Confessions of an aging bulimic

This is also for the half-drunk challenge. I actually wrote this a little over a year ago as I came to terms with what I’d been doing to my body over the course of my life and realized what I’d done to my health. I was actually intoxicated when I wrote it. In fact, I was probably wasted. I was drinking quite a lot back then as a means to cope with what was going on internally. As of now, I find that I still massively control my intake but not in the same way I used to. I obsess over how healthy things are. Is it organic? Are there preservatives, does it have enough calories? I control it in a major way. I always ensure I take in no less than 1200 calories a day. If I do not, I’m not healthy and I dont feel good. At least I’m not using diuretics, laxatives and barfing, which consequently resulted in a lot of dental work being needed over the years. So, here goes. Second submission. It may not qualify because it’s an older writing that I never published and that’s okay. Maybe somebody else might read it, identify and realize that it isn’t just a young girl problem. And one last part before I post it, if you are a Mom and have young girls who seem to having signs of an eating disorder, keep an eye on their teeth. That was something my parents never did or never realized what was causing my dental problems. Constant barfing erodes the enamel and the end result is a LOT more cavities on the teeth.

____________________________

So there I was with all the usual suspects as I have been many times in my life. Poor coping mechanisms and spending far too much time with anger, frustration, helplessness, aggravation, and being utterly pissed off. I thought I’d shut all that crap out once and for all. They came back for a number of different reasons throughout my life, just like it does with everyone else.

It occurs when I’m stressed, as my Doctor indicated, as a matter of gaining control over something, anything. It isn’t about the binge and purge by vomiting necessarily that defines a bulimic as much as the loss of control over consuming abnormally large quantities of food and the following inappropriate compensatory behavior post binge – whatever that behavior might be. It isn’t always barfing. It’s a vicious cycle. Fast, use laxatives and diuretics, have electrolyte imbalances, vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition, have resulting cravings and uncontrollably binge. Again. Then being miserably overfull and feeling guilty for it, the need to get rid of it and try to find a balance. Somehow.

I feel like my body forgot how to digest food – or I’ve just caused so much damage over the years it can’t do it well so even a small amount of normal food will often give me massive indigestion, often severe bloating and makes me feel sick, lousy, outwardly ugly and physically disproportionate and grotesque. I can’t go out in public like that. I’d rather lay around and self loath. Or….purge. Therein lies the vicious cycle. Making myself feel better only exacerbates the issue.

It’s an irony of control. In my struggle to gain control, I found that is precisely what I’d lost. Maybe I’ll just barf up some but not all….no that wont work. Maybe I’ll jut barf it all up and then eat some crackers or something and water. No, that results in starvation and I’ve been there too. It’s no better. Vicious cycle…..vicious, vicious cycle that once started is very hard to break. If I do manage to suffer through it and keep it down it will not go through and I’ll need laxatives. Me and Magnesium Citrate go way back. We know each other well. It’s a love-hate relationship.

My first binge and purge was when I was 8 years old at my Grandmother’s house. My sister and I ate ridiculously HUGE brownies, ice cream, whipped topping, cookies and sprinkles, sticky fudge all slathered all over it, etc. nasty really. With the plan in mind before we ever started to wash it all down with some syrup of ipecac. I did, she didn’t. Maybe that’s why she never had a problem and I did. She watched me barf my 8 year old guts up for the rest of the night and feel miserable. My Grandmother was worried sick and we never told her it was self induced. I’m 38 years old now. That was 30 years ago….my how time flies.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies and electrolyte imbalances from all of the above cause an array of physical problems, not the least of which can be life threatening. Ironically enough, it IS about exactly that, at least for me. CONTROL and I will use that to my advantage. Now I have something different to take control of. Bulimia. I will not let it control me anymore. “I” am the one in control, NOT it and I like my life. Being taken to the emergency room via an ambulance was the last straw for me.


5 Responses to “Confessions of an aging bulimic”

  1. Deena Kay, this is a brave and important post. I am grateful to you for sharing it with this community. I believe that knowledge is power and, the more we understand about the vicious cycle you describe, the more we can help other men and women from entering it. The Kitchen Witch also wrote this week about women and eating issues. You might be interested in seeing her take on the topic: http://thekitchwitch.blogspot.com/2009/12/f-bomb-alert-skeletor-issues.html

  2. I am with Kristen on this one, Deena Kay! The more we know, the better prepared we are to deal with it. I am continually on the PE department’s case as they don’t realize how they are promoting poor self-image with some of their “fitness” requirements. Kids just get pressure from so many sides – school, media, magazines.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Thank you for sharing this. I was a ballet dancer for most of my childhood and have seen far too many girls’ lives controlled and, at times, ruined by eating disorders. I was fortunate to not be personally affected, but I have many friends who have never recovered. Not even 30 years later. I am glad for your recovery, for you honesty, for persevering. It takes a strength that is unlike any other.

  4. I have a friend that has struggled with bulimia. She has had her ups and downs with controlling it. It wasn’t until recently that she realized she needed to stop the vicious cycle for herself. Not for any external rewards, but for her own sake.

    Thank you for sharing this remarkable and important post.

  5. I just read these replies. In my “Half drunk challenge” phase I took to the drunk to far and misses these. Every time I read this piece that I wrote, it just nearly brings me to tears. I wrote this almost 2 years ago. I still have a hard time but not as hard as I did back then. Thank god!

    I shared this with a seeminly lovely women who has small friends and blogged about how to respond to people when they comment on how much she eats. 🙂 Her friend made a comment without thinking, NOT out of malice or disrespect. She’s a great person and has great friends. 🙂 Her blog is here:
    http://kjlivinglively.com/2010/01/20/can-someone-help-me-with-well-intentioned-skinny-people/

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