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Portrait of a Bulimic

by Ivy
(Indiana, USA)

Bulimia takes all the worst parts of me, brings them together, and magnifies them. She even takes things that are healthy and normal and twists them for her own purposes. I'm naturally introspective and reflective; with bulimia I become completely obsessed with my own tiny world. I love making lists and plans; bulimia uses that to turn hours of my time into making up detailed meal plans and calorie lists and weight loss "programs." I am driven to put my best into all that I do; bulimia sets up impossible standards that I continue to crash into, destroying myself but determined not to give up until I can reach them.
I am so ashamed of some of the choices I have made as a result of my bulimia. I have taken money from my little brother's wallet because the only food available to me was a vending machine and I didn't have any change. I have used my employee access to sneak into an event center after hours to eat cake from the garbage can after a wedding reception was held there. I have purged in most of the bathrooms at my university, in shared dorm showers, and in my parent's bathroom, with my mom just in the next room. I chew food and spit it out. I eat a meal at home before going out for another with friends. My financial situation is meager, yet I spend loads of money on take aways and junk food from the grocery. Entire pans of brownies, cartons of ice cream, jars of peanut butter disappear within hours or minutes.
I say that I want to get better, but I can't seem to let go of this fear of gaining weight. I'm afraid that recovery means gaining weight and I tell myself that I would rather be dead. So I promise myself that I'll get the binging under control. That I won't purge anymore. My promises, like my plans, go unheeded and unfulfilled.

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Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of
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The Bulimia Recovery Program