Ms. Average USA's Story Anorexia & Bulimia Nervosa

My name is Ms. Average USA.

I am 30 years old.

I am intelligent.

I am successful.

I am attractive.

I have caring friends.

I have loving parents.

I was never abused.

and I have been struggling with eating disorders for most of my life.

I first want to say that people with eating disorders aren't exclusively the emaciated type. Many of us go through life suffering silently, never to be found out. Looks can be deceiving...

I had anorexia in high school. I had a very low self esteem, yet always had friends, got good grades, and played sports. At 18 years old, the anorexia turned into obsessive long distance running, and the self-esteem stayed low. I got married, and the running became less obsessive and I felt I had actually become a "normal" person.

Then I got divorced.

I was devastated. It intensified my already strong insecurities, and focused my self-worth back on my weight. I lost a few pounds from stress, crying, and depression. That gave me a little boost. Then I started dating again. I was wracked with anxiety - "what if I get hurt again?" "what if the real me truly doesn't deserve love?" "what if he finds out that I really am a complete loser?" etc. I was terrible to myself, and focused everything on the size of my body. One day, after a probably normal-sized breakfast, I decided that any food was too much food for a loser like me and I forced myself to throw it up. It was NOT easy. It hurt terribly, from my throbbing head to my burning throat to the wrenching ache in my stomach. Yet, despite the discomfort, I walked out of the bathroom smiling and feeling empowered. I was in control.

I was wrong.

The bulimia was bigger than I, and I had no control at all. The first time I purged was 3 years ago, and I have been struggling ever since. Some days and weeks are better than others, but it is always in the back of my mind. I seldom go a week without feeling the need to purge. It haunts me every time I eat. It haunts me every time I have to wear shorts or (gasp!) a bathing suit. It has become my coping mechanism any time I feel strong emotions of any kind. It has eroded what little self esteem I have left because now, I'm not only insecure about my looks, but I am horrified to think about the disgusting person that I am on the inside as well.

I have wasted a lot of time and money, lost some dear friends, and isolated myself to a point of painful loneliness at times because of this. And in the end - I am the same weight as when I started.

I am realizing that bulimia has less to do with striving for thinness, than it does to do with the stifling of unexpressed emotions. All of these powerful feelings - insecurity, loneliness, fear, anger, etc- have to get out somehow. My vehicle of choice for the past 3 years has been a self destructive one.

I am currently in therapy, and on anti-depressants. I'm not going to let this eating disorder win. I am going to fight every step of the way.

I'm not very open with my feelings about this, but found this web site to be quite inspiring. If anyone reads my story and finds strength to fight, or comfort knowing that they are not alone - that would make me happy. Please don't give in to bulimia. It robs you of everything precious, and slowly steals your life.