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I'm going to share a tip with you that can prevent death from bulimia. This isn't really a tip on what to do - rather a tip on what not to do... A tip on how NOT to vomit...
I used to purge in this dangerous way time and time again - daily - without realizing just how close to death it took me...
Yea sure, I felt my whole body go weak, I felt my heart flutter, I felt my chest burn - but I didn't understand that so many people before me had died from doing this.
What I'm talking about here is called flushing.
Flushing is basically when you purge time and time again and use water in-between to help 'flush' out as much food as possible...
Often when people use the flushing technique, they will keep vomiting, then drinking water, then vomiting, until all that is coming up is water - or bile.
When I was bulimic, I was only satisfied that I had 'got it all out' when I got to this point...
Then I'd continue with my day - shivery, shaky and exhausted.
I was so obsessed with flushing that I'd go for an evening shower (or 2, or 3) every night and 'flush' myself out in the shower. I would drink water straight from the shower head, purge, drink, purge, and continue until I was satisfied.
I had no idea how deadly flushing could be.
Flushing is one of the top ways of depleting your body of essential electrolytes - vital for the correct functioning of your heart. When you purge - and even more so when you flush - your body looses electrolytes, sometimes to the point of it being life threatening.
Since my recovery, I've met women with bulimia who have been hospitalized as a result of flushing. One lady was having a single purging session a day, but flushing extensively during it. She was hospitalized with dangerously low potassium levels and was lucky to have survived.
Flushing is one of the most dangerous things you can do as a bulimic. Eliminating 'flushing' is an important step to prevent death from bulimia.
Of course the ideal thing to do is to stop purging altogether - thats the best way to prevent death from bulimia... But I have been where you are now, I've walked to recovery - and I know that giving up purging doesn't necessarily happen overnight... It can take time...
So the question is...
What can you do while you are working on recovery to keep yourself safe when you slip up and binge/purge?
If you do happen to slip up in recovery and binge, here are the steps to take...
1st Best Option) Resist the urge to vomit
The very best thing you can do for your recovery after a binge, is to keep it down. I know how hard this can be - but it will be a massive step forward in your recovery. By holding down a binge, you're reinforcing to your mind that:
And of course holding a binge down will not cause your body any trauma from purging. By not purging you will help to keep your hert safe and prevent death from bulimia.
2nd Best Option) Purge (only once) and replenish your electrolytes
If you can't help but purge - then please, do so only once. Purging once is far less traumatic to your body than purging repetitively and flushing yourself out with water...
Vomit one time only and accept whatever does not come out.
Once you have purged then do your best to replenish your electrolytes. You can do this by drinking a drink high in electrolytes like a powerade, gatorade, the electrolyte replenishing smoothie, or by eating fruit such as bananas and dates. Please make sure you eat or drink (and hold it down) soon after purging.
Of course I hope that after learning the dangers of flushing, you do everything in your power to avoid it. As I've said, by not flushing yourself, you're taking a huge step to prevent death from bulimia.
I want you to keep yourself safe because I know that there's a magnificent life waiting for you on the other side of this journey. Keeping yourself safe will help make sure you get a chance to experience that life!
However, if you do end up flushing, then please do what you can to protect yourself afterwards...
I know some of these steps might sound extreme - but death from bulimia is a genuine risk, particularly if you purge over and over again and use the flushing technique. So do what you can to keep yourself safe...
You are a precious human being and you deserve a long and joyful life :)
I know how scary the side effects of bulimia can be. I know that the idea of death from bulimia is quite traumatic... And this is why I urge you to be aware of the risks (and do what you can to prevent them), but not to use them as motivation for your recovery...
Recovery is not born out of fear - it is born out of love and hope.
A deep (even if it's somewhat dim!) love for yourself - and the hope for a better life.
So instead of saying "I must recover so that I don't have a heart attack"
"I will recover because I deserve to enjoy my life!"
Always use positive motivation to spur yourself forward in your recovery journey :)
Below is my video on how you can prevent death from bulimia by avoiding flushing. If you absorb information better from watching (rather than reading) then please check it out.
Look after yourself while working on recovery :)
If you would like some added guidance in this journey, please visit my online recovery program: The Bulimia Recovery Program.
Lots of love,
Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of your-bulimia-recovery.com
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community