I’m dealing with bulimia again for the first time in about a decade. It started out as a silly little problem I didn’t even notice. Over the past few months, though, it’s developed into a full-blown relapse. Eating disorders are, for many reasons, dangerous. I’m working with my therapist and will likely see a nutritionist soon. Since there are many others dealing with eating disorders, and these disorders are completely foreign to people who have never had the problem, I’m going to attempt to explain my mindset in this post.
Last summer, someone made an off-hand comment about my weight. I’ve gained weight, and I did feel guilty about that. Still, off-hand comments can be more dangerous than people realise. This one was even more dangerous than *I* realised at the time. In trying to clear out some papers, I found a journal from last year and started browsing through it. I had written out the comment and noted my determination to lose weight. I’d even noted the fact that it might require a dangerous method that I didn’t want to write about at the time. The comment never left my mind. The idea of it becoming dangerous did.
I lost some weight over the second half of last year and was relieved by that. By the holidays, though, the dieting bit was getting a little extreme. Back then I was eating every day, but the meals were getting smaller and smaller. I’d eat as normal on weekends, not wanting to seem suspicious, but I was eating less and less during the week. Over the first week or so of January, I lost eleven pounds. Then, I gained a great deal of it back. That caused panic, which led to the binge/purge cycle of bulimia.
This is the mentality. I feel gluttonous and like a child with no self-restraint. I feel undeserving of food, since it seems like I can’t handle it properly. Every little calorie, measure of fat, or carbohydrate feels like a failing. I look in the mirror and, apparently, see someone much bigger than those around me see. That’s not meant in a DID sense, for once. Just in a body image sense. That sense of failure is a major problem. I feel like everyone who sees me eating must think of me as an absolute slob, and I think of myself like that.
The cycle went slowly. I did the purging bit once or twice a week, then every day, then more than once per day. The actual throwing up bit is getting better. Now, I’ve just decreased portion size. I have trouble eating two days in a row. An English muffin and cup of yoghurt is frequently the meal of choice. Eating more than that in one day makes me feel gluttonous all over again. It’s like I can feel my stomach physically swelling after every bite. I know this is bad for my health; the heart palpitations, headaches, complete lack of energy sends that signal. I just can’t seem to overcome the fear and sense of shame that accompanies eating. As long as I’m barely eating at all, I know I’m not being gluttonous, and I feel a sense of self-restraint and self-control.
The therapist and I are working on this. Everyone tells me that, bit by bit, it will get better. From this point, though, it’s hard to see my attitude towards food becoming normal again.