Today's blog post is going to be about a quite emotional topic for me, but i feel like it's about time to get it out and right now i have the courage to write this. This post IS actually just for myself and to ease my mind, but I hope that i can help making more focus about it, because it is quite a common problem.
About 4 years ago (2010) I was diagnosed with multiple eating disorders, but the one being most aggressive is bulimia, but i've been aware of the problem since 2008. Back then in 2008 I lost weight in a really unhealthy way due pressure from my parents and my unrequited love for a boy. I was told that I wasn't pretty, but that i could compensate for that if i was skinny. I was not really on the heavy side, being 1,57 weighed 52 kg was considered normal according to my doctor. But being told that you're both fat and ugly really makes you do stupid things. I was so haunted by being bullied about my weight and the shape of my body, that i used drastic methods without any kind of guidance.
I lost about 10 kg, going from 52kg to 42 kg, 2 months before my confirmation and it made me really sick afterwards. Throughout those two months I ate about once to twice a day, skipping dinner with my family every day. I always helped preparing the food, make the table but when it was time for dinner, i would put on my running shoes and take a run around the neighbourhood. After doing that for some time, I got full from just the sight and smell of the food and after a run, i felt so relaxed that i felt no need for food at all. But if it happened that i got hungry, i would drink a litre of water, but cheating my body for food was really unhealthy in the long run. I eventually gained weigh again but the pressure i had put on my body, left its scars on me and from then it just went down.
A person really dear to me, was diagnosed with severe stomach ulcers because of her eating disorder "bulimia nervosa" commonly known as bulimia. I found a piece from nationaleatingdisorders.org that has a spot-on description.
Bulimia Nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by a cycle of bingeing and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting designed to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating. from http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/bulimia-nervosa
I tried to make her stop throwing up after eating, but she made me believe that it was a physically sickness. She made me believe that her stomach hurt so bad that she needed to get the food out. I tried to convince her that it was a mental problem, but stubbornly she kept denying it and told me that i have no clue about it because i'm not in her shoes. Little did i know that 5 months later i would end there as well - with my head in the toilet and a toothbrush clenched firmly in my hand. I had been dealing with yoyo-weight for since my confirmation and in the end, all my diet/health plans ended up being flushed out in the toilet, just because i couldn't handle the pressure anymore and puked. In no time it became an addiction for me. I had dealt with binge eating, where i just couldn't get enough from eating. I was never full, because i felt like i couldn't get full, but in the end, shoving all that food in made my body sick from eating.
The only thing that could keep it in check was my love for running, but me running 15 km in one day was just insane. I was out of my mind and wanted to suppress my feelings and my hunger by pushing myself further. I ran so much and with the wrong shoes that i eventually damaged my feet so much i could barely walk. My sense of control was exponentially decreasing.
I was so sad and so disappointed of myself getting to a point where i went out of my wits and lost control over my own body and mind, that i leaped into a state where i just couldn't focus on anything - only the thought of getting any kind of food out of my body as soon as it went in. I started to get troubled in school, because i couldn't concentrate. The assignments got more difficult, the expectations were higher and my parents got more strict to keep me focused about school. I couldn't deal with it so i turned to the bathroom after every single meal.
Afterwards i would be really dizzy, but on the bad days i would be like a lifeless body on the ground. I couldn't get up, i couldn't think', i just wanted to close my eyes and getaway from the bathroom for a bit. I could be like that for hours and still i wouldn't be noticed. The bathroom floor at my parents place is heated, so in the winter, my siblings and i would just lie there, telling each other stories until we fell asleep, so me being in there for more than an hour was not a big deal. I would put some music on using my phone, if i felt that it could be heard.
First i tried my best to keep the "throwing up"-thing at home, but as closer we got to christmas and to tests and grades, the more i fell the urge to puke and ended up doing it during the breaks between our periods. I was actually surprised it went on for 2 years unnoticed. My friends noticed nothing because i could easily just say that i had allergies and needed to blow my nose and therefore i got wet eyes and a red nose.
All that puking also ruined my face and my health in general. My immune system went down so i was quite often sick, my skin lost its healthy glow and was annoyed with redness and blemishes. When i "did it", my nose would be running, my back would be wet from cold sweat and my face would burn and my chest would cramp of the pain deep inside. So why did I keep on going with this, even though it hurt me so much? I really don't know! It was a method to keep my weigh stabile, it was another way of feeling pain, than from like cutting etc. and the pain made me feel so relived... I cannot describe it different.
One day i finally got the guts to tell another person about my illness, and that happened to be my teacher when i was in 9th grade. He told me he would help me getting in to therapy program for youths with same problem as mine, but we found out that it would need the permission from my parents. I wouldn't let my parents know, because i was afraid i would be yelled at and that they would get more disappointed of me, so that couldn't happen. Even if i was about to die, i wouldn't let my parents know. Nothing could be done without the consent of my parents and as long as i was underage, I either had the choice to reveal my secret or wait - I chose the last option.
About a year after, i told another person about my bulimia and that happened to be J. He didn't judge me, despite that the fact that i was guilty of doing that to myself. He did not preach or try to give me a lesson, but the would hold my hair and rub my back until it was over. I was really disgusted by myself, letting anyone see me be so pathetic. I couldn't bare the shame but he tried to not make me feel bad about it. He encouraged me to search for help and so i tried again.
I talked with doctors, therapists, children's counsellor, eating disorder groups without any progress in finding some kind of program or help that i needed to stop myself. The one and still only problem was the fact that i wasn't old enough to participate without my parents connect. I just turned 17 and had to wait another year. Everywhere they refused me. I was tossed around the healthcare system and tried so desperately to find a hole i could sneak trough, but without any luck. Gastric acid was drilling holes in my body and when i needed it the most, they all gave up on me.
I never felt so wronged and never so alone before.
So instead of give myself too much self pity, I decided to deal with it myself...
...And with help from ordinary, yet special people around me, I did the impossible and got out of my obsession. Even after i turned 18, I did not search for expertise from any "expert", because that wasn't necessary. I needed no experts, no counselling and no medicine. I treated myself with healthy food, warm hugs and a lot of fun.
Here i am today, still alive and reflecting upon my 17-18 year old self. I really admire that girl for being stubborn and so lucky to be surrounded by amazing people, because without them I don't know how bad it could have been by this time.
I know this is so wrong in so many ways to write... But there was one bright side about having bulimia... I told you about a person with the same problem in the start of this entry right? For a brief moment i thought if i could get out of it, so could she and i could help her... I could finally put myself in the shoes of a person being in that state and never in my life i had understand her more. But she cannot stop... she won't.
- Nevertheless, come to think of it, I have never been so blind. I knew, even before she did, what was wrong with her, and yet i found it so normal, because i did not know better at that time. She told me it was normal and led me to believe it. Before i got sick i tried to help her, while i was sick i tried and even after i still fail. The only thing that keeps her in check is when i threaten her... and i don't want to do that, because i know in the long run, it won't help and i will lose her. I will lose her to something that made me lose myself.
- She taught me to be a good liar but an honest person - Who would actually teach their kids something like this?