It is not easy to talk about my bulimia recovery, but I am going to dive right in. It feels right, because last night something made me share my story on facebook and instagram and over the last 24-hours the feedback has been truly fantastic. I’m pretty overwhelmed. I have had private messages from people I hadn’t heard from in years sharing their stories and from some explaining how they had never realised that I was ill. There is a reason for that.
The thing about bulimia and eating disorders is that it is all so secretive. I constantly told lies (“oh it’s ok, I have eaten”) and I avoided dinners out or turned up late and I began to forget how to be normal, what was normal!?
In yesterday’s post I shared this photo:
Then : 17-year old Lucy, in the throes of extremely disordered eating. 7st. BMI 15.
Now: 41-year old Lucy, in the throes of happiness and balance. 9st 7lb. BMI 22.
For 6-years (A’level and Uni years) I struggled with disordered eating / an eating disorder / bulimia. I was utterly gripped with obsession, inconceivable beliefs and sadness, and I felt like there was a major disconnect between my mind and my body. I am not going to go into the many stories that I experienced and the situations that I lived through, but I want to talk a little bit about how things have changed.
I realised, that for life to be enjoyable, I needed to changed my behaviour. But in true eating disorder style, I decided this all by myself and I made plans all by myself, too. I made doctors appointments, booked a counsellor, took books out of the library (no google back then) and I tried hard to get myself well. I had to get myself well – my menstrual cycle had ceased (amenorrhea) and my mind was driving me crazy. “How many calories are in that?” “Where is the nearest loo?” “I’m going to try to eat normally today” and on and on and on…
So I went to private counselling and it was very good. It cost a lot of money and I funded it all, on my own. I also talked to the one friend who ‘got me’ but only when I was full of wine. I was still hiding within myself and pretending that I was ok. I worked through the practicalities of what was happening with my counsellor and I had a structure to follow to put on weight and to introduce a normal pattern of eating into my life. I was doing well.
I started putting on weight and I didn’t like it. That said, I knew that I was gaining happiness and clarity and although I hated the weight, I was prepared for the inevitable side-effect of healing my body and my mind.
As the years passed, I was feeling more balanced. But, I started to realise that I did not like myself, at all. As a result I failed at relationships, I couldn’t hold down a job for long, I didn’t know what I wanted, I couldn’t make choices, I wasn’t living a very balanced life. But I was ok. I was partying, having fun, working in magazine publishing, earning money and having a pretty good time IGNORING MYSELF and my needs. I didn’t know how to address this, so I ignored it – for years!
Fast forward to 2016 when I booked onto a business and success coach programme to boost my business as a Make-up Artist. Little did I know that I would work deeply on my mindset and completely get to the bottom of myself as a person, and, start to like myself. A feeling I had come to accept that wasn’t possible. I mean liking yourself is a bit big-headed isn’t it? And after years of beating myself up and telling myself some truly awful things, how could I possibly like myself!?
But it happened. The feeling was there. The ‘like’ was little at first, but after about a year, it was HUGE! A common misconception of liking oneself is arrogance but it was, and is, far from arrogance. I actually really like myself! If I think back to that confused whippet thin 17-year old clubber (clubbing meant I could dance all night – great for burning calories) there was no like there at all. And certainly no loving myself.
At 42-years old, a mother of two beautiful confident and courageous girls, a wife and a business owner I am glad I went through it all. Why? Because I have developed an honesty from within that I admire. I can tell the truth. I am confident. I am happy and I feel grounded. As a confidence coach I feel that I can coach from a place of experience. If the self-loathing, angry, sad, confused Lucy can do it. Anyone can!
I’m over the moon that I’ve moved on from Lucy you see above – my life at the stage was sad and altogether exhausting. Living life with balance and purpose from a place on inner confidence is, for me, what it is all about. Now I am in that place, I have become more successful and I feel that I can help others now. Bulimia recovery is absolutely possible, it really is. I took small steps when it felt right for me. I still manage it but I no longer have any bad thoughts around food, dining out, eating with friends or eating in general. I view it so differently.
If I can help you in anyway please please do contact me via the form on my website – click HERE