Tough first steps in overcoming bulimia
Reprinted from "Women" issue of Visions Journal, 2004, 2(4), p. 29
Shhhhhhh. Relief settles over my body as I hear the glorious sound of my problems flush down the toilet. I stumble into the bedroom and drop on to my bed. Drained of energy, I have no will to do anything - anything but think about my next binge, that is.
Why is this happening to me? I wonder. Why can't I stop eating?
This hellish, emotional whirl dragged on for four long, devastating years. I quit my regular activities, and isolated myself from friends and acquaintances. When I was in grade 11, the obsession took over, exhaustion from the routine caught up to me, and I dropped out of school. I became extremely depressed, and was bingeing and purging nine to 10 times a day.
My parents knew something was wrong with me, but they couldn't quite figure out what it was. I wasn't dropping weight, due to the bingeing, but I wasn't gaining a huge amount of weight either. It wasn't until I wrote a note to them explaining my problem that they really knew what was going on. The next morning my parents scheduled an appointment with the doctor.
After assessing the problem, the doctor recommended me for an outpatient eating disorder program an hour away from home. I attended the program two days a week for the next seven months, but still grew sicker and sicker each day. I saw numerous psychologists, psychiatrists, nutritionists and doctors, and was placed in several different programs, but nothing helped.
It wasn't until my heart started to fail and I dropped a huge amount of weight in a short period of time that the doctors really started to worry. I was then recommended for the intensive treatment program at Children's Hospital, where I was assessed and accepted. After a few months on the waiting list, I moved in and have since been living there on a regular basis.
I am now in the middle of my third month of treatment, am attending school and am getting ready to go home. When I think about the last four years, I realize how much time and energy my eating disorder took up, and I see what I missed out on in the real world. I feel distressed when I see other people suffering from an eating disorder, and wish that they too could see the advantages of getting better.
After I graduate from high school, I hope to attend college. I want to become a psychologist specializing in eating disorders, so that I can help patients overcome this painful disease.
About the author
Caitlin is recovering from bulimia