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I just ate a slice of chocolate cake and didn't throw up...

by Rose

Yes, I feel bloated. Yes, it was several hundred calories with no nutritional value... but it's progress.

I have not thrown up in 10 days. In this time, the chocolate cake is the first sweet that I've had.

(This is a rather long post, and if you don't want to read all of it, at least look at the part about potassium)

I left a post on this site two months ago, when I had made it 3 weeks bulimia-free, had a slip-up, but got past it (19 steps forward, 1 step back). Well, I have a confession to make. I couldn't follow my own words of advice. I fell back into my old habits of binging at every meal and throwing up every piece of it. It was horrible. I felt horrible. I kept thinking about this site and Shaye's love and support... but I couldn't stop. It was like someone else was controlling me.

So, you might ask, "how is this time any different from the last? Or any other?" Well, I went to the doctor 11 days ago to get blood drawn (it was a routine check-up and since this was my first time visiting this doctor, she wanted to run every test imaginable on me). The next day, I got a call from her. She said that I had dangerouly low potassium.

Potassium is an electrolyte. It controls the heart. The only people who are at risk are those on certain medications and those who vomit/use laxatives on a regular basis. Normal levels are anywhere from 3.5-5, with anything less than 2.5 being severely low. Mine was 2.3. She told me that she didn't know how my heart was still beating; how I was still alive.

Long story short, I went to the ER and had to face my mom (I'm 18 but still on her insurance plan... I had to confess that I'm bulimic. There's no other way that someone of my age would have electrolyte levels like that). I received IV potassium and a bottle of the largest pills I've ever seen (they make me want to throw up just trying to swallow them). Luckily, between the mega-dose and keeping my food down, my electrolytes stabilized within a few days (I also had low sodium, which can cause seizures).

I think that I've been scared out of vomiting. I'm 18 years old for crying out loud; I don't want to die!

Do you want to know what else helps? Having my mom know. She was horrified and slightly disgusted... and beyond worried! No parent wants their kid to die, especially from something that COULD have been prevented.

Shaye's right, a problem shared is a problem halved. Please, if any of you reading this have read my post to this point, understand that telling someone is IMPERATIVE! I never wanted to tell someone for fear of judgment... but my mom has been surprisingly supportive.

If not a parent, a friend. I know if one of my friends came to me with a problem like this, I would want to help them as much as possible.

If you're still reading this, there's one more thing that I want to get across. Listen to your body. Looking back, I knew that something was wrong. I'd been feeling heart palpitations for months... I just ignored them, telling myself that I was consuming too much caffeine. I'd also been feeling more tired then usual.

Additionally, I'd been losing weight. Now, I'm sure that that doesn't sound bad to most of you (I was certainly happy), but an unintentional loss of 10 lbs in a month is not healthy or natural at all, and I wonder now if it was my body was slowly shutting down. After so many years, it had/has probably had enough abuse (I was overweight between the ages of 8 and 13, anorexic from 14 to 15, and severely bulimic and underweight from 16 until now...). The abnormal heart rhythm and fatigue should have keyed me in. Did I mention that I haven't had a period in five years? I've probably permanently damaged my ovaries.

I don't know any of you, but I don't want any of you to die. Bulimia is like playing with fire! And if you've experienced any of the symptoms that I had, don't fear. Your body wants to recover, and if you listen to it, it will treat you well.

Lots of love,

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Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community

The Bulimia Recovery Program