When a teen struggles with the nightmare that is Bulimia, words from her mother bring about a life-changing moment.
Words that are never whispered, let alone spoken about in polite conversation.
But it is there. It happens. And there are more sufferers out there than you know.
People look at Bulimia and see emaciated bodies hunched over a toilet. No personality, no faces.
But this isn’t it at all.
I don’t know when I started to make myself sick after eating. It’s either been so long that I can’t remember or I’ve blocked it out, but it’s been at least a year.
I’d never been happy with the way that I looked. I felt fat and ugly. My self image hadn’t been done any favours by people at school who would bump into me in corridors saying, “Stupid Fat Cow”. I wasn’t any of these. I’m was in the top handful of my year, and although I was 3 stone overweight, no one had ever commented on it in earnest to me.
I was well-liked, although I didn’t see it at the time, but yet I started making myself sick. I can’t even explain why. I think that it might have been a culmination of things. I was under pressure to succeed at school, and at home my parents had just split up.
It’s unfair and untrue to blame my family for anything that I’ve done in my life. Quite simply I was over sensitive to everything that was said to me. I can remember comments from years ago as clear as if they were whispered in my ear this moment,
“This girl is unfit to dive into water”.
I haven’t been able to dive since, and I used to love swimming.
But I digress. I quite well knew the risks of forcing my body to do things it wasn’t designed for; stomach ulcers, corroded teeth, bad skin, digestive problems, liver and kidney damage… the list goes on.
But yet I still did it.
And the irony is, I didn’t feel any better about myself after I’d lost the 3 Â½ stone and come into my normal weight bracket. I still saw fat in the mirror and ugly in the eyes of others.
The worst day of my life came about a year after I’d started down the eating disorder road. My mother confronted me and asked me straight out whether I’d been making myself sick. I reluctantly admitted it. My first thought was to cover it up. To lie, but I was tired of lying. I was tired of it all.
So, I ended up going to a psychiatrist who did nothing for me. I was as bad as I always had been.
The changing moment in my life came from my mother. After I’d confessed how little the therapy was helping me with my problem, I sat down and had a long talk with her. The talk covered many things. Me, her, the family, my feelings, her feelings… and then she said the most important words to me,
“Failure is not falling down……It is staying down.”
These few words have changed my life irrevocably. I’ve begun to see what I CAN do, not what I can’t. I see just how lucky I am; in my family, my friends, my talents… even my weaknesses.
I am no longer depressed. I have my whole life in front of me and I can do whatever I want.
I am the luckiest person in the world.
Whatever I want to do….
Editor’s note: 1 stone = 14 pounds
Eleanor Cole is an 18 year old student living in England, and will shortly be attending university to study Film and English Literature. She enjoys writing in a variety of different styles from comments upon issues such as cancer and eating disorders to poetry and short stories.