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A 46 year old man...with 30 years of Bulimia is still haunting him...

by Bud
(Burnsville, MN USA)

Basic start of my illness was in junior high school. Wrestling was tough, to keep weight down, I purged. Easily done. But then something snapped in me. I was more self cautious about my looks and being accepted. My folks found me one day in my closet, crying. I wanted to fit in so bad. yet to them, I was popular. Captain of the football and wrestling teams, girlfriends, social standout, good grades and all. What the hell happened to me? That was 1981....Over the past 30 years, I have hidden my illness with everyone, including my wife of 18 years, two kids, parents, friends and co-workers. It has become a challenge and a goal in life to keep it a secret. I am not one of those normal bulimics who need assistance throwing up. I can do it by just standing up, kneeling down, bending over, and all without the use of fingers down my throat, or any other techniques. I'm the guy who can swallow live goldfish, and puke them up "alive". What a trick, right...Well I find myself in a tough spot. I'm 46 years old, and on a daily basis, I purge at least 1-2 times. I watch what I eat, to avoid harder foods to force up. The strange moments are when I am feeling depressed, or not accepted, and I will eat something I know comes up easy, but in massive quantities. Like a whole box of cereal, a gallon of milk, soft cookies, and mashed potatoes. A meal for 8 or more. Then it's up and gone in 2 minutes, and I feel in control again. My brain seems to calm down and although I feel I am doing something wrong, it feels better than before. That's the illness. The hook of "the feeling of relief". I have thrown up in places that no one could imagine. It's a game at times. I have slammed full pitchers of beer, without a sweat, then when I announce I need to "piss", I can bring it all back up and out in about 30 seconds, then go do it again, 2 or 3 times a night. At home, taking the garbage out at night to the garage, I can easily relieve myself in a old food box, and come back in...within a minute. A normal "pee" takes about 2 minutes. I know that and time myself when purging. I would go to All You Can Eat places, knowing I would be able to go home and throw up within 5 minutes of the meal ending. If I had no "out" for throwing up, I just don't eat. It has become an obsession to be able to control what I eat. Corporate outings, family dinners, even a simple breakfast with my kids, where Dad eats an entire stack of 10 pancakes, plus eggs, enough for 3 people. No problem. But now I need to go to the bathroom to shower and get ready for the day. I lock myself in, start the shower, and kneel down. Very simple. I have accepted the fact that I am very insecure about myself. I have been that way for as long as I know. But, according to family and friends, I am the only person they know who is in "total control". I am also the guy people turn to for all their needs. I do everything for anyone. Never to my standards, but to others I am perfect in some ways. I am the ultimate control guy. If I'm not running it, I don't want to be in it.

One thing that has bothered me is my mood swings. Not sure if they are related to this illness, or something else. I can be the greatest guy one day, one week even, and all of a sudden, my wife may say something about me "not getting something done" and I will snap into a depressive mood that kills all my other feelings. I daydream of leaving everyone and going somewhere where no one knows me. I can't stand being around people, and it shows. Then they ask me if I am feeling alright, and that annoys me even farther. I lay in bed all night, planning what life would be like without me in it. Never wanting to commit suicide, but wanting to leave. It would last for two or three days. And during that time, I may purge 3-4 times a day. I keep nothing inside me. A few years ago, I secretly went to a psychologist for help. She was young and new I thought. And it showed in her therapy style. She never really got to know me, she just wanted me to "journal" my day so she could read it. I left after three sessions with no intentions of telling anyone again. Till now. Go figure. This past Christmas I was in a state of complete depression. 40 people at my house for a wonderful party on Christmas Day and all I wanted to do was leave and drive. Drive till I hit a border or water. Never coming back. I was crabby and said things I regret. That night my wife asked me to "get out of my crabby mood. It's not fair to the rest of us". I then made the comment, "I am more screwed up than you could imagine. I'm just a very good actor". She had no reply, just turned over and went to bed. I was up till 4:45am sitting in a chair downstairs. I know bulimia runs along the same track as depression. But I also believe that lacking self worth, self confidence, or self importance is part of that as well. I'm sad to say that's me in a nutshell. I will do anything for someone else, but can't stand myself for the most part. I'm 46, just about to have a birthday, and I see no end in my habits thus far. There are days I want to take my wife aside, and tell her everything. But what could I say. "Honey, I'm bulimic and depressed. I need therapy and that's why I'm an asshole at times." There, all is better right. Not a chance. If family and friends found out what was wrong with me, I am done. It's not fair to them to have to go through this with me. The one time I tried therapy, it failed. Not sure it ever will. Being tagged with a "mental illness" is not what anyone wants in their life.

Bulimia is part of my daily routine in everyday life. It seems I do that as easy as brushing my teeth. It's just part of me. Even when I look in the mirror afterwards, I think, "Oh well, that's me." Not sure what the future holds for me, but I wanted to share my story with you. It's not the food, it's the control. I just can't seem to shake this thing. Life goes on............

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Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of your-bulimia-recovery.com
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community


The Bulimia Recovery Program