At times we dig deep holes for ourselves and happily jump into them and then we need help to get out.
I remember from 16 going on 17 to 23 I was bulimic. As a child I was fat, but i can’t say it bothered me at all that I was fat and no one teased me or made it an issue. I knew I ate a lot, but when it was said to me there was no malicious intent and so I was fine with that too. I still did everything I wanted or was allowed to do. So, I climbed all the trees I could find to climb or nearly climb and played ever game there was to play and I had fun doing everything. In short I had a relatively normal healthy amount of fun being a child and not worrying about how I looked.
When I went to high school the things that didn’t bother me started bothering me. Being raised with my grand – sorry great grand parents – my outfits usually were picked with a more mature eye for the most part, and I realized that I did not always dress the same as everyone. This was most evident on registration day when everyone was in jeans and a top and I was in heels and a dress I wore to a wedding! But, my grandmother believed in looking your best on special occasions and for her, going to a traditional high school like St. Jago High was a special occasion. So in my dress I went got registered and made a beeline for the car. Then I did my first medical and there was a girl who was chubbier than I was and people were shocked by her weight, it was doing the medical that made me realize that my body type could be a laughing matter. I was not use to being made fun of only making fun of others!
So as I got older I started realizing all the things I did not have and could not do and started feeling sorry for myself.
But being bulimic started with a movie – can’t remember the name now – of a girl who died from that eating disorder. And while the movie was to discourage such a practice it provided me with the information I needed to do something I though at nearly 18 I should to, which is change somehow; so, I decided that to impress everyone I would lose some weight for the new school year. After all, though I had naturally lost some weight, I was not as thin as the fashion models or singers I saw on my T.V! I was determined to go back to school looking different at the end of the summer holiday. But because I had never had the patience to do anything that took too long to achieve, that movie gave me all the tips I needed, to fast track my goal.
So with information in hand I set about achieving a goal that became an obsession that later became a nightmare. When I saw the results I needed I was not satisfied. People treated me differently and they made something out of the change that made me think I had to keep going no matter what. I ended up in the doctors office time after time but never told them or my grandparents what I was doing – they would kill me, literally. Plus I was getting really ashamed of what I was doing, wanted to stop but could not stop. It was terrible.
But I could tell no one, it was a secret I had to carry to the grave. A bit melodramatic but that was how I was feeling.
It wasn’t until after my grandmother died and I started seeing a psychiatrist that I told someone – my psychiatrist. She helped me to confront my own diabolical thoughts to begin the process of addressing the root cause of my bulimia. Even during my time seeing her I would occasionally binge and vomit and then out of guilt starve myself for a while. But I did eventually stop and though I still feel the odd urge every now and then I do not think it is a place I want to revisit.
I had to find a way to control a habit I had willing nurtured even though I knew it was unhealthy. There was no one to blame, no session to recount all the terrible things that had been done to me. All I could do was admit that I had made the decision that created one of the worst periods of my young life and accept and use the tools at my disposal to get myself back on save ground. It is a lesson I hope I never forget