Bingeing and purging
This post has been written by a follower of Sergeant Calm who wished to remain anonymous.
I’m kneeling on the bathroom floor covered in my own vomit, with excruciating gut pain, a raw throat, tears rolling down my face, my head in the toilet bowl…. I’m thinking why the hell am I here, this is not normal, I can’t go on like this. Everything hurts. My face is sore and swollen, my body bloated to explosion. The purge goes on and on. Bending over the toilet only increases my already unmanageable back pain. An hour could have passed and finally I think it’s all out.
I clean up the horrific, disgusting and putrid mess, have a shower, put on fresh clothes and return to the kitchen to start finding food to binge on again…
It seems insane to even write.
My life has been filled with family and friends, love, laughter, travel and wonderful times, interlaced with darkness and pain. Hidden and dealt with through self-medication using food and more recently the addition of alcohol. At the age of 14 I learnt a strategy for coping with stress by bingeing and purging and two decades later, it is still my go to. The rush of buying any food I want that my ‘normal’ strict and regimented self would not dare to eat. Eating as much as I want and the relief when it comes back out became a very addictive pattern, soothing to my anxiety. I have had days of purging 5 or more times, over and over filling up and then throwing up. This is obviously too difficult if you have a partner or flat mates, so in times of real desperation I have booked motels to stay at and know almost every public toilet in Auckland. I can’t imagine how much money I have spent on food, motels and alcohol. I don’t want to add it up.
I’m a pretty average kiwi girl, born in the early 80s, an only child with a perfectionist hard-nosed dad and a kind, but slightly aloof mum. I grew up hearing I was so bright I could ‘do anything I wanted’ and told to make the most of all the opportunities I was given as it was far more than my parents ever had.
There was always guilt around not working hard enough, or being enough for my dad. The first time I purged, his voice was in my head ‘easy on the lips, forever on the hips’, I was 14 and threw up my dinner into the trees behind our house.
That year I lost a significant amount of weight, enough to become a ‘cool’ kid. Status earned by dress size. Woohoo. Yeah. But actually, it meant a lot at the time.
The years rolled on, boyfriends came and went, study, jobs, pets, cities. Stress, old pain, new pain, breakups, hurt, fear, anxiety, depression. These are feelings I have not wanted to have anything to do with, so I ate and purged my way through it all, numb and unbreakable, strong and successful.
4 yrs ago my body started showing signs it was pretty unhappy with my behavior and gave me a nice dose of a thyroid condition and autoimmune disease, this is where my own immune system is attacking my thyroid (a little gland in the neck, it makes hormones and is like the master controller of metabolism as well as other things).
Even though I had major reasons to take care of myself, but I was in an unhappy relationship at the time and had no other coping mechanisms in place, so just kept on doing what I knew would ease the pain. And add in…. the drinking.
Bored with my situation, rebelling from the partner and pissed off at the world, I really took to mid week drinking well. Early, mid and late week in fact. And Sunday Funday was a regular favorite.
So now bingeing and purging was done best with 10 ciders included and/or a bottle or 2 of wine. Helps to numb the back pain of bending over the toilet too.
Fast forward to present. It’s super late on July 6th 2017. My autoimmune issue has progressed with the addition of rheumatoid arthritis and the thyroid condition poorly managed by an extreme number of pharmaceutical drugs. The shitty partner is out of my life and a small fluffy dog is the only guy currently allowed in my bed.
Shit has got pretty real. My health has been in real decline. The last few weeks I have reached rock bottom. I have spent the last week off the rails while house sitting for family, basically took time off living to sedate myself with food and booze.
You are probably thinking why the hell haven’t I been admitted to a ward or nut house…..
I have spent 20yrs perfecting the art of secrecy around this. I have literally told no one how bad it has got, other than my Macbook. (And I think my dentist knows) Yes, I have spoken to an occasional councilor here or there, but I have been very filtered. And they like that I am not underweight, so am obviously fine with little risk. I can pull off the ‘I’m ok’ pretty damn well when I need to, then drive home from the appointment getting binge food along the way.
So why am I writing all this if it’s been such a secret? Because I’ve had literally an absolute guts full.
I want to recover.