Out of my desperation and hibernation into the pits of shame and self hatred, I started to tell the truth on how severe the binging and purging had gotten for me.
Thousands of dollars of in patient and out patient treatment just touched the surface of the despair in my heart. The confusion of who this person was beneath the big, baggy, black clothes was like a hurricane brewing in the ocean. Feared only by me.
Baggy clothes were like a wall of protection. You couldn't see me and I couldnt feel myself. The pain of it all was that I so desperately wanted to be seen. Pure confusion.
The secrecy behind locked doors kept the outside from looking in. No one could tell what I was doing with food. Binging, purging, binging purging. Some days it was all day. I hated myself for what I was doing and hated myself because I was so scared.
In this excerpt from her bestselling book on bulimia, Caroline Miller describes the criticism, shame and pressure that fueled her relentless self-loathing and despair. Ordinarily successful in all her endeavors, Caroline has trouble accepting her inability to assert will power to fix her eating disorder.
Even though I’ve now been married for 27 years to the same man I was about to marry in this scene, everything has changed for the better, thank goodness. But boy, did it take work, consistency and continuing to pick myself up every time I slipped and fell.
It’s so easy for me to recall those feelings of despair and hopelessness in this scene, though. In fact, I can’t walk into an industrial, single stall bathrooms without flashing back to the worst, and most painful, seven years of my life as depicted here. What gives me the most heartache from this passage, though, is that I was so alone. I hadn’t confided in anyone about my battle, and the irony is that today, my bulimia is an open secret. In fact, I was recently interviewed for a television show about my current work as a professional coach, author and motivational speaker, and at the end I was asked about my favorite “power moment”: the time when I knew I was a woman who had stepped into her most “powerful self.” Without any hesitation, what came out of my mouth was that I was proudest of my recovery from bulimia, and that I was the person I am today because of my willingness to confront my demons and to turn them into my biggest strengths.
So we need to always remember that not only do we have to find those safe places to go for healing, and that the people who matter the most will always be there to help us, but also that the things we might be most ashamed of could become the touchstones of our greatest growth and change.
Bestselling author of "My Name is Caroline", the first major autobiography on bulimia, shares about the overwhelming despair that prompted her to abuse herself bodily and mentally. As a recovered bulimic myself, I relate to Caroline's rejection of self despite her upstanding, affluent family and her enjoyment of many of life's finest pleasures.