I started making myself throw up when I was 15. I was raped the year before and kept it a secret, stuffing it deeply inside and keeping it down with self-hatred. That, along with being in a religious community that wasn’t aligned with whom I really was, as well as being completely out of touch with myself, let’s just say I was in dark place.
Having a support system was the most crucial part of stopping myself from going deeper on a dark path and from getting sicker – remember bulimia is a disease – and it was also the most vulnerable part. But, thankfully, I was informed and terrified of the side effects of bulimia. So, I eventually, in tears, told my high school boyfriend that I was making myself throw-up. He encouraged me to tell my mom and although it was really hard, once I did she told me she loved me and set me up with a therapist.
I thought having to stop throwing up would be the hardest part of it all. But, actually, the hardest part was dealing with why I was making myself vomit. It was essentially because I had this secret that I so desperately needed to get out of me. I hated and blamed myself for what had happened. I hated my body, the fact that my virginity was taken, the person who raped me, and the path I was on.
I stopped making myself throw up after my first therapy session. However, I still hid my secret inside, suppressing it from myself, not ready to get to the root of my pain or expose it. So, my depression stayed with me, just in a different form; it transformed from making myself throw up to punishing my body with food and cutting.
My life changer came seven whole years after my trauma, a year and half after being released from the mental hospital for my depression, when I started a 200-hr yoga teacher training with Yogis Anonymous in Santa Monica, CA. By then, I had told a couple close friends about being raped but was still ashamed and blind to many negative rippling effects in my life from the trauma.
The deeper I got into my yoga practice, the more I was able to quiet my mind-chatter, and the more what I had pushed deep down inside into the darkness away from myself came erupting out. I knew I had a choice to stay in the chains of fear and this trauma, or to break free. I was so ready to be free.
I told my yoga teacher who encouraged me to tell my parents, which I did immediately. All the doubt, rejection, and questions I thought I would get didn’t come my way, and instead I received love, support, and some more love. I made an appointment with Lindy (the awesome founder of I Am A Rockstar) for a rapid trauma therapy session. My body immediately responded to both the session and from opening up my deepest, darkest secret (which is no longer that!) to the people closest to me. My chest (the holder of my heart), shoulders, hips (the seat of emotions) and hamstrings all loosened and opened dramatically, like they were releasing seven tons of weight from this seven-year secret. I felt alive and free and the colors of this earth were brighter than ever before.
Being open about being raped was just opening the door towards deep healing. It took me a long time to grow in love with myself. I had to learn to believe in the truth that being raped was not my fault. I had to struggle with acceptance of my past. I had to learn how to love my body and treat myself kindly.
It was a consistent yoga and gratitude practice, continual positive affirmations, reading, writing, living according to my truth, and eating healthier that supported me. Those tools helped me fall in love with my own body, mind, and soul. I use those tools basically daily to keep myself grounded in love, gratitude, and joy. Of course joy can fluctuate, but the underlying root of joy is contentment, something you can stand on.
If you’re struggling from an eating disorder, I highly encourage you to make an appointment with a medical professional or seek help from a trusted person who can help you do that. If you’re wondering how to support someone through an eating disorder, what my high school boyfriend and mom did worked for me: expressing love and making the appointment to get professional help. If you’re unsure of how to do that, ask your friend who is struggling if you can ask someone for help or if they would be willing to talk a trusted someone who would know how to best help them.
We’re in this together.
Sending you love and support on your journey,