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Addicted to Laxatives!

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    Jasmine Bishop Sun Woman page 1

    TTTP client Jasmine Bishop speaks candidly to The Sun about her laxative addiction.  Jasmine was addicted to laxatives and took up to 20 a day!

    Plagued with multiple eating disorders Jasmine Bishop was desperate to lose weight fast. Disgusted at her size 14 frame, she ditched food completely and made the dangerous decision to live of 15 cups of tea a day, energy drinks and cigarettes. But despite the extreme sickness and dropping nearly three stone in two months, it wasn’t enough.

    So after watching a documentary about anorexic singer Karen Carpenter, Jasmine, who weighed 12 stone, discovered laxatives and within a matter of weeks she was hooked. At the height of her addiction, at 17, unemployed Jasmine would beg her friends to buy her the pills when she run out of pocket money and dropped half her body weight.

    Jasmine Bishop Sun Woman page 2She was so addicted to the tablets- used to combat constipation- Jasmine admits she would get ‘itchy’ if she couldn’t get her fix. And to hide the extent of her problem she made secret pockets in her handbags to hide her stash. Jasmine, who was suffering from Anorexia, Bulimia and an addiction to Laxatives, says: “I started off taking just the odd one but before I knew it I was taking five and then a box of twenty every day. Once my stomach got used to a certain amount I had to take more. They were so easy to buy from a supermarket or pharmacy, no one ever challenged me on what they were for. I would actual break out in fits of itching if I didn’t get my fix and I can’t explain the pain I was in each night, after taking the twenty pills in one hit.”

    “I was crying and rocking backwards and forwards on the toilet to try and ease the stomach cramps every single night. It was agony, but the desire to be thin was greater than the pain.”

    Gripped with the desire to lose weight Jasmine didn’t touch a morsel food and survived off liquid and laxatives alone. She admits: “I honestly don’t know how my body dealt with it. My diet and addiction spiralled out of control within a matter of weeks. All I could think about was reaching the perfect weight.”

    Now 22 and fully recovered Jasmine’s shocking story echoes 80 per cent of those battling eating disorders in the UK. Beat, the UK’s leading eating disorder charity is calling for sales of laxatives to kids to be strictly regulated after their latest research showed that 80 per cent of sufferers have misused the pills to fast track their weight loss, leading to dangerous side effects. Many users are left with long term problems, like Jasmine who has to take a natural laxative every day to go to the toilet.

    Now mum to Esmay, nine months, Jasmine says her addiction to the legal drugs nearly ruined her life. Buying packs of 60 laxatives from pharmacies for around £6 a go, the bumper size boxes would only last her a shocking three days, before she went back for more. Falling asleep on the toilet every night, Jasmine was careful to plan when she swallowed the pills so her parents wouldn’t be awake. But as her weight began to plummet from 12 stone to six stone and compliments about her figure rolled in, she edged dangerously close to her goal weight of under six stone.

    At 4ft 10, she was dangerous underweight and risking her life. Like many battling eating disorders Jasmine had been rocked by hurtful comments that shattered her self confidence. Jasmine, now a healthy eight and half stone, recalls: “I was quite young when I lost my virginity to a boy I thought cared about me. But afterwards, surrounded by a group of his friends, he said to me ‘I can’t believe I had your fat body on top of me’, before running off and laughing. I was completely humiliated.”

    Desperate to hide her growing addiction from her parents, Jasmine, then 17, learned to be sneaky and live the life of an addict. The make-up artist from Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire, says: “I knew my mum wouldn’t look inside my underwear drawer so I also hid some pills in there. “It was so sneaky, and I’d always make sure I put the empty packets in an outside green bin so no one would find them.”

    Unemployed at the time, she funded her obsession with pocket money and cash from odd jobs. In a month she would spend £60 on laxatives alone. But when her money dried up she was forced to beg friends to buy the laxatives for her. She says: “All my friends knew what was going on so when I called them and asked them to get some for me, I think they felt they had to.” Eventually her parents began to grew suspicious when her mum found her stash.

    Jasmine, who still doesn’t know the full extent of the damage the tablets have done to her body, says: “My mum went crazy and they were both distraught. “They said I’d lost sight of who I was and that’s when they made me go to an eating disorder clinic. I had reduced my own mother to tears and my dad explained how hard it was to watch his daughter waste away. The clinic diagnosed me with multiple eating disorders- Bulimia, Anorexia and an addiction to laxatives.”

    After a blazing row and many tears, Jasmine agreed to accept her parents’ help and promised to slowly start to introduce food back into her diet. But she didn’t. Instead she carried on taking the laxatives in secret. Until her mother broke down when she saw her daughter’s frail body as she tried on a dress for her 18th birthday. By this point she was wearing age 11 clothes.

    Jasmine says: ““I could see it was killing my mum and causing everyone around me so much pain. When I told her I was no longer in control of myself, I promised her I would seek help from a doctor.” Still taking 20 laxatives every day and only drinking tea with a spoon full of sugar, Jasmine’s periods stopped and her hair started to fall out in clumps.

    As her sex drive had completely vanished, leaving her new boyfriend asking questions, she finally had the push she needed to go to the doctors. She says: “Before I could even speak, I burst into tears and begged him for help.” Her GP then prescribed anti-depressants to level out the chemicals in her body. She was advised to slowly start eating soft foods and also weaned herself off the pills and she slowly started putting on weight.

    Jasmine, now happy and healthy, says: “I was taking special supplements for elderly people so I could gain weight. “It took three months to slowly lose my dependence on the pills and after five months of healthier eating, my periods came back.”

    In May 2012, she fell pregnant and weighed eight and a half stone. Her daughter Esmay was born in February 2013 and Jasmine says she has helped her put her addiction, firmly behind her. She adds: “My daughter saved me. After I found out I was pregnant, I didn’t want to be who I’d been before. She got me through it all. “It worries me that my daughter could be affected by the pressure to be skinny. I really hope she will be a happy teenager because people can be so cruel.”

    Although Jasmine’s past is behind her, she says her health will never be the same again. She goes to the toilet just once a week now and has completely ruined her bowels. She still has to take the natural laxative, Senokot, every day. Jasmine says: “The young, carefree teenage girl I was is dead. I still have withdrawal symptoms from my addiction- particularly bloating. I’ll never be normal again and once you start taking them, there’s no going back. Laxatives are dangerous, vile things and since I stopped taking them I feel like a weight has been lifted. I want other young people who think it’s an easy quick fix, without any come backs, to realise how wrong they are. Laxatives are dangerous.”

    We placed Jasmine’s story with The Sun before she went on This Morning to talk about her addiction. We have also secured her two magazine deals. If you have an important issue to share with the press, to help those in a similar situation, or raise awareness, please get in touch today.  You can contact us using the story valuation form on the right hand side of the page, or you can call our features desk number: 0844 963 2475

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