WHY I’M THANKFUL TO BULIMIA
I was 13 years old the day I first stuck my fingers down my throat and made myself sick.
That day is etched in my memory like some still from an old black and white movie. I had been watching my favourite TV program and one of the characters had bulimia. Through the screen I watched her make herself sick and I was immediately filled with intrigue and curiosity.
Something about it appealed to me. Which I know sounds like a weird thing to day – but it’s true. Looking back I was searching for a kind of emotional release, a sense of control. I wondered if it was as easy as the girl on the TV made it look. (Of course it was. And of course it really wasn’t.)
When the program ended an announcement came on from a woman who sounded serious, concerned. She said “If you or anyone you know is struggling with bulimia, please get in touch with the following help lines and seek professional help.” A list of numbers to call appeared on the screen.
Then, with a belly full of my mum’s homemade spaghetti Bolognese, I went upstairs to make myself sick.
And so began my five-year struggle with addiction – with bulimia. What this entailed was some serious binges followed by my best attempts to completely evacuate the contents of my stomach, the abuse of laxatives, periods of starvation (as a way to punish myself for my disgustingly excessive binges), and an obsession with exercise.