Besides the fact that bulimia has some obvious outward symptoms of purging, my parents began to notice I was tired, I was moody, I was very clearly not myself anymore. I also had physical signs, like unhealthy skin, hair, and nails, bloodshot eyes, and other red flags
When they approached me about it, I was guilty, angry, and ashamed; my eating disorder was fighting for survival, so I lashed out. Despite my initial resistance, I eventually surrendered to my parents’ concern.
The road to recovery looks different for everybody, and for me it looked like showing up to the Emily Program, an intensive outpatient treatment center, every day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The group program made sense for me because it felt like being on a team. I was held accountable by the other girls seeking a similar goal of recovery, and my dietitians and therapists served as my coaches, guiding me through the healing process.
It was really important for me to realize this wasn’t about me being weak, and it wasn’t even about food—even though that was the outward manifestation of this mental illness—it was about control, wanting to be perfect, and wanting to avoid my feelings.