by Colleen Baker, mental health blogger
(Courtesy of signsofbulimia.com)
If you couldn’t already tell by last week’s post, my entries will be extremely personal. And if you couldn’t tell by my pen name, I can relate quite a bit to quite a few mental disorders or diseases. This week, I will be tackling one of my personal enemies for the past 7 years: bulimia.
In a trash can, in a dumpster, in a bag, in the shower, or in the bushes, bulimics are good at hiding what they do. Made to appear “glamorous” or “an easy out” by celebrities and the usual media craze, bulimia has become a less serious disorder recently and is looked at as simply a way to stay thin. What about the girls hiding their disorder from their roommate? What about the singer who wants to be beautiful, but is only hurting herself and voice by throwing up six times a day? Bulimia may just appear to be a cheap way of losing weight to the unassuming eye, but those who have been through the ringer—those who can only feel good by purging—feel much different.
Believe it or not, bulimia is an addiction. Once you see the results of ridding your body of food, you are addicted. Once you get so angry at yourself for failing at something that used to be so easy, so you throw your guts up to hurt yourself, you feel better—you become addicted to the pain. And once your brain chemically recognizes this pleasure, sadly, there is no turning back. Cutters slice their skin to let out their pain, bulimics throw it up. Coke addicts take a hit to feel normal once addicted, bulimics purge. Something that was once just an opportunity for me to feel less full and guilty after a big meal became an obsession for me.
But why do people do this to themselves? Why do we eat and eat and eat just to throw it all up once we’re full to the max? Because we want to punish ourselves. We want to get all of the tastes and feelings of eating a good meal and then make ourselves suffer for being happy or good enough.
Obviously, I am not a psychologist; so I cannot define the true reasons that lead to a disorder as embarrassing, shameful, and unpleasant as this. But I can know from my personal experience that most of the urging comes from the past. We all feel stress. We all have felt fat before or have been told by our mothers that something didn’t look right. Everything that happens to us leads to something—some things lead to positives, some to negatives. Being pudgy as a child made me feel inadequate. Receiving the unfortunate nickname of “Double -0-Chin” by my brother stuck with me. Anything in your past can be what has led to how you are. For bulimics, there is a vast array of possibilities, but all we know is that it feels so damn good to get it out.
So, if you feel as though any of this hit home for you or you or someone you know is suffering or may be suffering from bulimia, do not hesitate to take action. No one likes to think about what could be the result; no one believes that bulimia is as bad as anorexia. But it’s just not true; throwing up is incredibly detrimental to your heart and vital organs—especially if you are doing it six times a day like how I used to.
So, look for signs. Help your friends. Watch your mouth, for telling someone that they are fat could be the one straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Counseling Center: 315-443-4715. Help is never out of reach.
Editor’s Note: What the Health Online and What the Health magazine are not licensed to give medical advice. The tips above are simply tips from a student with experience. If you are struggling with a mental disorder, please refer to your doctors to seek options that are right for you.