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Liselle Terret, 38, suffered from bulimia between the ages of 14Â and 23.
âI was struggling a bit at school and I wasnât very happy at home. It was classic middle child syndrome, perhaps. As a young woman, I remember feeling very confused about my body.
"I then moved into the toilet, metaphorically, at home and started to purge my food. The secretivenessÂ of it was attractive to me. It was something that was mine. Unfortunately,Â I became addicted to the habit of vomiting.
"It was something I didnât have to explain verbally and I think it was a control. I had started to use food for a little bit of comfort. It was a solitary time on my own in the toilet.
"Bulimia known as the secret disorder. So in one way itâs a coping mechanism. It happens when you canât cope and something needs to change. Thatâs why itâs a very dangerous illness to have because you carry on. I carried on in school, I did my exams - I didnât do very well, but I did them - I got into university, I went abroad for a year.
"All the time I was secretly vomiting. My teeth were decaying and my periods had stopped. I certainly didnât have any sexual relations, that totally stopped. I unfortunately learned to hate myself.
"It was at university that I realised I had to see somebody, I knew it had to stop because I was living a dual life. Apart from seeing a therapist, which I still do, I also went on my own journey of healing and using the creative arts. Iâm a lecturer and practitioner of community theatre.
"Thereâs absolutely nothing glamorous, exciting or positive about developing an eating disorder. All it does is decay your body, andÂ it shortens your life. I still spend a ridiculous amount of money on my teeth, which are in a bad way, and it affectsÂ fertility. More importantly, it affects how one feels about oneself in the short life that we have here. It affects your relationships with family, friends and partners. For many years I didnât have a relationship because I was too afraid, because I was living in this terribly self-destructive bubble.
"The difficulty in getting helpÂ is that you canât force someone to talk, especially with an illness like this.Â You live in denial and for me there was a huge shame about it. Itâs grotesque. People donât want to know about it because youâre dysfunctioning. You just want to be normal and you want to fit in.
"Itâs an addiction. It is not a way of surviving, it is the opposite. So until you realise that there is something wrong in your behaviour, only then will you want to get help."view information about Bulimia on www.nhs.co.uk »
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