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The Princess Diana Bulimia story proves bulimia effects people from all walks of life.
Bulimia knows no boundaries - and if it can consume a princess, it can consume anybody.
Diana is by far the most famous bulimic of all time. Her honesty about this difficult subject is remarkable.
The way she describes bulimia is spot on:
"You inflict it upon yourself because your self-esteem is at a low ebb, and you don't think you're worthy or valuable. You fill your stomach up four or five times a day - some do it more - and it gives you a feeling of comfort..
It's like having a pair of arms around you, but it's temporary. Then you're disgusted at the bloatedness of your stomach, and then you bring it all up again."
Princess Diana had so much pressure put on her when she became a princess. She was a shy girl who was suddenly thrust into the spotlight. Diana also felt as though she was never good enough for the royal family, who watched her every move...
This would be enough to throw anybody's life out of control... but add to the mix a husband who is having an affair (with Camilla Parker Bowles) and you have a recipe for disaster!
Diana said that Prince Charles made her feel inadequate in every possible way. From early on in their marriage, there were problems. Princess Diana bottled up all the sadness and anger that she felt... She used food to help her suppress her emotions.
For a long time nobody suspected that the royal marriage was in trouble and that the princess was battling bulimia.
Diana managed to live two separate lives. Her public life and her personal life were very different.
It was a combination of things that gave Princess Diana bulimia... but the most significant factor was the disapproval she felt from her husband, Prince Charles.
Charles told the queen about Diana's bulimia. The queen then went on to blame Diana's bulimia for their failing marriage... She told friends that Diana's eating must be so difficult for Charles.
The truth was that Charles's affair had caused Diana's bulimia to spiral out of control. The royals were trying to protect Charles's reputation - no matter what it involved.
Diana said that the royals would often make cold remarks about her eating. Instead of getting support, she was made out to be useless and even mentally unstable.
Comments such as those are damaging for bulimics... they do nothing to help and only intensify the guilt and stress that they feel.
I hope that Charles feels really bad about the way he handled Diana's eating disorder. His attitude was disgusting!
A good friend finally confronted Diana about her bulimia. The friend gave Diana an ultimatum. This was that either:
Diana rings her doctor and gets help for her bulimia...
Her friend would announce to the world that Diana was bulimic.
You might be thinking that the friend was cold and heartless... But this ultimatum was an important turning point in Diana's life.
Diana went to a specialist in eating disorders - the same doctor that had treated her sister Sarah, for anorexia... The therapist quickly noted that Charles was the major cause of Diana's bulimia. He told her that if she got treatment, in 6 months she would be a different woman.
Diana's therapy marked the beginning of her bulimia recovery. It also marked the beginning of a new, independent and confident Diana.
After treatment, Princess Diana was very open about her bulimia.
This openness and honesty resulted in many young women (and men) admitting to suffering from eating disorders. Diana had managed, through her suffering - to touch the lives of others. Suddenly people realized that it was okay to ask for help. It was okay to admit things weren't perfect.
This movement became known as the ‘Diana Effect.’ Diana helped us to realize that we don't need to be ashamed of eating disorders.
Diana taught us that bulimia was NOT the problem, she taught people that bulimia was only a symptom of deeper problems.
It's so sad that such an inspirational life was cut short. Rest in Peace beautiful Princess.
Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of your-bulimia-recovery.com
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community