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E.D. Contact goes On-Line!

E.D. Contact is a new and positive Information Resource created by and for Families and Individuals living with Eating Distress in Ireland.



 

Susan

 



After 10 years of recovery, I can look back and see that the main cause of my eating distress was my over sensitivity. I believe that I always had eating distress, however, the physical symptoms did not appear until I was 13. My father was changing jobs, which meant that the whole family had to move. I was devastated! We were averaging a new move every two to three years and I had only just enough time in the last one to make a nice circle of friends. The adjustment was very difficult. The school was more challenging and it was Catholic as well as being all girls. I felt stupid and lonely and, of course, fat!
Given the awful state of my life, I decided that a diet was in order. I thought that if I looked better then it would be easier to make friends. And so it began. My little diet very quickly took the form of anorexia. After a few months of not eating, or barely eating, and exercising hours a day, I was mad for all of the food I had been depriving myself; and, wouldn’t you know the kitchen press was loaded! Afterwards, the anger and hatred that I felt towards myself was overwhelming; I had failed at my diet! Well anyway, that’s how the bulimia started.
The thing is, I was a failure at purging too. It took me about an hour and it really hurt. I wasn’t even sure that I had gotten everything up. After about six months of this, I decided that I had a problem since I couldn’t stop. I wanted help; but, according to the diagnostic manuals that define ‘eating disorders’, I was not severe enough to warrant treatment. I wasn’t under-weight enough to be anorexic and I still wasn’t good enough at vomiting to be a ‘real’ bulimic.
So I kept practising the vomiting thing for the next five years. I even added laxative abuse to the mix. At this point, I finally felt I was good enough to deserve help. Only I didn’t know how to go about asking for help and I felt miserable. I had a breakdown in the form of a wrist slashing and it did the trick. The family could see that treatment was in order. I was sent away to a hospital and after Prozac and therapy I was considered cured and sent home.
I wasn’t cured. I had spent a month locked away and came home to a family who expected me to be ‘fixed’. It was too much pressure and I was back to my old tricks with a vengeance. All the while I believed that I was a very weak person because even after treatment, I couldn’t control myself. Each time I faced the toilet, I begged God to make my oesophagus burst or my stomach to tear or my heart to stop.
I finally had enough and I wanted the responsibility for my own recovery! I rang my health insurance to see how much they would cover and was refused coverage due to the fact that I was not underweight enough. (I knew I was too fat!) I felt hopeless and angry and felt unloved and unlovable!
That night, I came up with a solution to my problems. I would just kill myself! After all, who wants to live their life hunched over a toilet every day? I didn’t and yet, I couldn’t figure out how to live any other way. Eating distress is a slow form of suicide. Even though up to this point, I hadn’t given much conscious thought to taking my own life, I suppose the idea was always hovering vaguely about. The concoction of pills that I ingested bought me a trip to the hospital, a stomach pump, two pacemakers, and an emergency heart operation. Oh, yes, it also bought me recovery.
Having come so close to death helped me to finally take responsibility for my recovery. Treatment again involved medication until I copped on to the fact that it was slowing me up. I was focusing more on the medication side effects than I was on discovering who I was behind the eating distress.

So, here I am ten years later with the message that recovery is possible for anyone who wants it. And, everyone is worthy of living a life free of eating distress!
 

Recovered, Age 30

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