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Eating Disorders If you or someone close to you is struggling with an eating disorder, reach out here to ask questions or to receive support for recovery.

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You can't win medals for being the best at bulimia. Only coffins. - August 5th 2009, 02:35 PM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of eating disorders, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread might therefore not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

Hi. Some people will know me, most won't, I found that I only tend to stick around on TeenHelp when I'm doing badly and as I'm doing suprisingly well these days I tend to get off the internet and into real life

Anyway I wrote this for a writing competition over a year ago, got second place which isn't bad but not first so didn't get the 1,000 price. I'm a lot happier in life now, this was over a year ago, and I am now fully recovered and rarely think about my eating disorder. After another year of English education my writing has also dramatically improved, I almost cringed when I read this!

Anyway. Enjoy. It is triggering if you are easily triggered but fine if you're not (duh)


You can't win medals for being the best at bulimia. Only coffins.

I get out of bed, an achievement in itself, over the last few years there have been many days when I did not. I wash and get dressed. I've taken to crying when I look in the mirror, certain I look awful in every item of clothing I own. I go downstairs, I eat, I do not throw up. I drag myself to college, to work, to see my friends. I put myself through the paces in the hope that one day, it won't be such a chore.

It's far from perfect. Each day I struggle with my own body, my own thoughts. Each day I am reminded of the thin barrier that separates me from the rest of the world. Each day I realise, all over again, that I'll never be normal. I'll never be able to eat a pizza without wondering what the toilets are like. I'll never be able to eat at an all-you-can-eat buffet without the urge to keep eating and eating. I'll never be able to see my reflection without wishing that my cheeks, my arms, my thighs were smaller. I'll never lose the temptation to go back to how it was.

This is what recovery feels like. It's not health. It's not some magical revelation. It's just me, remembering to put one foot in front of the other.

I didn't see it as a big deal. I didn't think of it as disgusting or appalling. It was simply something I had to do. Ironically, it was the people trying to help me that gave me the idea. I told them I starved myself in an attempt to make myself thin. I say 'attempt' because it never worked, I never truly managed to stop eating. Everyone eats, even anorectics. I considered that failure. They considered me a liar. I was set aside, sent home with a few informative books and left to ponder over my situation.

In those books I read about bulimia, about how people ate and ate and then clawed that same food out of their stomach with their left hand, with the end of a toothbrush, with sheer will power. I wasn't thinking "how upsetting", the way any sane 11 year old would. I was thinking "what a good idea". I was sure I'd just stumbled across the only way to eat and stay thin. Here was a way I could eat what I wanted without feeling guilty, gaining weight or losing control. If I were in English class right now, I'd call that dramatic irony.

Of course, once I started reading I couldn't stop. Biographies, medical journals, biology textbooks -- I binged on books in the same way that I now binged on food. I can remember being asked how I knew everything I did. I shrugged a reply. "I read a lot”, I said.

"Girls don't read those disorder books in their room
to derive strength or inspiration, but to learn
the tricks, the tools, the tactics on how to burn
away more beautifully."*

More recently there have pro-anorexia sites and eating disorder forums. I'm far more knowledgeable on the subject of bulimia nervosa than I'll ever be on empirical formulas, yet it will hardly contribute to my University applications. I can tell you which foods can be purged easiest, how to ensure you've got everything up, how to prevent your teeth rotting. I can recite the calories of any given food, yet I cannot remember my timetables. I have a pool of information in my mind that I wish I could forget.

Time is a peculiar thing, possibly the only constant thing in life, yet strangely deceptive. The time spent on bathroom floors seemed to crawl by, yet looking back they blur, they raced by whilst I was oblivious to everything happening. Days, years, events -- they've all blended into one. My memory, now, is inconsistent and unreliable.

After time, my bulimia was no longer a secret. I forgot to lie, I forgot the tricks of the trade, I forgot to hide what I was doing. It was just too much effort. I admitted it, openly. In a complete reversal of roles my mother started tricking me. Milk in my XX calorie a mug hot chocolate, feeding me avocados, cream in XX Calorie a bowl soup, any means necessary to get nutrition into my tiny frame. By this point I was having counselling. But by this point, I was crazy. I hardly slept, hardly kept anything down, hardly felt. I dragged razor blades across my arms in an attempt to feel something, anything. I took paracetamol after paracetamol to prove to myself that I was human, human enough to die. Now aware of what fat looked like, I tried to cut it out of my body.

I tried to die.

Numerous hospital admissions followed. They weren't helpful, they weren't detrimental. They were just somewhere I stayed until they released me to return to surviving on crackers and toilet bowls. I wasn't there for treatment for bulimia. I was there because I insisted on dying, because I was depressed, because I self harmed. Never mind the cause of these things. Never mind that bulimia controlled my thoughts, my dreams, my life. My vomiting sounds were politely ignored.

October 16th 2006.
A close friend committed suicide.
I realised I had to change.

When sick, I turned away from health. Ran in the opposite direction as if sickness would prove my worth. The damage to my kidneys, the murmur in my heart -- it proved I was human. I can be damaged if I chose to be. Sickness was my perfection. Health would have been failure.

Her death changed this. I realised there is nothing to gain from sickness, aside from death. You can't win medals for being the best at bulimia. Only coffins. I realised, eventually, that sickness is suicide. Health became my success. I idolised health as I once idolised bones. Health took over my dreams.

At 16, I'd known my community team for five years. My nurse gave me all the support she could. These days, we spend an hour a week laughing. It's the best therapy I could ask for. But, at 16, I realised: I had to reach health myself. Recovery is a path that's only one person wide.

Before I recovered I had nothing. I had food and I had the toilet, I existed in the twilight zone somewhere between the two. Progress into a more meaningful existence was slow and painful; I had to fight my way out from the inside. I forced myself into life, forced myself to keep busy. I put myself in a position where I had other things to do than eat and puke all day. I managed to keep a meal down, then two. It took over a year, but I finally started to see my own potential. I found life and discovered I enjoyed it. I found a way to deal with life without the toilet bowl. I found a way to exist outside bulimia; I found that to be more enjoyable.

It's not perfect. I will never know what I could have been without my illness, but I did, and I do, survive. I fought against bulimia and I won. I remember to get out of bed. I remember to put one foot in front of the other.

This, is only the beginning.

Last edited by eunoia; August 5th 2009 at 06:53 PM. Reason: Removing calorie numbers.
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Re: You can't win medals for being the best at bulimia. Only coffins. - August 5th 2009, 03:36 PM

Hey Rachel,

Wow that is such an amazing story, I am actually crying from reading that. It is so sad yet the recovery is so amazing. It is truly inspirational to others


PM // VM
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Re: You can't win medals for being the best at bulimia. Only coffins. - August 5th 2009, 03:45 PM

This was really well written!!!! I think this should be in the articles section. I am proud of you for gaining the strangth to recover from this, and If you ever need help, I'm here.


You are beautiful just the way you are.
Looking like a fallen star.
Don't listen to what people say.
They don't know the real you, anyways.
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Re: You can't win medals for being the best at bulimia. Only coffins. - August 5th 2009, 04:01 PM

I just wanted to thank you for posting this. The start of your story is almost identical to mine, and it helps me to feel less alone. I'm so glad your doing well, keep it up xxx


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Re: You can't win medals for being the best at bulimia. Only coffins. - August 5th 2009, 04:11 PM

I like it.
*nominates for sticky*




Click my eggs and help my dragons grow! :3
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Re: You can't win medals for being the best at bulimia. Only coffins. - August 5th 2009, 04:14 PM

Rachel,

This is absolutely beautiful. It's a great piece of work that you have written. It just about brought me to tears. I can't fathom how emotional it is. I really appreciate it. Thank you.

Take care,
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Re: You can't win medals for being the best at bulimia. Only coffins. - August 5th 2009, 04:31 PM

Rachel this is amazing this is such an inspiration


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Re: You can't win medals for being the best at bulimia. Only coffins. - August 5th 2009, 06:05 PM

this is amazing.
it shows people who have never had an eating disorder, what it's like.
and i think that's powerful, because, after reading this, i'm sure they will never have an eating disorder.
this is beautiful and inspiring,
and i think you are an amazing girl for your huge success in the end.


When you can't find your way home,
and when life gets too hard to face on your own.
I will stand as a light through the darkness unknown,
I will walk with you, so you're never alone.
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Re: You can't win medals for being the best at bulimia. Only coffins. - August 5th 2009, 06:57 PM

this is beautifully written.
i am so inspired by this.
keep up the writting please (:
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Re: You can't win medals for being the best at bulimia. Only coffins. - August 5th 2009, 07:02 PM

Give yourself more credit, Rach. It's wonderfully written.

I remember when you wrote this and it definitely doesn't feel like it has been over a year. I'm glad to hear you're doing better, now, though. =)



Someday I will be strong enough to lift not one but both of us.
I told you to be patient
I told you to be fine
I told you to be balanced
I told you to be kind
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Re: You can't win medals for being the best at bulimia. Only coffins. - August 5th 2009, 07:07 PM

Such an inspirational story.
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Re: You can't win medals for being the best at bulimia. Only coffins. - August 5th 2009, 08:08 PM

I remember the first time I read this, it still gives me shivers.
It is really well written. I love it. :]


She whispered to her own reflection "I will be strong."

"I am not what has happened to me.I am what I have chosen to become."- Carl Jung

"If ye harm none, do as ye wish."

Sometimes things just happen.


Smile through the tears.


PM me

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Re: You can't win medals for being the best at bulimia. Only coffins. - August 5th 2009, 08:20 PM

I also think this was really will written as I've already said.


You are beautiful just the way you are.
Looking like a fallen star.
Don't listen to what people say.
They don't know the real you, anyways.
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Re: You can't win medals for being the best at bulimia. Only coffins. - August 5th 2009, 09:19 PM

That was beautiful and inspirational. I am glad you have managed to overcome such a struggle <3


& it's just like she's in another world.
[<3]


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Re: You can't win medals for being the best at bulimia. Only coffins. - August 12th 2009, 08:42 PM

Thank you.
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