Ann's Story Bulimia Nervosa

My name is Ann, and I want to share my experiences with Bulimia.

Although I turned 30 one month ago, have a fantastic job and own a beautiful home, I have allowed Bulimia to be part of me for the last 11 years. The disease itself has taken many forms in my life -bingeing and purging, excessive exercise, and extreme diets - but the result is always the same. Lowered self- esteem. Bloated face. Stomach pains. Sore throat. Disgust. Lies.

When I was growing up my father taught me fat people were not worthy of living, that "they should be taken to an island and shot". I witnessed my father's emotional abuse of my mother - one of his favorite weapons was her weight. I quickly "learned" being overweight was a weakness, and the strong were thin and always in control. I learned to be perfect.

In college I was a Homecoming Princess and President of my Senior Class. I graduated Cum Laude, and was disappointed in myself I hadn't made Magna. I lied and told everyone I had - I only missed it by .05, so it was like I did . . . at least in my mind. All of this made me satisfied with myself - for a short time, at least.

Later in life I allowed myself to be involved with men similar to my father - handsome, successful, and most importantly never satisfied with me. Although I truly only have myself to blame for this disease and for staying with these emotionally twisted men, I also realize these relationships encouraged me to hate my own body. To be disgusted with every imperfection I had. I recently ended a long term relationship with a man who was never happy with me. A man who could look me in the eye, tell me I was "everything he had ever wanted in a person but he still wasn't happy with me". I knew then I had to leave, and I did.

Now, here I am - a 5'4", muscular, size 6 woman, believing I need to lose another 10 pounds to look good. To be worthy of a boyfriend. To look perfect. I still exercise 6 days a week, but now I only go to the gym for 1 - 1.5 hours (I used to go for 4 hours a day). I've regulated my eating so my diet includes some fat, and I've started going to a therapist every week to help me remove this way of thinking from my life (or at least regulate my thoughts better).

Although it is a battle for me, I feel I'm making serious strides. I'm able to eat fattening foods once in a while with the knowledge that moderation doesn't make anyone fat. Sometimes I forget this simple fact and I find myself seeing my food again in the toilet. One day I know food won't have the iron grip over my life as I allow it to have now. Until then, I must go through this mechanical process of telling myself I'll be okay if I allow the cake/brownie/cookies to "stay down".