I always see in your weekly email that you want your reader’s stories. I’ve wanted to share my story for a while now and finally wrote something down. Once I started typing I could have gone on forever and had to do a lot of shortening up so I hope this isn’t too short or too long!
“Why do you get sick after you eat”? Those were the words asked by my husband that put me on a road of self-awakening. I answered the question with an “I don’t know”. He said if I didn’t go see my doctor that he would tell my mom. Looking back now that statement is funny to me, like two siblings having a spat. I went to see my doctor and for the first time I told someone I am bulimic. I could see the horror on my doctor’s face while her brain searched its index for something medical to say about an eating disorder. Her solution was to put me on anti-depressants and send me to a therapist.
I spent the next several years dabbling in therapy; the antidepressants weren’t my thing and I didn’t take them for long. I saw a therapist who had her doctorate degree and all sorts of fancy qualifications. The woman was about 80 pounds and decided to focus on my marriage instead of my eating disorder. I remember leaving the appointment, going back to my desk job and searching for a house in order to leave my husband! I stopped seeing her after an appointment where she nodded off, yes falling asleep! The next therapist spent all my time talking about her personal life and other clients; I was there to help myself not listen to her stories. After these experiences I decided to go it alone for the next few years. I learned this is not a battle I was going to win by myself.
I can roughly pinpoint my struggle with bulimia starting at the age of 25 however when I think way back I always had issues with food. I remember in my teens being embarrassed to eat in front of people and never took a lunch to school. When I came home I would eat a lot because I was so hungry. I remember one time I spent the weekend at a cousin’s house because my parents went away and I didn’t eat in front of them all weekend. My cousin was worried because I didn’t eat of course but I was a shy child and so my mom blamed that.
I hated bulimia. I hated it so much sometimes I would just cry and cry. I felt so much shame about it and didn’t share with any friends or family what I was going through. I eventually told my mom but she glossed over the subject and to this day does not ask about it. I didn’t think I could ever get over it. I wanted to be “normal” in the worst way.
In 2013 my husband and I moved from Southern Alberta to Vancouver Island. We were here three months when I had a complete meltdown over this eating disorder. I googled eating disorder therapists as was surprised to learn the island had several therapists and even in-patient treatment centres! I can still remember calling my husband who was at work and sobbing so hard about the eating disorder. I no longer had coverage through my job and would have to pay out of pocket for treatment and husband he would pay any amount if it meant I could feel better.
Enter Esther Kane into my life. I started seeing her in October 2013 and it has been amazing. I am 41 years old and have been purge-free for one year. I credit Esther of course but I also credit myself. It has been two years of some serious inner reflection to get to this stage and I’m not finished yet. I’ve dealt with bulimia since I was around 25 years old and I may deal with it for the rest of my life and I might not, who knows. What I do know is I’m at the point where I am no longer shameful of bulimia and I open up to people more about it. Some people appreciate me sharing and some get visibly uncomfortable. One friend asked me “what’s the skinniest you got”? I had to tell her I was never skinny, bulimia “didn’t work for me” I guess.
My journey isn’t over. I am learning to get healthy in positive ways and still struggle with food but I can feel confident in saying the struggle isn’t daily or even hourly. I share my story in the hopes that someone can gain some strength from it and know that it takes work but we can overcome anything if we have the desire to do so. (And a good therapist doesn’t hurt either)!