Female bulimia: Liselle's story 

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder and a mental health condition. In this video, Liselle talks about how she beat bulimia and the health issues she still faces today.

Learn more about bulimia

Transcript of Female bulimia: Liselle's story

I'm Lizelle Terret, I'm 38 years of age,

I was born in Glasgow, and from the age of 14 to about 23,

I unfortunately suffered from bulimia nervosa.

I think I was struggling a bit at school. I wasn't very happy at home.

There was the classic middle child syndrome perhaps.

As a young woman I remember feeling very confused about my body

and that sort of adolescence.

I then moved into the toilet, metaphorically, at home,

and I tried it,

and the secretiveness about it was quite attractive to me,

and it was something that was mine,

and unfortunately I became very addicted to the habit of vomiting.

It was something that I didn't have to explain verbally

and I think it was a control.

I had started to use food for a little bit of comfort

and it was something that was mine,

it was a solitary time on my own in the toilet.

It's known as the secret disorder.

So in one way it's a coping mechanism.

It's when you can't cope. Something needs to change.

And in a way that's why it's a very dangerous illness to have,

because I carried on at school, I did my exams.

I didn't do very well, but I did my exams.

I got into university. I went abroad for a year at the end.

So I did carry on. Meanwhile, I was secretly vomiting.

My teeth were decaying. My periods stopped for quite a while.

I certainly didn't have any sexual relations

with anybody else or indeed with myself.

That totally stopped.

And I unfortunately grew to hate myself.

It was at university, actually, that I realised I needed to see somebody.

Basically, I knew it had to stop,

because I was living a dual life.

Apart from seeing a therapist, which I still do, actually,

I also went on my own journey of healing

using the creative arts.

I'm a lecturer and I'm a practitioner of community theatre.

I have created a piece of performance.

There's absolutely nothing glamorous or exciting

or positive at all about developing an eating disorder, at all.

All it does is it starts decaying your body,

it shortens your life.

I still spend a ridiculous amount of money on my teeth,

which are really in a bad way.

It affects people's fertility.

And I think really importantly, it affects one's identity

and how one feels about oneself in the short life that we have here.

And it affects your relationships

with family, friends, partners.

For many, many years I didn't have a relationship

because I was too afraid to,

because I was living in this terribly self-destructive bubble.

In terms of getting help, I think the difficulty is

you can't force somebody to talk to somebody,

especially with an illness like this, because you're living in denial.

And, for me, there was a huge shame about it, terrible shame.

It's the ultimate. It's grotesque.

People don't want to know about it. You're disfunctioning.

Whereas you just want to be normal, you want to fit in.

So... And it's an addiction.

So until you realise

that there is something wrong in your behaviour,

it is not a way of surviving, it's the opposite,

only then will you want to get help.

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