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Self loathing caused my illness – learning to love myself cured me

I am just going to write this from the heart. So, keep in mind as you are reading this that is how it was writen and why it may seem rough around the edges.

When I was in highschool I began to force myself to vomit after eating a large amount of ice cream. Ice cream was my comfort food of choice. I didn’t do it all the time but when I was really upset about something I would head for the freezer and grab a half gallon of icecream. I would plant myself on the couch in front of the tv with a spoon eating. I ate with numbness. I hated myself. The ice cream gave me comfort in my self loathing even if it was only short lived.

Afterwards, I would look down into the ice cream carton to see that most of the half gallon was gone. Out of fear of being fat I would go into the restroom and force myself to vomit up all of that ice cream. I did this at the beginning maybe once a month or about every two months. I continued for a little over a year. At the end, I was binging at least once a week. However, it had gotten to where I couldn’t eat anything without the urge to vomit at least a little.

I usually only binged when noone was home but became more comfortable doing it with first my brother at home and later with everyone at home. I was very careful to not be caught and hid the evidence at the bottom of the trash. I thought noone suspected what I was doing. It was not uncommon for me to spend hours in the restroom. I was seventeen, you know? My brother was the first to suspect what I was doing. I would go into the restroom locking the door behind me. He would stand at the door listening without my knowing. When he was sure of what I was doing he began to beat the door telling me to stop that it would hurt me. He told me he was going to tell my parents and I told him to go ahead because I wasn’t doing anything. I knew he didn’t believe my lie that I was just fixing my hair. He asked me why the toilet was flushed and why was I gagging. I told him I didn’t feel well. He said he had suspected that I had been doing it for a long time, but on that day he was sure. I was frozen in fear and relief that my secret was no longer a secret. My parents sat me down and asked me about it. I lied my way out promising that even if I were doing it I would stop. I meant well. I wanted to stop. I couldn’t.

I don’t remember how much time passed from the conversation with my parents to the day my father caught me vomiting in the restroom. He was furious and told me if he caught me again I would have to go see a doctor. He told me I was killing myself and he wouldn’t stand by watching me. Something inside me woke up and I realized I was hurting myself. I couldn’t control the urge to vomit no matter what I ate. It was taking over my life and I was only seventeen.

I stopped that day. I no longer ate huge amounts of food running the restroom afterwards to get it all out of my body. However, I could not control the urge to vomit after eating and would only go to the restroom when it was too great for me to handle. Over time this feeling grew less strong and I was able to eat small amounts of food without gagging. Even today I can’t pig out without feeling like I will throw up.

Why in the world did I do it? I think it was because I thought I was ugly and that noone would love me. I didn’t love myself. I was a perfectionist and if I did something less than perfect I beat myself up. By eating ice cream I could experience pleasure because I was eating something I loved and at the same time deep down I knew it was to hurt myself. I really hated me.

I still love ice cream. I have to control myself whenever I am eating it. I would love to sit in front of the tv with a spoon and eat an entire half gallon by myself. I know I can’t and I haven’t since I was around 18. I am lucky that my family caught me. I am thankful that my father didn’t let me get away with my lies and turn the other way. I am saved from serious health problems that may have caused my death or at the very least made me extremely ill over time as my body became weaker and more damaged. I certainly would not have had all my children or be able to enjoy them and take care of them as I do now.

I have learned to love myself and don’t think I am a horrible person. I understand that while I am not perfect noone is. Everyone deserves love. I love me.
Most of you have someone in your family or circle of friends that has fought an eating disorder or is currently fighting one and you may never even suspect it. Watch the signs and don’t let them wiggle out.

I hope by telling my story that I will help someone out there either stop hating and hurting themselves or alert a loved one or friend to look for signs and not ignore clues.

In todays world women and men have too much pressure to look perfect. Noone is perfect. Please, learn to love yourself no matter what you look like. I have known people in my life that could turn heads even if they were not perfect in appearance. How did they do it? Confidence and self love radiated from them. The person on the inside overshadowed the image on the outside transforming it into a vision of beauty. You just wanted to be near their laughing eyes and happy spirit. You couldn’t help but fall in love with their goodness and honesty. You were drawn to their confidence and energy. None of these things had to do with how attractive their face or body was. They were simply beautiful inside and out.

Please, think about it.

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Please, read a previous post called Who’s that girl??? to find out more about those picture perfect girls on magazines. They are not really that perfect in real life.

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Visit the following links for more information about eating disorders:

National eating disorders association

Mirror-mirror (eating disorders) – very good website with lots of information

Beyond Physical Appearances: A Guide to Anorexia

Eating disorders on Wikipedia – a great resource (more links found at bottom of page)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • kim April 27, 2006, 1:37 pm

    Pumpkin, My father is a male bulimic, I found that out when I was 21, and I wondered if that is why I had done it all through high school, it was my diet of choice, my friends and I had done it together.
    I think its such a dangerous thing and I worry about my niece, my sister and BIL is soo hard on her about her tummy..that is how it started with me, my father was a perfectionist, if I had the least bit of weight on me, I was 5’8 and 140 lbs, and I’m really big boned, so I was like a size 7/8, my dad would look at me and say “look at yourself in the mirror before you eat that cookie” or stuff like that, he thought he was just helping me..ayayya.
    Well thanks for posting, it makes me remember that path I went down, that I try to deny, I need to watch out for my neice and keep her in check, she is 12. That is when I started.

  • buzzgirl April 27, 2006, 5:01 pm

    Pumpkin, I’m glad that your family was there for you, and that you’ve recovered. I was never bulimic, but in college I did starve myself until I was weak and my hair was falling out. It was worth it to me though, because, ironically, everyone kept telling me how great I looked.

    I’m obese now, in part, because I know that if I start “dieting” I won’t be able to stop. There’s no middle ground with me. I’m stuck.

    I’m glad you got help

  • Pumpkin April 27, 2006, 6:13 pm

    Kim, You could talk to her about how hard it is to be a teenager and all the pressures. Talk to her about your experiences and share with her what you learned and how you dealt with it. I think that is the best way to help people…talking about your own experiences and being honest.

    Buzzgirl, I know lots of girls that had one form of eating disorder or another. I have heard of men having problems as well. I think you are just beautiful like you are. However, I have told you that before. You are beautiful. Most importantly you are a good person and have a beautiful spirit as does Kim and all the others that read or comment on this blog.

  • Julie April 27, 2006, 7:36 pm

    First visit to you, and I feel a bit uncomfortable commenting on such a personal topic. But as someone who loves to eat ice cream, hates to throw up, and remembers hating my body, I wanted to say thanks for sharing your story. Confidence and self-love – you nailed it right there.

  • amy April 27, 2006, 9:21 pm

    Wow. That couldnt have been easy to write about ( or live for that matter). Glad you made it through that and can share it with others. Very powerful. PS- first time here- love your pics!

  • carra April 27, 2006, 10:34 pm

    I have just read this well written article, and I started shaking from my eating disorder memories. I remember my mother used to say I am fat. I was 14 and already hated my body; then I got raped and I hated everything about myself. I started vomiting when I was on my own, then daily anytime. My mother never noticed. I just remember that one day there was program on TV and they showed anorectic girls. I got scared and I stoped I have done IT few times afterwards accidantly and that was the end. Now I am slightly overweight, but in very nice feminine shape. I am married and I know if my husband would catch me doing it he would hit me. That is not because he is a violent man but because he wouldn’t let me to get into that again. I promised myself never to go on a diet and torture myself – I promised him to love me. Thanks for sharing, I know how it felt. It’s a hell but we learned our lesson.

  • Julie April 27, 2006, 11:36 pm

    Pumpkin, when I was 11 I went through something similar to this, only it was anorexia. I ended up being hospitalized. It probably ruined my hair forever. Since then my hair has been so dry and hard to manage. I’m not sure why I started doing it. Maybe it came from a desire to do something important with my life. I’ve always felt a desire to do something important, but I have a hard time defining it. I don’t know when I decided to eat correctly again. I remember even after 2 years of counseling wanting to just starve myself because I’d gained a pound. It took awhile, my whole personality had to change. And it did. Now I’m independant and don’t care as much what people think. Sometimes I wish I did;-)

  • Pumpkin April 28, 2006, 8:29 am

    Julie #4 and Amy – Thank you for commenting. I think most young women if not adult woman hate their bodies. I am not surprised by how many commenters have shared their own experiences with this very issue. I know the number of people that have this illness is much higher than anyone thinks.
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    Carra, Your comment really touched me. I am sorry for all the things you have been through. You are a very strong woman. What I have learned in my life is that in spite of all the horrible things that can happen to you in life the beautiful moments and people that love us help us get beyond it. I try to never stop seeing the beauty in the world. Your post about your jars told me you are the same. You see beauty in simple things and it makes you happy. Take care. I just found your blog and am happy that I did. You have a sweet spirit.
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    Julie, I am so sorry that you and the others went through this. I am very happy that you got help and that you don’t care what others think. As long as you love yourself it doesn’t matter what others think, really. When I worked at the bank my elderly customers always told me that it doesn’t matter what others think and that it was too bad that most people don’t realize it until they are older. People come and go in our lives. It is the ones that stay who matter. They love you no matter what.

  • carra April 28, 2006, 9:52 am

    Thank you Pumpkin, through you finding my blog and posting a comment in it, I found this beautiful blog of yours! You are doing a great job, and the subject you touched though is very sensitive, it is a part of everyday life (unfortunately). You are right about beautiful moments, all of us should keep them in our hearts and when the hard times come, think about the good times. I don’t think I am strong I just have someone strong beside me, who gives me the strengh to go through anything. P.S. I love your blog!

  • Julie April 29, 2006, 3:30 am

    Thanks, Pumpkin

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