Posted by: Shanie Matthews | November 10, 2010

Moving Away From Bulimia and the Evil Dance of Binge and Purge

It is a dark moment that will never be forgotten.

I awoke to the cool, slick feeling of tile under my squished cheek. I was flat on the floor, passed out cold.

As I emerged from my lethargic cocoon I saw blood and vomit splattered around me. The stomach-turning stench of my binge of chocolate cake and peanut butter cookies made my belly squeeze tight. My throat seemed to grow hands that were reaching down attempting to bring a burning ball of bile up to light.

My reality became real. I realized why I had passed out on the bathroom floor. My evil dance with bulimia had won. I had become unconscious while purging my system of the food that I was drowning my emotions with.

The binge and purge cycle had begun five years earlier at the awkward age of  13. Growing into my changing body, baby fat lingered and, with the help of some, made me feel as if I was a whale stuck in human form. And trying to be a perfect daughter, hearing that I was a little portly and could stand loosing a few pounds made me feel anxious and self-loathing.

So where did I turn for support? Food.

It was an easy escape. I was an athletic kid and could put down a good amount of my mom’s scrumptious cooking after a hard day of exercise. Food became not only my source of energy, but also a best friend’s shoulder to cry on.

At first it started sporadically. I failed a test and unconsciously ended up eating a loaf of bread to bury the feeling of not being good enough. If I didn’t place well in a ski race and felt that I would not be worthy of love because of placing poorly I would eat a gallon of ice cream. I would feel overwhelmed by the need to be perfect, believing that if I didn’t show myself to be the ultimate best at all I did that I would encounter anger from others, so I hid under the comfortable blanket of an entire pepperoni pizza. When it all was just a little too much for a teenage brain to handle, I turned to the sweet, loving food that patiently waited for me in the cupboards and refrigerator. And then later I would bow to the Throne of the Porcelain Gods, otherwise known as a toilet. This ritual became an action that quickly grew into a multiple-times-a-day reality.

Purging was a horrible aspect to my love affair with a unhealthy way of burying the feelings that I wanted to desperately run away from. It hurt. It stunk. It was hard on my body; a body that I cherished because of the freedom that it offered me when skiing.

And then I woke up at the age of 18 with the Toilet Gods saying, “Enough.” Bulimia was going to kill me if I didn’t find a way out of this addictive habit. It scared me to let go of a “tool” that had helped me feel as if I was in charge of my life. But I knew it was a lie. There was a voice — albeit a very soft and timid voice — that whispered you are loved, you are cherished, you are needed, you are worthy of wonderful things happening in your life, you are worthy. Believe. Believe that you can live a happy life. Stop this cycle. Move forward and believe in your dreams.

My bottom had been hit. I had no other choice but to do what my intuition was telling me. It was time for me to seek some help. Assistance came from an unusual source…an old boyfriend that was thousands of miles away. He sent me information about Bulimia, as I was living in a foreign land. I realized for the first time in my life as I read through the material, that I wasn’t the only one that felt the highs and lows, the destruction and the power that is in the iron fist called Bulimia.

And that knowledge alone was so empowering. It started my journey forward. My journey out of the darkness of self-destructive behavior.

It has taken years to understand the entirety of what this addictive sickness encompasses in the mind, body and soul, and that I am worthy of more. It affected me with more depth and long-lasting negativity than I had any idea about when I was in the throws of binging and purging. And now, when the damage that I did to my body says hello, I am glad in a sense. It reminds me of how much I have grown. How much I have turned the self-hatred of many years past into an immense amount of love and gratitude for who I am. And how incredibly grateful I am for learning that I am not alone. I am in touch with myself now. The reasons that I fled to the comforting shoulders of Bulimia have been faced, felt, embraced, understood, and I have moved on with a deeper understanding.

All that I have learned in the journey towards light and away from the darkness that includes Bulimia is the reason that I started this blog.

I hope my story helps others that are in the deep, dark emotional cave called “An Eating Disorder” realize that coming into the light is nothing more than trusting in your self. You are wonderful. You are needed. You are loved. You are cherished. You are worthy of living a life full of positivity.

Here’s to health and loving appreciation for the sparkling energy that we are.

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Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing your personal story. I think for some, me included, it takes hitting rock bottom before you realize enough is enough. I wish you the best in your health journey.

    • Hi Donewithed,

      Thank you so much for commenting and your kind words. They make my day brighter! (:

      Cheers,
      Shanie

  2. I too struggled with Bulimia for a tiny bit during my teen years. For me it was a huge lack of self confidence. But over the years I’ve learned if you are a happy person and stop feeling sorry for yourself people will love and accept you for who you are. Life is all about exercising happiness. Shanie you are one of the most special and influential people in my life. I hope you know that you are loved and deserve lots of happiness 🙂

    • Because of dear friends like you Crys, I very much know that I am loved. Thank you for being a true and real best friend to me from middle school on. You are the best! Love you girl!

  3. Thank you Shanie, for sharing such a personal and moving story of your experiences. Your strength and voice gives hope to many!

    • Hi Lisa,

      Thanks so much for your kind words! Besos y abrazos amiga!

      Cheers!

  4. As your life partner for the last 12 years, your words only confirm to me what a great human being you are. You ability to confront your challenges, remedy them and be the best person you can is very inspirational.

    I love you forever, Jamie

    • Thanks for being a great support system Schecky. I appreciate and am so grateful for your being there for me. Love you.

  5. Hi Shanie!!
    Thanks for sharing your story. I felt so identified!!! And now, also I feel I’m on my way going towards the light. It’s a 24-7 work, but now I’m sure it deserves it.
    You’re inspirational, I’ll write also in my blog -so you can practise spanish- 🙂
    big patagonian hughs!!!

    • Abrazos enormes a vos, amiga! Eres hermosa y estoy muy contento tener vos en mi vida! Lo hagas mejor!!! Besos!!!

    • Te quiero mucho amiga! besos y abrazos gigantes!


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