I was in my final year at university. My eating disorder had progressively gotten much, much worse while I was in my third year. It had developed in my second year. I started restricting my meals and only eat things that I hadn’t directly brought .
I was someone who got really stuck into the university life style. And on top of that i had my third year dissertation and work placements, the binge, purge, restrict cycle got really bad.
I hadn’t admitted it to myself that I had an eating disorder at this point. I never made myself sick, I only ever took laxatives so I just said I had a laxative addiction and that was that! But it all came to ahead when I was on the train hope for Christmas in my final year.
I was terrified of going home, the thought of having to eat numerous family meals full of starter, mains and deserts, houses filled with chocolate & alcohol was filling me with dread. Building up to going home was giving me so much anxiety & I didn’t know how to tell someone that I didn’t want a big portion!
I’d never suffered from panic or anxiety attacks before the build up to the Christmas holidays. It was the scariest thing ever. Being alone and thinking your dying. It was after that when I research what was wrong with me and the word Bulimia kept cropping up on Google. But I kept thinking ‘nooo no way, not me? I’m healthy, I’m fine, I look normal, look at me…. stupid online doctor pfftt’
When I got on the train, I tried to squash it to the back of my head, stuck my headphones in and sat back for the 4 hours train ride back home.
About an hour in, I had cramp in my stomach. The worst feeling, like there’s an elastic band around your stomach and someone keeps doubling it over and over until you can’t breath or move anymore! …… I’d been taking laxatives for so long now that I’d worked out how long it would take them to get through my system depending on how many I took….. didn’t always work out that way though. Just before I got on the train, I took 300 pills, thinking I’d be near a toilet in 6/7 hours which would work out perfectly!
So, I’m sat there in a carriage full of people traveling home for Christmas with their suitcases, people in the halls and sat by the doors. It was jammed! I just remember thinking ‘FUCK! What am I going to do!!’ I had 3 hours left on this fucking train and had 4 options to choose from:
- Hold it until I get home –that quite clearly wasn’t an option
- Shit myself –not an option but genuinely considered
- Getting off at the next stop- didn’t have enough money to buy another ticket
- OR Go to the toilet on the train- Sounds Okaayy, but remember what I said about this train!! There were people sat on the floor outside of the toilet.
Sooo, I’m there seriously contemplating every option possible! After about two hours on this train, I realise I simply CAN NOT WAIT anymore!
I run (like a penguin) in and out of suitcases towards the toilet. *TW & TMI coming up* as soon as I sit down on the loo, it’s like I’ve instantly lost 3 stone! It just all comes out at once and the cramps go! Just like that. I put my head in my hands and start to cry. I realised this was actually a real issues that I couldn’t take anymore and that I really needed to take better care of myself and get help.
I was so embarrassed because I knew everyone in the hall had heard me on the toilet committing the act & crying! I stayed there right until the train departed and I ran back to my seat to collect my things!
As I walked out of the station, and I saw my daddy, smiling at me, looking so proud and excited to see me I made the quick decision there and then to tell him that I had an eating disorder.
We got in the car and had a quick catch up. He started talking about what was for Christmas dinner. I stoped participating in the conversation. He asked what was wrong and I didn’t say I had an eating disorder right away. I sort of pussy footed around it, saying things like:
- I’ve got a laxative addiction
- I have trouble eating
- I don’t like being told what to eat
- I want to have a flat stomach all the time
- I just want the food out of me to feel empty
- Sooo I might be in the bathroom a little bit more than normal
He knew what I meant. He just said “and that’s fine darling. We can work with that. And if you want to talk to me about it in anymore detail then I’m always here for you” and let me tell you now, that is THE BEST THING you can say to someone who’s telling you they’re having mental health issues.
Since then, i’ve gone through a lot of effort and a change in mindset and attitude, I’ve done much better and have been working very hard on my own recovery.
I can’t really remember telling my mum but I know it was also in the car & it was during the Easter break of final year. Although I can’t remember it much, I definitely remember her reaction & my god!! it was the polar opposite to my dads!
Heck, my mum told me that I was ruining everyone’s lives when they found out I was bulimic. My mum told me that me being sick was a huge burden on her. This made me feel so guilty and like I had to get better NOW in order to make my parents love me again.
Four years later, I can say that for the first time in my entire life I have a functional relationship with my mum. Part of my recovery has been essentially creating a new relationship with her from scratch. Our bond has become stronger as a result of my letting her get to know a more genuine side of me. And as we get closer, I finally understand her reaction to the first time I opened up to her about my relationship with food.
I have a large family so they’re was a lot of people to “come out” to. All of their reactions have shocked me in different ways, it’s not something you can predict and my god, it’s not easy for either party.
With time, my parents have managed to wrap their heads around it. I know it was hard for them, I’m their little girl and I’m killing myself. They’ve done research about therapy, causes, all the ins and outs etc. They accept that we don’t talk about it unless I bring it up and that it’s my journey not theirs and I love them all the more for it💕