bulimarexia and the voice
(Sacramento, CA, USA)
I have endured this horrific disease of bulimia in combination with anorexia nervosa for 25 years. I started at the age of 19 when I was in college. Growing up, food had always soothed my emotions. If I was anxious, sad, bored, lonely, frustrated, or angry, I would ultimately use food as a way to numb myself and therefore not deal with these uncomfortable and intrusive feelings.
As a child, I was abused, molested, ignored, and emotionally tortured. I was not protected and my trust for people especially family quickly dissipated. BUT food, it was my savior, my friend. It did not judge me nor did it hurt me, up until the bulimarexia began.
At age nine, my parents divorced since my mother had an affair and became pregnant. Soon after, this man who I hated from the start, her new boyfriend, moved in with us. His control over me and my sister was persistent throughout the years. He ignored me, controlled the food in the house (would hide food in upper cabinets not to be touched by us kids), he would check to see if we got into this stash always. Once he told me when I was 9 or 10 to not touch his mnm's; however, I did so when he an my mother left for a while. A few minutes following, he swung open the front door (BTW..he was tall and a large man, 10 years younger than my mother...so he was about 20 or 22) and saw I had taken a hand full. Basically, he took me into my bedroom violently and through me against my nightstand and brutally beat the living s...t out of me. Years later my mom confessed to watching the whole incident.
I met Anna in high school and never knew about bulimia or anorexia until she told me she suffered from it. At first I was always irritated when she would ask,"Do I look fat?". She was so skinny, she had no breasts and the tiniest butt. After she confessed to me, I began to understand. She explained how she used a toothbrush or her fingers to induce vomiting. Basically, at first I thought it to be disgusting, but the seed was planted in my mind.
I remember always dieting to control my weight since people, the media and family always encouraged you to be thin. The MYTH: if you are thin, you will be happy, attract all men, have the perfect boyfriend, be truly successful, and have lots of friends. This is what the VOICE of the ED tells all of us who are suffering with this insidious disease; however, it is just a bunch of lies instilled into each of us from childhood. We were not born with all of these lies, but we learned to believe them from reading magazines, looking at the airbrushed pictures of perfect female models, watching TV and movies that portray pictures of perfect people, and families and peers, who do not accept you the way you are, but instead attempt to mold us into what they believe is the ideal person that they need us to be.
Anyways, I was at my mothers new husbands parents house on a holiday to which I am not able to recall (my moms boyfriend and her married when I was 16) when there was a conflict as usual. I went into the bathroom and attempted to rid myself of the nastiness inside me that was filled with anxiety and hate. I was not successful; however, when we arrived home, I attempted again, but with a X this time as I remembered my ED friend had told me about. Next thing I knew, VOILA, all my grotesque feelings emptied into the toilet. At first, this to me was a gift, an open door to all of my problems. I now could consume whatever I wanted and as much as I chose to (not anyone could control my eating....only me). I could ultimately cheat and get rid of the food I had consumed, every little bit. I drank water until I could see clear and a lot of times I would purge acid, a very yellow stomach substance that eventually eats away your teeth and ruins your esophagus and also the probability of other internal organs as well, but tragically, death is the fatality that we overlook when engrossed in the addiction.
I binged on EVERYTHING I loved. Because food was love, numbing, and something I could CONTROL since I had no say in what I wanted to do with my life. Taco Bell, KFC, McDonalds, ice cream, cake, cookies and more. It was a daily buffet, but at the same time I was rapidly loosing weight because binging plus purging and restricting usually equates to rapid weight loss in the beginning. Or in my case it did. I weighed myself several times a day. The thinner the better....and the thinner the stronger. No one knew what secret I was hiding, but the compliments soon started coming and guys couldn't take their eyes off of me. All that I ever wished for was coming true. I was X and rapidly dropped to X, then X. All eyes were on me. Finally, I was admired, attractive and desirable. MYTH: No one likes fat women or chicks.
I could not stop. The less I weighed, the stronger I felt mentally.....the VOICE validated this. It told me, "keep loosing and you will be stronger and better and more beautiful than anyone....your special." Today I know that the VOICE is a complete and utter liar, whose ultimate goal is to destroy those afflicted with this illness. BUT what it does not tell you is that you will die if you continue. You will soon become weak and inevitably black out. You will not be able to think straight or function normally and depression, shame, anxiety, and guilt will rule your mind until all you can do is sleep from weakness. It does not tell you that depleting your body of necessary nutrients and weighing X lbs. At 5'5" will make you psychotic and ultimately suicide is the only ultimatum.
I have lived with the bulimia throughout my pregnancy, been in a dysfunctional relationship with someone, who was also an addict and father of my child. I have lied to support my addiction just like a drug addict. I have switched addictions, which are symptomatic of the ED. And today at the age of 45, the consequences of choosing to do the ED for me, and probably for others as well, are as follows:
* MY TEETH ARE DAMAGED, MANY CROWNS AND ONE BRIDGE AS ONE WAS DAMAGED AFTER A WISDOM TOOTH WAS PULLED AND AS A RESULT I HAVE NERVE DAMAGE.
* I HAVE ACID REFLUX, WHICH IS GETTING WORSE AND WHEN I SWALLOW SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE I AM GOING TO DIE.....I AM HAVING AN ENDOSCOPY AND HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE RESULTS WILL BE FROM B & P EVERY DAY FOR 25 YEARS...MULTIPLE TIMES
* I HAVE OSTEOPENIA AND THE BEGINNINGS OF ARTHRITIS
* I AM ON MULTIPLE MEDICATIONS FOR MY MENTAL HEALTH AND DEVELOPED ACID REFLUX
* I HAVE ATTEMPTED SUICIDE MULTIPLE TIMES
There is more, but my ultimate message here is that for persons beginning an eating disorder, struggling with one for a time, such as a few years or more, PLEASE SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP AND TRY YOUR HARDEST TO STOP.
For those thinking that this is a way out, believe me when I say you lose your life, your identity, and sometimes friends and family because the eating disorder takes over and becomes your identity. It is not the answer and certainly not worth it. PLEASE....DON'T START.
The longer the duration of the addiction, the harder it is to control or even STOP. Yes, in the beginning we think we have the control....we need this control. But as the brains chemistry and bodies chemistry changes, the ED takes on a life of its own where even if we wanted or even attempted to stop, the body and brain says, "NO YOU CAN'T OR SOMETHING BAD WILL HAPPEN.....LIKE YOU WILL GET FAT OR LOSE CONTROL...YOU ARE NOTHING WITHOUT ME." Yes this is the brains VOICE.
People think that if they do certain behaviors such as, eating disorders, smoking, chewing tobacco, gambling, stealing, lying, or cheating that they are inevitable and the consequences are non existent for them; however, from my own experience and from interacting with those,who suffer from such addictions, the consequences are endless and in time they appear with a vengeance.
For me, I have had enough and found a more than qualified ED therapist by luck. He has helped people with ED and other major addictions for 30 years and is a published author for the book, "THE DEADLY DIET." He is currently teaching me CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), which is going to help me fight this life destroying VOICE that has controlled my mind for the duration of my life. Today I have hope. I do not want to die even on the most difficult days. I want to get well and recover from ED. I want to be in control of my own thoughts and behaviors, and the decisions that I make.
Please reach out for help until it is too late. CHOICES......there are limitless choices. We just need to decide to choose the right ones. Everyone in life is good, but sometimes our negative behaviors are the ones that are bad and destructive. SO REMEMBER, YOU ARE NOT BAD FOR HAVING AN EATING DISORDER AND YOU ARE NOT BAD BECAUSE YOU CANNOT CONTROL IT EITHER.....IT IS THE BEHAVIOR NOT THE PERSON.....NOT YOU....THAT IS BAD.
In the beginning, I believed I was special and the only one with this secret, at least that is what the VOICE brainwashed me into believing. But today, we are not alone in our struggle to get the ED out of our lives. So when you think your the only one and you are alone.....remember it is a lie and thousands are struggling everyday as well and trying to recover and find themselves in order to live peaceful, happy, and fulfilling lives free from the eating disorder and all of its deceitful lies.
I wish all of you that are in the grips of this disease, hope, faith, and a latter to climb out of that deep empty whole.