My struggles with bulimia began when I was 17. I didn’t even see it coming. But looking back, I realize two very important things. One – my perfectionist personality was paving a road to destruction for quite some time. Unfortunately, I didn’t allow myself to seriously address my perfectionism until it had taken over. And two – my best friend at the time, whom I thought was a source of comfort and support, was actually enabling me. She began struggling with eating disorders right before I did, and it took almost 2 years before I was able to say goodbye to her and make the decision to get better without her rather than get worse with her. Moving on from that friendship was so painful at the time, but it has turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made for myself.
Another important realization I have been able to make in retrospect is that my problem was not over when the purging stopped. My bulimic tendencies gradually became less frequent and less overwhelming, which led me to believe that I was healed and no longer needed to see my psychologist. However, the underlying feelings remained active and unresolved, which led to relapses. Also, I have come to realize that “definitions” for eating disorders are useless, in my opinion. My bulimia was far less devastating and controlling than the cases you hear about in the media – I never binged, I didn’t purge every day (sometimes I would go months at a time without purging), I never lost more than a pound or two of weight, and I never suffered from any serious health problems because of it. Even though I didn’t meet all the conditions that “define” a bulimic person, I still had a very real and very terrible problem.
The turning point in my recovery was when I confessed my dark secret to my boyfriend of 6 years. I remember the exact moment I decided to come clean, and I knew in my heart that it would be extremely difficult, but would ultimately lead me to healing. The months following that were the most painful of my life, but also the most important in my recovery. At times it seemed that my world would fall apart, and that taking these final steps to recover would be more painful than retreating back into the disorder. I began seeing a counselor to help me through this extremely challenging process of coming to terms with my past. Gradually, my boyfriend was able to forgive me (and we are now happily married!), but more importantly I was able to forgive myself. I made amends with God, and He healed my body, mind, and soul. My relationships with my husband, with myself, and with God have been infinitely strengthened. I know that I am truly recovered, and it’s a wonderful thing.
Encouragement for Others
I hope my story of recovery can help others to find strength and conviction within themselves to overcome eating disorders. Please do not ever let yourself feel that your problem is not severe enough to get help. If you are even thinking about adopting eating disorder behaviors, confront those thoughts right away! Do not underestimate the power of eating disorders – they will take the control away from you before you know it. I pray that you never lose faith in God. Give yourself over to Him, and he will save you. If you find music inspirational, listen to the band Flyleaf. Their message is what led me to the turning point in my recovery. Separate yourself from negative influences – the power you gain will be far more valuable than the losses you may have to endure. Never give up.