This is the story of my Bulimia which started back 21 years ago – after the time when I could still recall the freedom and joy I felt being in my own body as a very young child; still recall the way I was running, jumping and just playing. It was after the time when I remembered wearing clothes I really liked and the feeling of the texture on my skin.
It was after the time when there was an ease and playfulness, an acceptance, as I expected nothing from my body, which at the time felt lovely and open and where there were no thoughts of “you’re not up to scratch”.
For whatever reason, this started to change and this is where the story of my bulimia began…
Not Being Good Enough
Very early in life the thoughts of ‘not being good enough’ started coming in, becoming more frequent and intense from the age of nine. I experienced learning difficulties with Math at school, which I found a constant struggle: these were accompanied by emotional issues and the persistent thoughts of ‘not being good enough’ continued into my teenage years.
By the end of High School my boyfriend, with whom I had been in a committed relationship for 2 years, broke up with me before leaving for University. I could feel how he was freeing himself up to check out what else was ‘out there’. I was devastated as I had always felt this was the man I would be with forever, and the thoughts of not being good enough again came to the fore.
Not long after he left I remember driving to work one day and a thought came into my head – “Right, instead of feeling hurt and rejected this is your goal: go make yourself, no matter what it takes, into the best woman, daughter, sister, friend, girlfriend material, granddaughter, niece, employee…” the list went on. “And while you’re at it, focus on getting into the Police Academy”.
I remember breathing a sigh of relief and saying “Right, let’s get to it, something to focus my energy on”. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was really creating my very own self-imposed reinforced fortress.
Mastering How ‘to do’ Bulimia……
Without ever remembering seeing anything on how ‘to do’ bulimia, or knowing anyone who was bulimic or who had any kind of eating disorder that I was aware of, somehow all the information was there for me in my thoughts – go here, buy this and do it this way.
Purging by regurgitating was unsuccessful for me from the start, leading to feelings of failure, so I turned to laxatives. At the time I didn’t realise my body had always suffered from dairy and gluten intolerance and had no need to ever take a laxative, but this I decided was the easiest and most definite way to rid myself of food and achieve my goal of being the best I could be.
Food was constantly on my mind; it did not matter if I was out with friends or playing sport, the thought of food and when to eat would be there always. I would go to a different chemist or grocery store each time to buy more laxatives so as to not be found out. This was my big secret. I would hide food to eat later. I felt completely in control of this aspect of my life. Because my family was so used to my having irritable bowel, no one ever suspected anything.
From the outside it looked like I had it all together. I worked a 10-12 hour day, starting and finishing with hours of relentless exercise; taking aerobics classes and pumping iron at the gym, playing all kinds of competitive sport and then after all this, running kilometres a day. I could keep going like this for 17 hours a day, never showing how exhausted I really was. On the inside I felt scared, hurt and lonely.
Unfortunately at my workplace there was one toilet, not outside away from everyone, but right in the middle of where everyone worked. I would be in excruciating pain after taking up to 30 laxatives at a time, popping even more after each visit to the toilet, all the time holding on for as long as I could so that the other employees didn’t suspect anything.
The drive to purge myself of food and to be successful in every facet of my life far outweighed the pain.
If a workmate made a comment like “Gee, you go to your bag a lot”, I would just say I was getting chewing gum to hide the fact that I was actually grabbing whatever laxative relief I had.
This behaviour continued for a year as I learned to master how to do bulimia by pretending I had eaten on my way home from sport so that my family wouldn’t expect me to eat dinner. I would sometimes buy takeaway and hide it so that if I did feel hungry during the night, I could control how much I ate or didn’t eat, and could do it in secret without anyone watching. I didn’t like eating home cooked meals as I then felt guilty if I purged afterwards because it was ‘real’ food compared to what I would buy for myself.
I didn’t gorge myself on ice cream, junk food, chocolates or lollies, but I mainly ate what I perceived to be more ‘healthier’ options at the time, like packet noodles, rice crackers and sultanas.
As my obsession with bulimia intensified, my family started to get suspicious. With the lack of food being absorbed by my system I was getting little nutrition and I was becoming very vague and irresponsible, particularly when driving. I would drive really fast, preoccupied with my obsessions with food and what I needed to do to be successful that day.
As a result, one day I pulled out in front of a car and we had a collision at the end of my street. This gave me a fright and I felt bad that I had caused injury to the other woman and damaged her car, but it really didn’t bring me to a stop.
Not long after this accident, my obsessive way of living in order to cover up my bulimic behaviour finally got exposed. I was taken twice to a counsellor for bulimia – which did not help at all, as all the focus was on my family’s feelings and not truly about what was going on for me. There was no criticism or judgment, as my family was genuinely concerned and did their best to support me, but they struggled to understand (as did I) how I could do what I was doing to myself.
So as to relieve my family of the worry, I swept my problems under the carpet and for a short time stopped my obsessive behaviour with bulimia and over-exercising.
Self-worth Issues and the Return of my Bulimia
In time, as my self-worth issues had never been addressed, the bulimia returned and to my great relief this time I found myself able to purge by making myself vomit, which meant that I could cut down on the laxatives and could bring the food up before it even had the chance to be digested. This became a highly sophisticated and organised process as there were so many things to take into account. I would organise the toilet or shower like you would set out your dressing table to paint your nails. I would take into consideration how quiet I would need to be in the process of throwing up in relation to who was around and how much in proximity they were.
I was never truly present with anyone as I was continually obsessed with my bulimia and what I would eat and when and where I would be able to throw it all up again.
I felt like a big fake and was so ashamed of what I was doing, and how much food and money I was wasting. But still I could not see any way of stopping – I honestly thought this would be my life forever.
This continued off and on for six or seven years. There were times when I would go for months without feeling this way but then something would happen, something that I did not want to feel or talk about and I would go back to the perceived relief of purging – something that was just mine that I could do to myself, no-one else could. Looking back I can see that my bulimia, and so much of what I felt, related to the self-worth issues that I continued to ignore.
The behaviours and symptoms of my bulimia eating disorder at the time were:
- Withdrawal from close friends, family and intimate gatherings
- Overdoing and pushing myself in all areas of life including exercise, sport, work and study
- Long bouts of time spent alone in my room, bathroom, toilet or outside away from others
- Avoidance of family mealtimes
- Drinking copious amounts of water in order to fill myself up and to help with bringing up the food
- The frequent consumption of laxatives, mints or chewing gum
- The shedding of weight, red eyes and flushed face.
Over the years (during which time I got married and had two sons), those intense feelings that drove me to my bulimia eased and changed to a so called ‘milder’ version of not feeling good enough as a wife and mother, along with the juggling of everything that goes with work and family life.
However, even though I had an adoring and devoted husband who has always been there for me, I kept pushing him away as I could not love myself – and as such, although some of my behaviour was less intense, my self-worth issues regardless were never far from the surface.
Universal Medicine – The Turning Point in My Life With Bulimia
Over the years I had looked into many different healing modalities such as Kinesiology, Reiki, tarot card reading, psychics and Aura-Soma colour healing, as well as having deep tissue and lomi lomi massages and seeing various chiropractors in order to deal with my bulimia and the underlying feelings of never being good enough etc. However, no matter what therapy I tried or which practitioner I saw, all of them made me feel like I could never do this on my own and I always needed something outside of me to change.
After years of seeking support, with changes that were at best temporary or providing momentary relief, the true change and turning point in my life came when I attended a Heart Chakra 1 workshop with Universal Medicine, presented by Serge Benhayon.
The difference with this, relative to all the other therapies I had tried, was that Serge Benhayon was presenting another way of being, based on his own livingness, a self-caring, self-loving way of living, all presented in a gentle non-imposing way.
I started to consider that the true healing for my bulimia and self-worth issues was not about fixing anything outside of myself, but looking within.
I left feeling: “Wow, could it be that I am not just capable of healing my own hurts, but also that I am already everything I have thought I needed to strive to be?”
In his presentations, Serge Benhayon shared simple tools which helped me reconnect with my body – simple techniques like feeling my toes in my shoes, doing the gentle breath meditation and being present with myself throughout my day.
Putting what was presented into practice gave me an opportunity to stop and arrest the momentum I was in – the relentless and punishing drive to ‘improve’ myself based on my belief that I was never good enough. These simple techniques allowed me the space to make different, more loving choices for myself and begin to mark a true end to the cycle of my bulimic behaviour.
Learning to be Self-Loving
Six years after being introduced to the teachings of Universal Medicine, the effects of my bulimia eating disorder and the thoughts that so totally dominated and controlled my life are no longer there. I now take care of and appreciate my body and am able to tune into the tenderness that I now know is innately within us all.
This means I am now eating and exercising in a way that honours my body instead of punishing and pushing it – fully accepting how I am feeling and what my limitations are.
Breaking the cycle of my bulimia, the self-harm and not feeling good enough and dealing with my underlying self-worth issues, has allowed me to love myself and therefore be able to let others in.
I now know that I am the amazing, beautiful and precious woman that I have always been but had lost sight of. And that true beauty comes from within.
AFTER 7 Years with Universal Medicine | Aimee Edmonds (Age 39)
This new love of self has allowed me to blossom, unfold and open and be able to share my feelings and myself with my husband, children, friends, family, clients and society. People around me have noticed and commented on how much more of me I am and what a joy I am to have around.
This turning point in my life and this turnaround is nothing short of a miracle. A miracle that Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon made possible through the teachings of the importance of self-care that then allows us to be self-loving.
By Aimee Edmonds, Burnaby, Vancouver