Monthly Archives: September 2012

Life Lessons Learned



Let’s pretend that my 30th birthday didn’t end with me sobbing in the bathtub with snot and makeup running down my face. Ok, it did but still…’s not really how I would like to remember it when I look back on my life one day when I am really old. The day was a disaster from start to finish. I guess, as always, my expectations exceeded the event itself and I was left disappointed and broken-hearted. So, after being 30 for one whole day I have learned this lesson in life: you cannot always have what you want no matter how much you want it.

I have learned that no matter how much I love my boyfriend, it does not matter. He does not love me enough to marry me and that is all there is too it. He gave me a gift at 7am and it was the wrong gift. He bought me a necklace with an elephant on it (I’m from Africa) but the elephant was Indian. He didn’t even notice. He bought me a pair of blue stone earrings that suit his sister’s taste but are not me at all. Tonight he gave me 2 framed prints which I told him 9 months ago I didn’t want framed. I tried all day to practice gratitude and contentment and thankfulness. All day I got madder and madder. What I wanted was to be engaged to this man. What I wanted was a gift that suited my taste and style and that was memorable for turning 30. What I wanted was something that screamed ‘I love you!’ and instead I got a few gifts that said, ‘I don’t know what part of the world you are from’, ‘I didn’t listen when you told me not to frame these’ and ‘here are some earrings that would suit my sister’. I tried so hard not to be the bitch that hated the present from her boyfriend but I failed. I am that bitch.

I wanted to go out to dinner tonight with my fiance. Instead I went out with my boyfriend who took me to a restaurant that he picked despite me telling him which restaurant I wanted to eat at. We went somewhere that barely served vegetarian food. He looked at the menu and said, ” look at all the choices!”. I stared at the menu that was devoid of one ingredient that didn’t resemble a dead carcass. I tried so hard to be content in the moment at dinner and failed. I drank too much wine. I refused a starter and a desert. ED is alive and well after all, let’s not forget. I had already been taken out to lunch by my colleagues for curry and force-fed cheese cake in the staff room afterwards. The last thing I wanted to do was pretend to eat dinner with a smile on my face when the day was disintegrating into a nightmare.

I wanted a fiance who bought me something I wanted. I wanted a fiance who took me to a restaurant I picked. I wanted a fiance who gave me gift that was thoughtful and meaningful. We ended my birthday talking about breaking up instead. He told me that he will not give me a timeline on when he might be ready to marry me and he knows that it is unfair. He admitted that he is asking too much of me and that I deserve better. I know I deserve better. So today I am going to buy myself a birthday gift: diamond earrings that scream ‘I’m worth it!’

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Being sick last week morphed into laryngitis over the weekend and a rough week of trying to teach ballet without a voice. I was almost certain I would be sent home from work for being so ill that I didn’t bother to call in sick. I showed up and was met with indifference to my suffering. Just what ED loves. No one else cares about me, so why should I look after myself by staying home? I also managed a good few days of starving because I was too sick to eat.

My relationship with my boyfriend has kept deteriorating because he refuses to give me a timeline on the engagement we agreed on in January. I’m in two minds whether to leave him or not. He says he loves me but isn’t ready “to put all my chips in and spin the wheel.” I’m insulted and I’m mad. On Friday he asked for the first time ever if I had just thrown up dinner. I had. I don’t really care enough right now to get back on my recovery train. ED is the only comfort I have in this current chaos.

Tomorrow I will turn 30. I am old before I am ready to be old. I wonder if I’m having some kind of crisis as I take stock of my life? I’m pretty sure I am!

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Breaking Down




I haven’t written anything lately because I have nothing nice to say. Not about myself or my ED. I am currently sick with a sore throat (all the bulimics are nodding along right now), and I am exasperated at how heavy I am. It was embarrassing to talk to my boyfriend about ED when I clearly don’t look sick and he knows it. That aside, he has asked me to help him understand what to say and do to help me. I told him that google is a wonderful tool for educating yourself about EDs and recovery. In the meantime, I hope you are all happy and healthy or reaching out when you need too. I will be back soon with something intelligent, I promise!

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Feeding Frenzy

It appears that I have hit the self-destruct button. All week I have alternated between starving during the day and bingeing/purging during the evening. This is my usual ED manifestation. During the day I go to yoga. I teach ballet. I survive hour by hungry hour. I try to eat ‘healthy’ even as I am restricting. As soon as I am finished work, I am starving. If I am home alone, I let loose and eat whatever I feel like. I just don’t care at this point. It goes down and it comes straight back up. As a result, I constantly feel terrible. I suffer excruciating migraines, stomach pains and I shake. I shake from the jitters (induced by caffeine), the cold (I am always cold) and the debilitating anxiety over my relationship crisis.

The nights that I am not alone I still binge. My boyfriend took me out for a romantic dinner on Thursday (we are attempting to recover), and I ate everything I could see. The bread basket arrived and he had the tiniest sliver of bread. I ate the remaining three bread rolls slathered in butter without a second thought. I drank copious amounts of wine. I ate bruschetta as a starter. I ate the most enormous plate of pasta and then polished off a tiramisu and half of his dessert too. After dinner we went to a club and they had free pizza. I ate the free pizza. Then we came home and I purged until there was nothing but bile. The entire time, my boyfriend didn’t once comment on my mammoth eating extravaganza. I wonder if he notices and keeps quiet or if even worse, he is still clueless. He has no idea that I am barely eating during the day when we are apart.

I went out for girls’ night with some of the other dancers on Friday. I ordered just one tapas (vegetables only), but after about ten minutes, I realized that I was ravenous. I ordered a plate of nachos too. The girls dissected my relationship in the same way that I dissect my food: aggressively and without remorse. On the way home, my boyfriend texted me and asked if I wanted to join him and his friends for a drink as my evening with the girls had ended early.

“No,” I texted back from the inside of a pizza take away. I was more interested in a pizza and a date with the toilet bowl than spending time with the man who has hurt me so much. I ate the entire pizza on the drive home. It was beyond description. After puking up everything, I treat myself to an Emergen-C and a handful of vitamins and probiotics. I know this seems ridiculous beyond explanation.

Last night my boyfriend took me to his team’s BBQ. As usual, I had starved all day through ballet and bike ride. I started with a glass of red wine. Alcohol always manages to dissolve my good intentions of starving the rest of the night away. I was wedged in a corner chatting to a girlfriend when not one, but two appetizers made an appearance. They were plonked on either side of me. I am not lying. Out of all the places that these plates could have been put, the hostess saw fit to pit one on each side of the bulimic. I looked at them with a mixture of lust and horror. At first I nibbled on a few crackers. After the first couple of bites, I gave in. I devoured the crackers and cheese. I munched my way through the vegetables and ranch dip without pausing to breathe. After appetizers came the burgers. I slathered my veggie burger with every topping available, including cheese and avocado. I piled my plate with potato salad that was dripping in mayonnaise. Even though I wanted to vomit half-way through my meal from being so full, I continued like a champion and washed it all down with more red wine. Dessert followed: cake pops and nutella crepes. I didn’t even flinch. They went down the hatch and then I sat twitching and freaking out and planning my escape home to puke. Eventually we made it home. I ran upstairs, left the taps running and purged. I went downstairs, cuddled up to my boyfriend on the couch, then passed out from exhaustion as we watched a movie. I had a migraine before I even fell asleep.

Today I am sitting in a cafe as Autumn arrives in the Northern Hemisphere. I hate it. Everything is dying. Winter is coming for me. As any ED sufferer knows, being excruciatingly cold all the time is painful. I miss home. I miss the sunshine and warmth of Africa. I miss my family. I am unsure of my being in this place anymore. I want to sit under the Jacarandas with my mother and be well. I want to drink tea with her and eat cake that I won’t throw up afterwards. I want to walk with her in the evenings past the giraffe and zebra and enjoy the sensation of walking for the sake of walking rather than to burn calories. I want to go home.

In this sweet cafe by a river, I am drinking a matcha latte with almond milk. It is late afternoon and all I have eaten today are some grapes. I am trying to resist the urge to binge before my boyfriend comes back to join me for a late lunch. I want this coming week to be different to the last one but I have no motivation to change. I looked at my chest bones this morning and felt a sick satisfaction. Two months of recovery have disappeared after our relationship derailed. I have never needed much of an excuse to indulge ED but this unexpected downturn on our journey has left me wasted. If there is a vestige of control that I can salvage in this chaos, it seems to be in starving my unloved heart and broken body.

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Limbo Land

Camping turned out to be a disaster and not just because of my food issues. It snowed on us. It rained on us. We packed up and came home early. For the two days we were there, I was in binge mode (minus the purging), and I ate everything I could see. My stomach hurt, ED guilt riddled me and I blew up like a balloon as I pretended to be ‘normal’. Sadly, my boyfriend and I fought all the way home and it ended in a talk about whether to break up or not. In the end we decided to work through our rough patch in the hopes that we can get back to being as happy as we were before.

The last 6 weeks have been rough for us ever since he went back on his promise to be engaged by the end of the year. I am having a hard time forgiving him for that and part of me feels like he doesn’t deserve me waiting around for him to get over his commitment crisis. So, we fought and he basically told me that he wants our relationship to be in limbo right now which means that I am to remove all expectation of him proposing to me or else we break up. Yeah…..right. Hang on while I get right on that, buddy. I don’t work well with ultimatums especially since I have never every threatened him with one.

I shake my head, exasperated. How stupid are men really? I will be 30 in two weeks time and I have no intention of being in a relationship that is in limbo. We move forward or I move out. I am giving him a (generous) time limit of 6 months and then I will, sadly, be done. I have already given him 3 years of my life so I don’t feel that it is unfair expect a commitment from him especially when he tells me he loves me, wants to marry me and wants us to have children (don’t even get me started on the dilemma of ED and pregnancy).

On the subject of being in limbo, I guess maybe that is where ED is right now. All the anxiety over our relationship and work stress in the last 2 months has led to a somewhat major relapse. I am back to purging everyday, sometimes multiple times. Don’t worry though – I haven’t got any thinner. My hypothyroid makes it nearly impossible to lose weight even from starving and purging. I look ‘normal’ (also known as fat). I just don’t know how to recover and cope with life at the same time. I still try on a daily basis to stay on my healthy eating plan (which in reality smacks of orthorexia), but by the evening I am bingeing and purging or outright starving.

The day after our near-breakup, I went to yoga. When I get home my boyfriend asks me why I haven’t eaten breakfast or lunch. I shrug my shoulders.

“What do you want me to do?”

“Just eat,” he replies.

Just eat…..because it is always just that easy. I feel like telling him that if I can’t have an expectation of an engagement then he can’t have an expectation of me eating. Fair trade. After all, if he was that invested in me and my well being, we wouldn’t be in this pickle.

So I starve all that day. We go out to dinner for his sister’s birthday later on and I eat 4 plates of food, 2 ice creams, 2 helpings of birthday cake and 1 cookie. I come home and purge until I spit blood.

“I’d say tonight was a success,” my boyfriend comments as we roll into bed.

“Huge success,” I reply, knowing he will miss the sarcasm. I am in a don’t-give-a-shit mood. For someone who has a girlfriend with a roaring eating disorder he is pretty clueless. Considering he is in the health care profession, it is laughable!

I am fixated on food. At night I can’t sleep from being so hungry. I wander the aisles of grocery stores looking at all the things that I will not eat. I feel like I have a permanent bingeing hangover – exhaustion, migraines, sore throat, stomach aches, raw knuckles. I come home and make vegan soup and vegan peppermint patties. I eat them. I throw them up. I consider my life without this man who used to make me so happy when I still had faith in him. I throw up some more. I go to ballet and I am too tired to focus, to do my job. I go to yoga and I shake with all the effort it takes to exert myself with no energy. I call my mother who is so far away and who has no idea how sick I am. I am in limbo in this country. I don’t know how to be here and I don’t know how to go back home.

I am tired. I am faithless. I am so far gone, there is no turning back.

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