This blog is a re-post from Sapphic City, a blog that I wrote a few years ago. It was written by my alter ego Eldiese as we realized that I was suffering from anxiety, depression and bulimia. Most importantly bulimia. I was sick. So sick. I am rehashing a lot of my past before we get into my present because I think that many of my past blogs provide the context needed to understand where I am currently.
I am risking a lot by posting this blog. The first time I shared the story of my bulimia and mental health problems I had overwhelming support from my friends, I reached out and they were there for me. They looked after me. My friends made sure that I ate, they stopped me from going to the bathroom to throw up and they made sure that I got out of bed. My family, on the other hand shut me out. During some of the hardest weeks and months of my life I lost the people who should have been there to help me, to look after me. I was a complete mess and my mother didn’t talk to me for two months. Those are wounds that run deep and obviously still hurt.
I am re-posting this blog because I wanted to remind myself of how far I have come. Before you read I want to tell you that if you have any problems, the best thing I did was reach out. I felt so alone and once I shared my story I had so many people reach out to me. I was anything but alone. You are important and you are loved. There is always help available. Bulimia is not the end of the world, you can survive it. I will get to my survival later.
PREFACE: I am not doing this for sympathy, I am not divulging my inner most pain so that you will feel sorry for me. I do not want your pity. But thank you for taking the time to enter my world and share my experiences.
Not many people know ‘me’… If you are regular reader of Sapphic City, or you’ve see me out and about, you know Eldiese. Bright clothes, makeup, corset, boobs out… Just about sums her up. I have been told before that I am a hard person to go out with, because I tend to steal the spotlight, whether on purpose or not, I have a huge personality. I have often said that it’s not the quiet ones you need to watch, but the loud ones because we are the ones trying to cover something up with our verbosity.
I can tell you right now that there is one person on the planet who can say that they know the real me right now, and that’s me. My name isn’t really Eldiese, she is a cover, a way for me to be whoever I want and ignore the pain inside. I very rarely show the real me to anyone and even those who knew me before I became Eldiese cannot really say they know the real me anymore because I have a tendency to filter everything that comes out of my mouth. I am not the type to admit that I have a problem, or that I need help and above all else I fear people’s pity. But desperate times call for desperate measures and I don’t know what else to do than reveal whats under the mask.
So this is me, removing the mask and introducing you to Lacey.
Under the Mask.
You may think that this is an odd thing to do, that having a pseudonym or an alter ego is weird, or that removing the mask for the world to see is an odd move, but I have my reasons. It is so easy to hide behind a mask, to hide behind the makeup and alcohol, put a pair of high heels on and pretend that everything is OK because to be honest, for those few hours when I’m out and done up, I forget. But I can’t hide anymore.
I’m a big girl, with a big personality and big issues. So it’s time to come clean.
- Feeling blue
I became Eldiese when I was 18, I had just moved out of home and was starting university. I was hiding my sexuality and hating my weight (being about a size 22 and 130 kg) I was a nerd and I hated myself. I was determined that moving to another city would be a new start so I adopted a new persona, Eldiese. If you had asked me previously, I would have told you that my housemates gave me the nickname after the character Aldys from the movie Never Been Kissed. She was beautiful, but nerdy. When in reality, I named myself. I went to orientation and just started introducing myself as Eldiese. I was never able to explain to people that I changed my own name because I was trying to be someone different. I didn’t think anybody would understand. So I adopted my mask, and embraced Eldiese.
Becoming her was not easy, my family didn’t understand the nick name, but my classmates and my friends at Uni all called me Eldiese. Even now, my colleagues at the hospital call me Lacey, but outside, I have a strict ‘No Lacey’ policy, even with my partners. She is not someone I want to be anymore. Eldiese is much more fun, vivacious, colorful and has a lot more confidence than Lacey ever did.
When I was 19 I was diagnosed with a binge eating disorder and depression. It disgusts me to say that I used to steal food from the other people in my college. I was so depressed, but nobody knew, I didn’t tell anyone, I didn’t show any signs of depression to the outside world. I was always bright and colorful and for the most part, I was drunk. But never did it occur to me that I was sick, the doctor at the local GP clinic gave me a depression scale and I never went back, I thought I was fine. I thought that I just liked to eat.
I was so miserable, I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. I was eating my feelings and getting bigger. So I started chewing my food but not swallowing it, that didn’t help so as a student nurse working in aged care, I quickly discovered laxatives and developed an addiction to them. They helped me feel better about myself in one way, but I made myself so sick in the process. The stomach pains were almost unbearable, I was admitted to emergency once because I had aggravated my gall stones as a consequence of the peristalsis induced by the pills and I was constantly running to the bathroom or getting headache from being dehydrated. Not a nice feeling. Little did I know that this binge-purge cycle is also classified as bulimia.
It was around this time I got my first and only boyfriend. He was amazing, the perfect boyfriend, but I was never really happy with him. I managed to keep my sexuality and my eating disorder a secret from him for almost twelve months. Although, I still believed that I wasn’t sick, subconsciously I must have known that what I was doing was wrong. I hid my addiction and kept my true feelings about myself secret for almost two years in total. But I used to take my scales with me everywhere and I always had a bottle of laxatives in my bag to take as soon as I had eaten. He really was the perfect partner, he was caring and attentive and loved me… What happened next wasn’t his fault, and I am sorry for the pain that I caused him.
It wasn’t until we moved to Melbourne and I made myself physically ill for the first time that I admitted that I had a problem. I spent a month in a deep depression, finally having come to the realization that something was really wrong and that I had to tell someone. It took all of my courage to tell my boyfriend what I had been doing. He was amazing, so supportive, he took me to the doctors, made sure I got a referral to see an appropriate psychologist, and even took me to my first few appointments. I was officially diagnosed with Bulimia at age 22.
I was eating again, and I wasn’t making myself sick, but I was still so unhappy. I take no pride in admitting what I did next. I cheated on him, I took the perfect boyfriend and destroyed him. I did it just once (not that that makes it any better) with a female friend of mine. We didn’t go what I would consider to be ‘all the way’ but we did enough for me to finally realize that perhaps it was having this man in my life (by no fault of his, like I said, he was he perfect boyfriend) that was making me so unhappy. So about half way through my treatment and a week after I cheated on him, I broke up with him.
I moved out a week later, stopped all of my treatments and went on a massive bender. The man in question threatened to kill himself, I was so off my face that I sat in the bar with him on the other end of the phone telling me this and I hung up on him. Thank god he had the sense not too follow through with his threats. About two months later, I went back to his apartment on my hands and knees and begged him to take me back because I needed someone to love me and he turned me down. Karma is a bitch but in the long run it is what was best for both of us.
So I was heading out Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights with my friend Den, I was either drunk or hungover the majority of the time. Under the influence of alcohol, I did a lot of things that I am not proud of and I wish I could take back, but sometimes being drunk is so much better than having to deal with your emotions and the things that you’v done wrong. I’m not proud to admit that I was drunk for the majority of the next six months.
Three things happened that changed this… I got my job as a scrub nurse at one of the best hospitals in the country, I became a Bad Lady and I came out.
Getting that job meant so much to me! It was intellectually stimulating and I was life and death situations, I couldn’t be going to work with a hangover. Which meant that drinking all night before a morning shift was a no no.
The second thing that happened to me was the Bad Ladies… A troupe of talented, alternate women who don’t give a shit what people think about them. When I met them, I thought I had finally found my mecca. The place where I belonged. They were all different like me and they embraced me, let me perform with them and nobody cared that I was a big girl. I finally felt sexy.
The third and most amazing thing, was me coming out. Since I started Uni, I had adopted the label of Bisexual, and I don’t know when, but somewhere along the way I became accepting of the fact that I was gay. I joined Pink Sofa and I met my little Gay Family, who I have spoken of so often. For those of you who have read my blog before or discussed my family with me, you will already know how much these women mean to me, but I honestly can’t express how much of a positive influence they had on me. They saved me. They taught me that I am unique and beautiful and that should be celebrated, not hidden. So I burst onto the scene as Eldiese and never looked back at Lacey. I don’t want to know her.So what changed?
I had been healthy for little over twelve months. My drinking was only social, and only on the weekends, I had not succumb to a binge purge urge for over a year, I was a vegan and looking after myself. So I took myself to Europe.
I ventured to Europe with the goal of being gone for about three months. I went by myself and I had everything planned. What I didn’t plan on was the depression. I was alone, on a completely different continent and I had started eating meat again. I lasted six weeks in Europe, I did have fun, but by the time I reached Vienna, I was so depressed, I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror, I missed my home and my family and I was binge eating again. I told everyone that I ran out of money, and that’s why half way through my trip I flew into Sydney International Airport.
However, if I’m being completely honest, I found myself sitting in my hotel room in Prague, after having ventured out in my rockabilly dress and having been taunted, I came home and ate all the food that I had in my room. As I sat there I was convinced that I was a freak and that I was all by myself and that nobody loved me, and I started thinking about whether people would miss me if I never came home… How much easier being different would be if I didn’t have to deal with it. I considered killing myself.
So I came home, ignored my issues, dove head first back into work and partying and I met my first girlfriend. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I was so needy in this relationship. I just wanted someone to want me, to think that I was attractive and to love me. Needless to say it didn’t work out. To her credit, she encouraged me to go back to my psychologist and seek help, which I told her I did. But if I’m honest, I was afraid of what the doctor would say to me. I was afraid that she would tell me that I’m too much like my father, which I am now beginning to believe may be the case.
So I lied to her, and continued to ignore my issues. It was during this time that I started going back to the gym, I was eating healthily and working out five days a week. It’s funny how such a productive thing can turn around so quickly and be so bad for you. I started weighing myself again, restricted my diet with unrealistic expectations of myself, I soon became obsessive. I was losing weight, but not quick enough and I was becoming angry with myself for not having self control. None of my friends knew that I had had issues with my weight, but I did tell the woman that I was seeing at the time. I am ashamed to say that I treated her terribly toward the end of our brief relationship. Not that it’s a defense, but she scared me, she could read me so well and still can. I was afraid that she would be able to see that I wasn’t right in the head… So I did the usual thing and pushed her away. Even now, I call her when I need a reality check and someone who will tell me exactly whats wrong with me or what I’m thinking, because she is usually right on the mark.
I stopped going to the gym in February, I was miserable and started going out every weekend again and was drinking a lot. Hindsight’s a bitch, but realistically, I should have stopped what happened next.
I was so unhappy with myself, hiding behind my Eldiese Mask, I very quickly entered a relationship with a woman for whom I fell head over heels. Feeling that I needed the love and attention of another person to justify my existence should have been my first clue to run, if not for the sake of myself, then for hers. Having never had my heart broken before, nobody was able to predict how I would react when this person made an earth shattering error in judgement.
While I acknowledge how an individual reacts in a given situation is completely their own and the fault of no other, and that how I have reacted is entirely my fault, this event in my life was a catalyst for something much bigger.
I acknowledge that I was already heading slowly to where I am now, had I sought medical attention months ago when my first girlfriend had suggested it, I probably wouldn’t be where I am now. Like I said, hindsight is a bitch. Where I am now is not a nice place.
Honesty in this case may also be a bitch, because in the last few months I have hurt people, I have lied and I have gone off the rails worse than I ever have before. So this is me, Lacey, apologizing and asking for help.
When I first realized that I was getting sick again, the bulimia was back, I tried reaching out to my friends, I told them what I wanted them to know. That I wasn’t eating properly, and that was about it. I lied to them, I told them that I was seeing my psychologist and that I was getting better and for that I am sorry. When really, I was doing nothing but crying and drinking. The only time I eat is when I am with friends and the majority of the time I feel that disgusted with myself that I make myself sick afterward. Yes, It is humiliating to share this with the world, but I don’t know what else to do.
The thought of being home alone or not drinking on the weekend makes me hyperventilate. I cant tell you when I last ate a proper meal, I have lost 10kg and I don’t want to admit it, but I am happy about that. I know its not healthy, but that’s a lot of weight to lose in a month and I feel better about myself… well somewhat. I have been taking appetite suppressants, multivitamins etc to substitute my lack of diet (yes, I realize that they are not meant to substitute a proper diet).
Nobody likes being the depressed friend, the one who needs constant reassurance, the one that needs to be checked upon, the person who’s friends tag team to spend time with them. But I feel like this is who I’ve become. I feel pathetic.
Unable to see reason past my own insecurity, I have become that person who mistrusts everyone, believing that my closest friends are lying to me, sometimes I think I may be going insane because my gut is usually right, that people spend time with me because they feel they have too. I hate being by myself, the thoughts that go through my head belong to the world’s harshest critics and I just want to drown them out. So I drink. I drink to drown out the fact that I am miserable. I even quit my job last week. I’m having a break down.
I am so unhappy with myself and who I am, it’s so hard to make people understand. I don’t know what I’m doing and I have no way out. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see what other people say they see. I see this fat bogan from Newcastle. I work so hard so that people will like me. I have a constant fear that if I didn’t do favors for people, cook for them, take care of them when their sick, help them when they ask me too that people won’t want to be friends with me. I fear that if I wasn’t so involved in so much that people would think I’m boring that they would want nothing to do with me.
It is at this point I feel the need to apologize.
I’m so sorry for all of the worry and the hurt I’ve caused everyone, I’m really not worth it and I am so so grateful for the love I have been shown.
To all of my friends, the ones who I haven’t been honest with, I’m sorry. I did not want to appear weak in your eyes. Who wants to be the person who’s falling apart? To the few who knew I was sick, I’m so sorry that you have to see me like this and that you are apart of this, but thank you so much for your support. It means more to me then I can say.
And to the one person who has had to deal with everything, the lies, the insecurity, the constant need for reassurance, the manipulation, the worry, the truth, I am so so sorry, from the bottom of my heart I am so sorry. You were never meant to be apart of this, you were never supposed to see me like this and I wish you hadn’t. I wish I had had the common sense to stop before this all happened. I cannot say how much it has meant to me that you have been there and haven’t run, because I honestly don’t know what I would have done if you had.
I cannot articulate how nervous I am telling my story to the world about my struggles with bulimia and depression. My biggest fear is losing the respect of my friends, family and colleagues. But a wise woman once said to me that having the courage to be so open, so honest and ask for help deserves all the respect in the world. Although I have nothing left to lose I ask please, I’m begging, don’t judge me.
Even if I’m beyond help, even if there’s nothing that can be done for me, be nice to the stranger next to you, love yourself because you are amazing and be kind to one another.So this is me.Mask off. Bare for the world to see.
If you need help or someone to talk to there are so many resources!
The Butterfly Foundation (Australia)
National Eating Disorders Association (America)
Anorexia and Bulimia Care (UK)
- My Burlesque character The Matron
Facebook: Not Like the Other Mothers