When I was in grade 10, I had to stay with one of my elementary school friends for a few months. Although we went to the same elementary school, she eventually went to a private school. She was still one of my favorite people. Her mother is a great cook, her family and I would never be able to finish a full table of food made for a family of eight. I eventually ended up overeating every single meal. It was when I discovered that if I’m full and can’t eat anymore, I would throw up right after. I thought I would not gain weight from overeating and can continue to eat more.
This habit stuck with me and especially when I was emotionally stressed. Gaining weight was a big no-no for my mom as she was bullied in college for being “fat”. She didn’t want me to go down the same path; however, she did not realize the negative effects her words had on me. Instead of focusing on inner beauty, my worth was solely based on my appearance.
I continued to throw up every single meal for a decade. My enamel eroded and my teeth cracked. My esophagus was also constantly burning from my stomach acid. My heartbreak was irregular, likely due to electrolyte imbalance. I was always thirsty. My knuckles were bruised. My vertigo was worse. My skin was also suffering from dehydration. All these paired with heavy drinking, I was on the path to having heart failure. At the peak of my bulimia, I was beyond miserable. I’ve even attempted to hang myself but I never got around to jump off the balcony as my grandmother did. I believed that it would be too much for my mother to bear. I was throwing up a dozen times a day and the pressure behind my eyes was unbearable too. Eventually, I had to leave the environment that was depressing. As I left the physical location, I was 20% better.
I left the place that I hated. Life got better and I wanted to move on with life. My bulimia haunted me in the shadows. I was 26 and heavily drinking after moving to Australia. I often had severe heart pain where I thought I was having a heart attack. Apparently, heart attacks are common among bulimic patients.
An original research investigation was conducted in October 2019. It is about the association of bulimia nervosa to the risk of cardiovascular disease among women in Canada. The researchers have found that out of 416,709 women in Canada (818 hospitalized for bulimia nervosa and 415,891 for pregnancy-related events) who were followed up after 12 years, women with bulimia had a significant increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease and death. That is within 8 years from the start of their research.
But my wake-up call was when I found out how Amy Winehouse died. Her official cause of death was alcohol poisoning. As someone who was bulimic for 11 years and a heavy drinker, I have felt the irregularity of my own heartbeat. And if I did not stop cold turkey, I would be dead soon too. At the end, my heart would beat out of control every time I ate. I didn’t even need to hurl anymore for my heartbeat to be anticipating the purging and beat out of control. I could feel my organs shutting down and I could feel my time was limited. After leaving a place that I hated, life was worth living again.
I never told anyone, not even any of the partners I lived with. I don’t even know if my mother knows to this day, although I have told her. I am not sure if she registered the seriousness of my illness and how close to death I was.
But my wake-up call was when I found out how Amy Winehouse died. Her official cause of death was alcohol poisoning. As someone who was bulimic for 11 years and a heavy drinker, I have felt the irregularity of my own heartbeat. And if I did not stop cold turkey, I would be dead soon too.
“I intend to accept my body today love my body tomorrow and appreciate my body always.”
“The size of your body has nothing to do with your worth. Nothing.”
If you are suffering from bulimia, please talk to someone you trust. If you feel comfortable reaching out to me, I am here to listen.