V's Story Anorexia & Bulimia

I hope it's ok to tell my story. It's not pretty or happy, or have a good ending, but it's my story. V

My eating problems began before I even remember them starting. I was about 6 years old, I began to fake eating, most kids hide food, but I would hide all my food, in my dog's stomach! Within a couple of years, I would line pots with fake meals. I would take a tin of spaghetti and smear the pot and the serving spoon and the dish and cutlery with the "remnants" of a meal. My sister and I did this together a few times, I just kept it up. When I was 10 I broke my leg, I was really underweight and when I fell, there was no cushioning to stop the break. I was diagnosed with anorexia, but my parents didn't even know what this was and didn't really do anything about it. This was 1986, small town Scotland. I was in the hospital for 2 1/2 months, and didn't really eat much in there either, my parents were allowed to bring me food in because I refused to eat the hospital food, but I had a garbage right by my bed and many drawers, and no one ever supervised my meals. I don't know why. I remember being in my bed, (in traction, therefore not able to go anywhere), and being given a sponge bath, and starting to scream, because I could see rolls on my stomach, hello, I was sitting, of course there would be rolls, but anyway. My mum just laughed and called all the nurses to look and laugh too. How could I think I was fat. What a laugh... whatever.

After the hospital, I was ok for a few years, I don't know what made me better. I should maybe preamble this story by telling you that I was abused by a family member, not immediate, a few times, and at the time of the broken leg, we were going through court proceedings. Both my sister and I were abused, she more so than I. I started a new school when I was 10 and things were ok for a while. But I always felt inadequate, like I was not good enough for anyone. I was a perfectionist and had to be the best at everything. After 2 years at this new school, my family and I moved to another country. My sister was afraid that the person who abused us was around every corner and my parents couldn't stand to see her break down. My sister is 2 years older than me.

Upon moving to the new country, I became depressed and tried to commit suicide a few times. I was 12. I guess I didn't try too hard, I never let my parents know. I think I really just flirted with it. I'd try and strangle myself with ropes and stupid things like that. In grade 8, age 12, for some science thing we had to weigh ourselves, I refused but was made to, I was terrified, I had to be the lightest, luckily I was. I was an ok weight at this time, but still over conscious of my body and the space that I took up. I became a very shy person in Canada, and had no friends, in Scotland I had lots of friends, even if I felt like I didn't fit in, I could fake it, but not here. I was younger than everybody, shorter than everybody and terribly naive, innocent and sheltered.

In grade 9, I thought I found my niche, I started running track and field, I was good, and won lots of awards, until I started passing out during practice and in races, I wasn't eating and it was showing. I wanted to impress my coach, I felt she was the best, so I was pushing myself, but not eating and eventually had to drop out of the track and field. Again I have a few years of being ok. Then I became 17 and wow, did it come back with a vengeance. I had gone away to camp the summer I was 17 with the Forest Rangers and ate too much that summer, it was the best summer of my life. I started running again and was getting really good....gee that's what food can do for you.

But upon returning home that fall for grade 13, I weighed the most I had ever weighed in my life, 112 lbs., I was 5'1". Almost the week I got home I became anorexic. Way worse than I had ever been in my life. I remember going to Ottawa to see a friend and buying laxatives the minute I got off the train. I had seen these girls talking together and laughing on the train and felt excluded and pathetic and useless and not good enough and ugly and fat and everything else hateful one can think about ones self. That was it, the spiral down. For the next year, I ate practically nothing, you could probably get 2 days meals out of the next 10 months. I would eat about 1/4 an apple a day. No one ever said anything to me, well in the beginning.

At graduation, they did, my parents were trying to force me on the scales every second they could. They never got me on them. I had tried to commit suicide near the beginning, I told my parents I was having really bad cramps and didn't realize how many Tylenol I had taken. I still don't know if the bought that one. I was on Zoloft and had to see a therapist. I was self cutting and suicidal all the time. Graduation was blast...as if. The dinner was awful, my best friend was crying that I wouldn't eat, I looked ridiculous in her grade 8 grade dress, my cousin was over and she didn't know what to think. That summer I went up North with the rangers again. What a disaster, I was too weak to do anything. They wouldn't let me go on canoe trips, I was stuck in a fish lab all summer, exercising my ass off, what ass?

Then University, age 18. I feel out of place as usual. But I immediately click with this girl, and I don't know why. Later I find out that she is a recovering bulimic/anorexic. I let her know what was going on. Like it wasn't obvious, I was 52 lbs. at this time. Yet no one said anything to me. Except when her mother came to visit, she just cried the whole time she saw me. I didn't understand, she said she just saw her daughter in me and how sick she was and how she almost lost her. I was oblivious to others pain about me. But I started eating and therefore I started purging and hello Bulimia came a knocking on my door. I was 18.

When I became of age at 19. I was way too afraid of the fat grams in alcohol to celebrate with a drink. I had diet coke. Way to party! I missed out on so much in my first year of UNY because I was too afraid to eat. I only completed 1 year and missed tones of classes because I was too weak and cold to get out of bed. I'd pass out in the hall after going to the bathroom at night. People would carry me back to my bed. It was a bad scene.

I entered an eating disorder program when I was 19, two years after I really got sick. It was at a psychiatric hospital and it was scary. I felt I was way too fat to be in the program I was terrified to go in, but basically I was told to go. I was on the waiting list for a private hospital, but they told me I would be dead before I got in. Still not really a wake up call. I was 70 lbs. now, thanks bulimia. I really wanted to get better, but as soon as I started gaining weight I freaked out. I started playing every game in the book. exercising in the shower, the bath, running in the basement of the hospital, drinking tones of water before weigh-in, not going to the bathroom before weigh-in, etc.

I left the program at 72 lbs. 5 months later. I started a group therapy program for people with personality disorders shortly after. But this was a bad scene and eventually I got really sick again and went down to my lowest weight. Then I started to really try, I felt like a failure and wanted to get my degree, any degree. I hated not being in university. I tried to eat and did well. I don't know what I did. I made meal times, would get up at 6 for breakfast, 12 for lunch and 5 for dinner. I started classes at the local college and did well for a while. I came 'out' and met someone and tried so hard to be well for them, that I was well for a long time.

I still purged just not as much and got up to 105 lbs.. That was a few years ago and have mostly maintained a weight of 98-100 lbs. I am with someone and we live together. I was bulimia free for 6 months until last Christmas, when everything fell apart, and now I am as bad as ever. I am maintaining my weight usually around 87-93 lbs. and pretending everything is fine. I'm very depressed now and am practically giving up. I feel it is hopeless and I don't know how I got better the first time. I can't eat because I get sick every time I do. I do manage some meals, but never when I am alone. You'd think, so don't be alone. Problem is I don't have any friends and my partner is always at work. I am back full time in school, but that doesn't stop me. I thought if I got an 8-4 job I'd feel better about myself, but it's not happening. I am still sick every night when I get home, when my partner is at work all night. She's off every night next week and that will be the test. I can't purge when she is around. She knows I'm struggling right now, but has no clue to the extent, I can't tell her as she punishes me and I hate that. By punishing, I mean, she won't speak to me or kiss me, etc., nothing violent, or abusive.

I wish this would go away, I guess it's my fault I'm not trying hard enough, I don't have the strength. I hate bulimia, I hate eating disorders, but I'd rather be anorexic any day than bulimic. Bulimic is so humiliating, disgusting, dirty, pathetic, gross, second rate, and my teeth are eroding, my throat hurts and I'm terrified I'm going to have a heart attack. I don't want to die early, I want to be successful, but if I don't lick this I never will be anything. I have 3 years left of my degree. I am so old, I feel so old and I'm only 24. When will this go away? Someone please tell me. Sorry this is not a positive little story, but it's my story, and I am owning it.....somewhat. I own that I am pathetic and that's about it.