Newest Review: ... Finally we met up and she told me she was suffering from an eating disorder called Bulimia. I knew straight away what it was as Princess Di... more
a very vicious cycle
Member Name: joolzroolz
Date: 22/09/01, updated on 22/09/01 (311 review reads)
Advantages: none whatsoever
Disadvantages: rotting teeth, potassium deficiency, utter misery
When I was 14 I had sprouted about half a foot in a year and was a tall,
skinny, awkward, high-jumping freak. All legs and elbows and bits that stuck out (albeit not on my chest).
About a year later and I had padded out somewhat, infact I was practically bursting out of my jeans and had to hold the flies up with a safety pin. Looking back on it I was depressed and comfort-eating, although I didn't realise it at the time. I ate and ate and ate - i seemed to be starving all the time. At the school sports day I was devastated when instead of winning the high-jump, my bum would just knock the pole off every time. This, coupled with the fact that all my clothes were tight and I couldn't supress my craving for mars bars got me down. REALLY down. I hated that I had gone from a size 10 to a 16 in about a year. it just wasn't fair.
Gradually I became obsessed with the notion of dieting. My diaries from that time are full of charts...'no snacks, no sweets, 4 pints of water a day (tick box when acheived)'...I thought that if I could only lose a bit of chunkiness for off my lower regions, everything would be just fine. How wrong I was...
At 16, I was an EXTREMELY conscientious student. Faced with the first 'major' exams in my life, the stress really got to me and I stopped eating. I studied so much I never really noticed until the stress lessened somewhat and the hunger pangs started. I had a sugar craving like there was no tomorrow...it wasn't uncommon for me to buy 5 chocolate bars, 3 packets of crisps, packets of fairy cakes and eat it all within 15 minutes. But, as anyone knows, gorging yourself on an empty stomach does not bode for fair sailing. Suddenly being hit with a rush of sugar and bulk, I felt sick. Above the nausea, I felt guilty. Weak. Panicky. Pathetic for having given in to myself. The only way I could relieve this was by sticking my fingers down my throat. This is an extremely unpleasant thing
to do - you gag, you choke, there is a lot of half-digested food reappearing, your eyes water with the strain. Not only the physical strain, but it was extremely hard on the emotions too. I knew what I was doing was unnatural and harmful - but there was nothing else I could do to take away the sickness and the overwhelming guilt.
After being sick I always felt a wave of calm come over me. I felt cleansed. i wanted to feel as though all my organs were clean and shiny and free from 'poisonous' food. Until my blood-sugar took a dive and I frantically raided the cupboards for a quick fix.
Bulimia is a vicious cycle, and an extremely hard habit to break. Some people reckon there is a chemical reason why people become trapped in the 'behaviour-pattern', but in my experience it was purely a cognitive maladaption to stress, depression and the obsession with being thinner. My desire to be thin didn't last too long - infact it seemed only to be what triggered the whole thing. After a while it wasn't what I looked like, but how I felt that mattered. If i managed to abstain from eating, great - I was in control. But if I gave in to bingeing then it seemd I had lost all self control and then hell would break loose.
After about a year of what would be diagnosed as bulimic behaviour, I overcame the urge to binge-eat and lost weight by almost complete starvation. The two experiences are linked (one was the result of having failed ot lose weight whilst still bingeing) - but i suppose that is another category...
I was talked into going to see my GP after I confided in a friend about my 'problem'. The strange thing was that even for a couple of months after that I refused to admit to myself that there was infact a 'problem'. One rational part of me said 'you have got to get this sorted', and the other said 'no you don't - it's what you want, isn't it?' Good angel, bad angel. It was a co
nstant battle between two opposing forces. It was almost too hard to bear at times, and yet I could not see a way out.
I wouldn't attribute my recovery to therapy (although I would definetly advise it to anyone caught in this hell) but more to intense mental battles with myself and the way my life has worked out since. I can now look at the bigger picture.
Even though, 4 years on, I would say I definitely do not have an eating disorder of any kind, there are days when the old urge come back to make myself sick, especially after having been a bit too greedy at dinner. But I daren't be sick - the whole risk of being thrown back into that terrifying cycle of abuse, deceit and lies (aimed at myself and others) scares me. A lot.
Bulimia can be extremely difficult for those who have never been there to understand. I was lucky enough to have a friend I could confide in and who listened to my confused statements. I f you know anyone caught in this messy trap - listen to them. Be there for them. It's not just about food, it goes a lot deeper than that.
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