Sophie Ludmann is not one to hide the reality of bulimia. When she mentions this disease in her book with the catchy title, Addict à la bouffe (ed. Leduc), it is with simple and powerful words. “Bulimia is an addiction like any other. When you have a crisis and you eat, it’s like having a shot,” explains the 40-year-old young woman. This complicated relationship with food begins in childhood. The little girl doesn’t like going to the table and would be satisfied only with sweets!
“Looking back, maybe I just had a small appetite,” she explains. Growing up, she is easily distressed and develops a form of hypochondria. When she left home to study, she ate in an anarchic way: “I found myself alone in an apartment far from my family. I started eating haphazardly. I gained 8 kg very quickly and I no longer recognized certain parts of my body. I told myself that I did not want to become obese, I had to make myself throw up.”
“I was sometimes stressed, but when I ate, it passed. So I continued to eat”
The vicious circle is set in motion. She was 19 when her father died suddenly in a car accident. “I had no way to deal with sadness and lack. Eating allowed me to disconnect from myself, my body and my emotions so as not to suffer.” Bulimia allows him to anesthetize all his emotions. She empties her cupboards, loses count of the butter sandwiches and other devoured foods, then, once satisfied, makes herself vomit. “It was my survival. When an emotion rose, I had to eat, fill myself up, then empty myself.”
However, Sophie begins an exciting job. “At around 24, I joined a large sports-related company. Bulimia had become a crutch. I was sometimes stressed, but when I ate it passed, so I continued to eat. Except that, around 29, I started to get really bad physically. I had bad dental problems from throwing up, stomach aches and damage to my esophagus.” She then decides to work on it. Disappointed by a therapy carried out with a psychiatrist, she meets a shaman in Peru and tries rebirthing, then meditation. “I became the healer’s specialist. I went looking everywhere for what could save me. Each time I discovered a form of therapy, I reconnected with myself and rediscovered myself. I was better for two or three weeks and then I was back in.”
“From the moment I was pregnant, the relationship with food became very simple”
Four months later, she submitted her resignation. “I had a great job, but based on appearances. I traveled all over the world and I had no life, no guy! I wanted to give meaning to my daily life. When I resigned, I I had four or five crises, because it was a new rupture. Then it was over.” It was in 2018 that the turning point took place. She decides to write a seven-page letter to her mother and her sister in which she finally confesses to them that she suffers from bulimia. “It was the first liberating gesture that allowed me to talk about it around me. My mother called me right away. On the other hand, my sister waited a week. She didn’t understand why I didn’t tell her. didn’t ask for help.”
Since then, Sophie has finally “succeeded in overcoming her eating disorders”. Moreover, she organizes retreats for people suffering from bulimia and hyperphagia. “The circle is complete,” says the young mother of a one-year-old boy, who lives in the Netherlands with her companion, with a smile. The birth of her child has greatly calmed her down. “From the moment I was pregnant, the relationship with food became very simple. A force greater than myself called me to well-being. Love for a child is an incredible feeling. Now I know how to manage emotions without eating them”, she concludes.
Sophie Ludmann © DR