. i refused to accept any help from my treatment team and was kicked out for non-compliance. i chose to stop taking my medication without medical supervision so i could feel and also self-sabotage after being kicked out and very soon after attempted suicide.
my suicide attempt landed my in the psychiatric ward where i was forced to either stay in the ward or accept day treatment. i accepted treatment, despite not being willing to get better. i spent 3 months in treatment and was making slight progress until i began to lie. i talked my way out of treatment and was discharged. i was submerged back into my eating disorder not even a week after being discharged. i knew nothing about the hell that was to come.
before my 17th birthday, my boyfriend broke up with me. i couldn’t handle the unexpected rejection and after a second suicide attempt i turned to my bulimia but bulimia couldn’t help me cope. i turned to alcohol and drugs instead. i was involved with the wrong crowd who only made it easier to further harm myself. on my 17th birthday, i attempted suicide for the third time. i spent 2 weeks in the psychiatric ward and began to seek treatment i truly wanted this time. unfortunately, despite all efforts, i was denied help and was sent home.
after being sent home, we discovered my brother in law had a brain tumor. in the week that he was being treated, we didn’t know whether he would live or die and the thought horrified me. i disappeared frequently from home without notice and one of the nights i was lucky i came back. i was drugged and raped by a friend. after that night, i lost myself. i became promiscuous in an attempt to regain power. i used drugs to numb myself. i self-destructed because i believed it was my fault. by november that year my mother had had enough. she had me formed and sent back to the psychiatric ward. another two weeks in the ward and i was sent home only to be kicked out a week later. i came home after a few days but was kicked out again another week later. i spent a week in a homeless shelter then moved in with mitch.
mitch and i spent a couple of months in a bad living situation until i asked my parents if we could move in. my mom accepted in an effort to keep me close. i was safer in terms of my surroundings, but living with my mom sent me eating disorder out of control. i went back to outpatient treatment where i refused to comply again despite desperately wanting to get better. i was still being denied treatment left, right and center.
in a desperate attempt to help me, my mother e-mailed several television shows begging for help. intervention canada responded and agreed to help me (check faq for the full story). on june 13, 2011, i began treatment at rosewood ranch and have been in recovery since.
my recovery has been no where near the typical ideals of perfect, but i am truly alive today. though i struggle from time to time, regret my past frequently, each struggle has made me stronger and every part of my journey has made me who i am today. i am real and i am honest and i am human, and thankfully i am recovering.