Kates's Story Anorexia & Bulimia Nervosa Australia

O.k...Its difficult to begin because I hardly know when it all began myself but I will start by describing my childhood. I was a chubby, shy, self-conscious and yet an oddly strong and independent little girl. As a small child my home was, as far as I was aware of, happy and stable, but at age 5 when my mother gave birth to twins, one of them sadly only lived for only 5 weeks. After my little brothers death, our family slowly began to fall apart. My father began drinking a lot more beer and much more regularly to escape the pain of his son's death and he and my mothers relationship virtually became nonexistent. A few years later, all the fights began.

At school, I hung out with the popular group. I was the quiet one where everyone said 'why don't you talk more?' (I still don't know the answer to that one) and everything was fine until I was about 11. At this point I turned from just chubby, to fat (in my head I had always thought I was huge) but since I'd turned 10 and my parent began to fight a lot, I found comfort in eating a lot when I got home from school and the house was empty and at 11 I was a huge as I felt. My popular friends didn't like me being so fat, so they started excluding me and this hurt me so much..I didn't understand why they didn't like ME (as I was still the same person on the inside). At 12 I didn't want to go to the same high school as my ex-friends, so I went out alone to a school where I didn't know anyone. At the new school I made friends with a group of really nice girls but due to my very low self-esteem, I couldn't see this at all. All through junior high I thought that they were talking about me behind my back (especially about how fat I was). I now know that they weren't doing that at all and that it was all in my head but at the time I was so convinced that they really didn't like me and let me hang out with them because they felt sorry for me. When we all went to Senior High, I still had these fears in my head and things at home had reached the breaking point. I finally thought to myself


So I asked Mum and Dad if I could go on a student exchange and to my huge relief they said yes. So at 16, half way through my first year of high school I left for Finland for 2 months. This is where my eating disorder began, although I didn't become aware of it until I came home again. It was strange because I was so happy in Finland, yet I stopped eating. My host family were like a dream compared to my own family. No fighting, no alcoholism just happiness, peacefulness everything I'd always dreamed of yet I slowly began to reduce the amount I ate. I wasn't aware I was doing this because it happened so gradually, but I see now that I had some stringent routines that could not be broken.

My main time of eating would be in the morning before school, at school I would eat very little or nothing, I would always go walking in between classes and then I would get home and eat as little as I could without worrying my host mum. I didn't want to worry her because she was so nice to me. In Finland dinner is at about 4:30 p.m., so after that I wouldn't eat anything till the next morning. After dinner, my host family and I would either go cross-country or downhill skiing, so that along with all the walking I did during the day, I exercised an incredible amount. Naturally, over the months I was there I lost a lot of weight but in all that time I could only see the fat me (the me who arrived in Finland). I seriously couldn't see any physical signs of weight loss. I know this seems impossible but it is true. When I arrived home and I walked off the plane, Mum and Dad didn't recognize me. I actually walked straight past them without them realizing who I was. On my first night back at home I looked into my mirror (the mirror where I always saw an obese person) and for the first time in a year I saw myself...a skeleton and I was horrified. I couldn't believe how skinny I was but strangely I also liked it once the initial shock had worn off. I was the center of attention whenever I met any of my friends or people I hadn't seen all year. They all couldn't believe how different I looked. Not only how skinny I was but the weight loss made me look like a completely different person and I liked that too. On the outside my confidence was great but that wasn't to last long.

O.K..almost done....we're getting closer to the present now.

After the exchange, I didn't go back to the same high school, I don't know why I didn't and really regret it now but anyway it happened and it was awful. Everyone thought I was a druggie because I was so skinny and pale and I withdrew totally from everything. At home my parents were still together but it was very, very tense and the fighting reached its worst. About 6 weeks after I arrived home I began to get into my childhood pattern of eating to ignore the fighting but this time when I began to put on weight I completely freaked out because I was still partly thinking anorexic and that is when I started purging. Over time the purging not only stopped me from putting back on too much weight but it felt so good, it was like I was puking up all my negative feelings, so afterwards I would just feel nothing. This, however never lasted long and the depression began to set in, overtaking any pleasure in purging (if there is such a thing). My bulimia began at 17 and now that I am 19, I am still struggling with it. My parents did eventually split up and since that has happened, living at home has become much more bearable but the pressures of my final year of high school kept the bulimia going a full pace. I guess I should talk to someone about all this and I have set out to many times but it is not that easy, I get so nervous and I feel that when I tell I won't have anything anymore. That sounds crazy but I feel like telling would be like selling my eating disorder away. For sure I would do anything for my eating disorder to just disappear forever but life is not that simple and eating disorders are not that simple to overcome (if that is possible). I hope my story will help you to understand a person with an eating disorder a little better, if you have never experienced an eating disorder yourself.