It started in September 2013. I was 17 and after only returning back from volunteering in Kenya the month before, I needed answers. I had been making myself throw up since I was about 8/9 due to bullying at school. I thought it was this magical way I’d found to get out of leaving the house – until Kenya. I started doing it because I felt too full and guilty for eating too much; one of the staff members caught me doing it and said it might be more serious than just because I was feeling too full.
I went to visit my GP about it after thinking it over for a bit. I went with my nan, making the excuse that it was just a check-up after an overseas trip. No one knew my worries before the doctors. I waited nervously; my anxiety was trying to break through and give away my brave act. I got called in – and that walk to the room felt worse than interviews, school plays and even injections. But when you’re walking, you play out the conversations in your head over and over just to be sure. I knocked. I entered. I sat down. ‘Is everything okay?’ my GP asked as I was playing with my sleeves and staring at the ground. My anxiety had won. Tears started rolling down my cheeks and I told him I thought I had bulimia. It was a scary thing to admit, that I needed help for something I thought I could control.
He breathed in, paused and with that reassuring smile all doctors give, he began to talk. He started to go over the symptoms and checked what I had and what I didn’t have, such as if I was binging, purging, and how my mental state was.
I felt like the weight was lifted when I told him, and due to how helpful and calm he was. However, that weight came back when he told me it probably was bulimia (and also I might have depression – I do. But that’s a different story) but I should get some blood tests and see an eating disorder specialist on the NHS within the waiting time of three months. I agreed to this as I wanted to get it sorted, and he told me about Beat, the eating disorder charity, and how they help people with dealing with it and also the recovery process.
Since then, I opened up to my family and close friends – none of them understand still to this day how much it affects me. Being a 21-year-old with bulimia is hard work – but I’m treating every day as it comes as a victory. My advice to sufferers that do/don’t know they have it is that you can’t see all eating disorders. Don’t worry on your own and try and hide it. Get help – it’s worth it in the end.
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You have to learn how to live again and, like with any lessons, you often have to fail to learn the best way or the right way...
In the past I’ve wanted to hide the eating disorders that are part of my history, but I want to shout from the rooftops: I'm proud of how far I had come!
I want to shed some light on diet culture and what it drove me to do to myself for eight years. I will never get those eight years back, but what I do know is that I will never put myself through all the self-inflicted pain it took in order to look a certain way.