So for a while after the overdose, everything seemed to be running smoothly, I had gone back to school after the holidays, I had ‘turned over a new leaf’, and despite the scarring on my arm, I appeared relatively stable. I was going through a period of no self harm (that I can remember anyway) and was getting on with my life.
By now I was nearly 18 and in sixth form. For most of my teenage years I had thought of myself as ‘fat’ but never really had the motivation to do anything about it. I had the typical teenage agst, ‘I hate myself, I hate my body’ but it never crossed my mind to lose any weight, or if it did, it lasted a few days before I relapsed back into my normal eating habits.
For the life of me, I can’t remember what was different this time, but I know it started by not eating the sandwiches that my Dad made me for lunch. This went on for a few weeks, before the idea of throwing up my dinner came to me. The procedure was this, I ate, I went upstairs and ran a bath – while the bath was running a threw up in the toilet knowing that no-one could hear because of the running water. It didn’t take long for me to lose weight and it was addictive – but at this point I didn’t realise how much.
Soon I realised that if I was throwing up my dinner and restricting myself during the day, I might as well save it all up and eat if after my dinner and enjoy it – it was going to come back up anyway. It was at this point I began my binging and purging behaviour, and over several months this developed from once a day to several times a day, until my whole daily routine revolved around food.
It was a daily occurance to stop at Tesco on the way home and buy cereals, chocolates, sweets and biscuits, eat them on the way home then throw up after eating the dinner that was ready for me. I even have a memory of stopping on the side of the road to throw up in a field as I was not returning home that night.
It didn’t take long after this for me to consider the idea of laxatives. I chose Dulcolax – you can buy them off the shelf – and started taking one or two per time, but this quickly progressed to ten, twenty then fourty. I took him around 8pm, so that they would work around 3/4am, and no-one could hear what I was up to. I have a memory of being so ill one night I couldn’t make it to the toilet, so using my bin as a toilet (thankfully it was plastic!), and another night stripping off and lying in the garden because I couldn’t control anything that was coming out of my body.
Looking back now, this was such a shameful time in my life, but yet again, I was out of control. If I ate anything, and felt it in my stomach, it had to come back up again, and the easiest way of doing that was to binge so that my stomach was full and easier to empty. I tried lots of ways of making myself sick; fingers, soapy water, standing over a toilet I had just had a poop in – they all worked, as disgusting as they are.
As time progressed I went from my original 10.5 stone, to 9 stone, then 8, then 7. I gave up any hobbies I had, and had no energy for anything apart from my obession with food. I bunked off school because my day consisted of getting up, binging, purging, sleeping, binging, purging, sleeping. After I had purged I would say to myself it wouldn’t happen again that day, but it always did.
A friend of mine who lived in Wales invited me to stay with her for a week, as she wanted to help me. As much as I hadn’t admitted it, I needed help and desperately. This time, it wasn’t for attention. I was truly out of control and no idea how to help myself.
I went for a week, and she watched me like a hawk. Despite her help, I learnt the tricks of the trade – eating a mouthful and taking a drink – and depositing the mouthful in the cup, moving food around the plate, drinking water before she weighed me – it was only a week but I should have accepted her help and not played her. Despite that, I did return from Wales with a fresh perspective on things, having realised I had a serious problem and needed to change things around.
Take Care. x