Growing Up With Anorexia And Bulimia

I woke up and marched to the bathroom. I peed, took off my clothes, my watch, and stepped on the scale. I was nervous even though I did it six times a day. I looked at the scale like one looks to god when she prays and read the number: 92 pounds. This would have been normal if I were 5 feet tall (or much less). But I was 5'6". I can't remember a time I was happier.

 As a child I was "healthy". Not really skinny but still on the slender side, as I know from seeing old photos. But being slender is not what I remember. I remember always feeling fat, always overhearing my mother say I "could stand to lose a few", my bother calling me chunky. I remember being ten years old, standing on the scale, and thinking "Oh my god I have gotten so fat". I guess no one told me that when you grow up you gain wait. I just thought I was getting too big.

What else do I remember? I remember my mother on calorie counting sites. I remember my father telling her time and time again: "you don't need to lose weight." I remember the first time she told me she "used to be" anorexic. And I remember all of the times throughout my life that she turned her anorexia on me. I was her daughter, I looked like her, I had to be as skinny as she always wanted to be. She still thinks that.

Yes, when I was young I had an unhealthy mindset when it came to food. But no, I did not have an eating disorder. That didn't happen for me until high school when I joined the soccer team. My coach liked to say that "thinner girls move faster". I took that to heart. I weighed a normal 120 pounds but I saw myself as a disgusting fatass. So the summer before my sophomore year I started dieting. Some days I ate normal, even up to 2,000 calories, But then some days I didn't eat at all. This made me feel so accomplished. I felt like I was in control, I owned something, I was powerful. People complimented me all the time. My coach constantly told me that I was "thin" and had a "perfect body".

Of course all of this made me diet even more. I dropped to 108 pounds by the fall of my junior year but I still felt like the biggest girl in shcool. I remember seeing people stare at me and thinking "oh no, did I gain weight?". That winter I really took things far. I counted every single calorie and made sure I had no more than 600. I ran for an hour a day in addition to soccer practice. I weighed myself six times a day, and measured my hips, but, chest, thighs and waste twice a day. I chugged ice water and ate celery thinking it would burn calories. I took laxatives if I thought I exceeded my calorie limit.

Soon I noticed my social life was dying. I was afraid to go to gatherings because I thought there would be food and that I would lose control. I also didn't like that my friends made fun of me and accused me of not eating (even though this was true). I lied all the time: "I ate before", "I had a big breakfast", "I am sick", "I don't like (insert food here)". Everyone was suspicious though.

Midwinter I weighed 105 pounds. My dad, and even my mom and coach began to worry. They put me on high calorie diet. I was so scared of it; I didn't want to gain a pound and they wanted me to gain at least seven. I promised to do it though. At first they were strict and weighed me and I cried and hated every second of it. But then they backed off and I went back to my ways. I "slept in" so that I wouldn't have time for breakfast before school. I brought the lunch my dad made me to school and threw it out the second I got there. By spring I weighed 100 pounds.

My coach told me that if I didn't gain weight I would be off the team. My parents threatened to send me somewhere if i didn't get healthy. I told all of them that I was trying really hard to gain weight but that it was a slow process. They bought it. I think my dad went into denial and my mom was confused herself: she wanted me to be really thin but she didn't want me not to eat. So she gave up and ignored the whole thing. I know now that this was bad but at the time it made me so happy. I feel even now, a few years later, that I still haven't been as happy as I was those mornings when I stepped on the scale and saw those dangerously low numbers.

One day early in the summer, when I weighed 92 pounds, I passed out in the shower. It terrified me. I woke up and for what seemed like endless minutes tried to sort out what had happened. I decided I was fed up with everything and that I was going to gain weight. At the end of the summer my weight was up to 108 again. I was healthier but I hated myself.

I felt like my mom liked me less because I was fat. I no longer recieved compliments from the people at school who used to say "wow, I wish I was that thin!". My friends told me "you look better" and "you look healthy now!" and I hated it. I heard my coach telling the only other glrl thinner than me on the team that she "had a perfect body". She was her new favorite I guess. I thought I would suck at soccer now; I thought no one would like me. Desperate, I turned to a new solution. I became bulimic.

This was perfect, I thought. It didn't lead to as much weight loss as I would have liked but at least I was back down to 100 pounds. I could eat like a normal person and just throw it all up. I lived for the moments no one was home in my house, when I could finally whip open the cupboard, eat all the foods I had previously denied myself, and go purge it in the toilent. Moments later my throat and mouth would burn. My fingers would be covered in vomit, my nose filled with it (so that with every inhale I smelled bile). My face would be bright red, sometimes my cheeks swollen, and sometimes I'd have scars on my knuckles. But I was happy. After each time I vomitted I felt this euphoric, calm feeling, like being high. And except for one incident when my friend asked what happened to my knuckle (and I told her I scraped it on a table) nobody knew.

I had one scare when I threw up blood which led me to stop for a week, but other than that I was at it every day for months. I was addicted to feeling high, in control, and successful. I looked at fat people and thought, "If I was like that I would kill myself". During that time, if for whatever reason I did wake up fat, I probably would have killed myself. But I thought, "Not me. With bulimia on my side, I am far from getting fat." Without out it though? Without it, I thought I really would wake up having gained hundreds of pounds.

Finally, when I went off to college I started throw up less. I am not sure why. I think partly I got sick of it. I got scared and it was too hard to hide it in public bathooms and a shared room. Maybe it was because my mother wasn't there. But I doubt it; by this time I was putting the pressure on myself.  My weight went back to 115 and is still 115 now, in my sophomore year. I wish I could say that I am recovered and that I said to myself, "I am going to fight this, I am going to get better!" But I didn't. Most days I hate myself as much as I did the last time I "got healthy". I hardly ever throw up now but I think about it every day. I still count every calorie. And every night  I examine myself in the mirror and think: "You ate way too much today. You are going to get fat and it will be embarassing and you will lose control and nobody will love you." I cry, "I can see the fat forming now on your thighs, your stomach ... is your face getting rounder?!" And I go to bed wishing I was the girl I was in high school because at least she was happy.

I would do anything to be able to look like her if I wasn't afraid it would kill me.

They say with eating disorders that genes load the gun and environment pulls the trigger. I think this is true in my case. I got the anorexic gene, if there is one, from my mom, and my environment, or influence, was the people around me. But then again, who knows? Maybe I just find comfort in having a reason for all of this. Everything in my life seems like a contradiction to me. My mom wants me to be dangerously thin but she doesn't want me to have an eating disorder. My coach wanted the same. My friends told me I looked great one day and "way too thin" the next. And then me: I thought I was in control and that I knew what I was doing. Yet I was too blind to see that I was on the road to killing myself. And now ... I want so badly to be thin again but I don't want to be sick and I don't want people to notice and I don't want to die.

Sometimes I think we would all be better off invisible.

Lisabel Lisabel
18-21, F
3 Responses Mar 7, 2010

"Yet I was too blind to see that I was on the road to killing myself. And now ... I want so badly to be thin again but I don't want to be sick and I don't want people to notice and I don't want to die."

this really sounds familiar to me. I want to be thin again too so badly but I dont want to get sick to get there. my weight is up crazy high from having starved myself and my metabolism slowing down and going crazy for food. now i have to find a way to eat healthy and be at a healthy weight and lose weight healthily and slowly and its so hard not to want to go into starvation/binge/purge modes. its hard too to see myself so fat in teh mirror and know that i have to find a way to love myself and feel somehow somewhat attractive even though I know im huge.

wow your story sounds a lot similar to mine. I really feel like a lot of people with EDs struggle with anorexia and bulimia. i stopped eating for almost 2 months at one point and it became so hard to live and function like a normal person. I had no energy to go up a flight of stairs, but now that I eat more, it's easier to cover up my disorder. I throw up almost everyday if I go over my calorie intake and it feels so normal. I used to think having an ED would be great, a way to have a perfect body, but now that I've actually developed one it's terrible. and ur absolutely right completelyfine, it's impossible to eat a meal without the guilt following afterwards. I tell myself each time before I eat ok I'll keep it in, but I never do, it's much much easier getting rid of it. I would never wish this upon anyone

I am so glad you posted this. I am a recovering eating disorder, mainly b., I had it for years. I have now not had a binge in more than a week, but it is soooo hard.. I do NOT know why I ever allowed throwing up to become a norm for years, but no one can understand how hard* it is... to eat. To just eat and allow it to stay in my body, knowing that I have the secret to get it out, immediately, and feel better afterwards. A friend of mine who knows about my situation wishes she had an ED, but I tell her, imagine never being ever to eat a so called normal amount without feeling discusting again. <br />
I found that I cannot even look on a scale, as it's too triggering. So I just check my weight like 1 time a week or two in a grocery store with a scale.<br />
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I do wish I could be invisible too. I understand where your coming from. Good luck in your healing.