• Wed, Sep 5 2012

Take It From Me: Don’t Become Bulimic

bulimia

I know “don’t become bulimic” sounds obvious. And it is. Who would want to regularly perform one of the most unpleasant actions that the body can do? But, for ten years, I did. I’m not alone. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 1-2% of young women in the US are bulimic, too, and an estimated 10 million people are believed to have some form of an eating disorder.

At twelve, I was in a mild state of depression as a result of middle school cruelty (seriously, who didn’t fucking hate seventh grade?). I felt alone, I felt hopeless, but most of all, I felt insignificant.

I had barely stopped playing with Barbies the first time I threw up. After reading a book about a girl with an eating disorder, I decided to do it—just as an experimental a response to eating three Snickers bars in one sitting. I found that it wasn’t pleasant, but it was not terrible either, so I did it every so often for about a year. I wasn’t emotionally attached to it; I just thought it was “cool” to be like the protagonist of that book. And I knew that regardless of what I wanted to do when I grew up, I wanted to be beautiful and unfortunately—and incorrectly—assumed weight was one of the deciding factors in that.

But then I was raped at 13. I began to eat my feelings, gain weight and feel terrible about it, so I started throwing up on a regular basis. It was like a “get out of jail free” card and I intended to use it (at the time, I didn’t realize that you can’t actually vomit all of your stomach’s contents). I would eat, throw up several times, and feel happy. It made me feel freed and normalized. Thus began my love affair with bulimia.

Because I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I have to be exact about most of my actions, so I insisted on throwing up 3, 5, 9, 15, or 23 times. Typically, though, 9 or 15 were the marks which I would hit anywhere between a few times a month to twice per day. I thought about it the same way some of my friends felt about yoga or meditation or face masks—it was just a part of my routine.

A few boyfriends were aware of it. They would usually try to convince me that I needed to stop, that it was disgusting, that I was sick. But after a while they would give up. I don’t blame them; their conflict with my illness was as pointless as trying to put out a house engulfed in fire using a water bottle. My bulimia had been there first, it was more a part of me than any of them could be, and they had no idea how to approach a faceless enemy that can’t be reasoned with.

Wanna know something actually sick? I would joke about it with my ex-best friend, Julia, who was also bulimic. She and I would run to bathrooms together to puke, the entire time laughing about the absurdity of the situation and bonding over strange things we’d realized. Did you know that if you throw up ice cream quickly enough, it’s still cold enough to give you a brain freeze? You do now. Twice the flavor, half the calories!” we’d exclaim, giggling at our cleverness.

Obviously, though, it was not cute nor was it clever. Self-inflicted damage is not something two people should bond over, and, for the most part, it was an incredibly lonely disorder. I would constantly flip-flop between desperately wanting to get better and being completely indifferent to what happened to me.

I came to the realization that I needed to cease my behaviors when I was having so much pain on a regular basis that I often couldn’t stand up properly. This had happened a few times, but the level of frequency increased, and even my apathy and dislike for myself couldn’t protect me from acknowledging that it was a big deal. There were these deep, intense stomach pains that felt like they were reverberating all over my stomach and chest pains that, according to my doctor, should have always been considered serious enough to immediately go to the hospital (though perhaps he was exaggerating because he knew I needed initiative to quit).

Finally, I started throwing up blood every few days. It wasn’t just happening when I threw up on purpose; it would happen without any warning whatsoever after I ate any normal sized meal. My doctor said that my esophagus, having been weakened from years of wear and tear, was now more prone to ripping—thus the blood.

I won’t go into the details of how I stopped, because that’s not the point of this story (though if you would like to know, feel free to ask). It was the general way doctors recommend you to quit—therapy, being dedicated to recovery, yadda yadda. The point of this story is the aftermath that occurred regardless of my quitting.

We all know that eating disorders are bad for your body—malnutrition weakens your bones and muscles, you can grow extra hair all over if you’re severely underweight, your teeth become damaged, etcetera. But like many of the fellow eating disorder-afflicted folks I’ve met, I simply assumed that I wouldn’t have to face any of those dangers unless I continued throwing up until I was in my thirties or forties. Between the ages 30-50, by the way, is when most adolescents and young women who presently have eating disorders will finally seek out help (nationaleatingdisorders.org, 2005). I just figured that by the time I got older, I’d have stopped before anything permanently damaged my body. “I’m young,” I thought, “I’m resillient”.

I was wrong. I’m twenty-two now, but by my late teens, I had already received several of those effects.

Having always had a sensitive stomach prone to aches and pains, I was used to discomfort in my gastrointestinal system. However, around sixteen—after about four years of bulimia—I started burping very loudly all the time. But rather than simply air, acid was coming up my throat. My doctor informed me that I had acid reflux disease and prescribed me medication, but over the years, it’s gotten so bad that their assistance is negligible. The sound I make—halfway between gagging and vomiting—has become a running joke amongst my friends, as it sometimes coincides with a gossipy statement or awkward introduction to a cute stranger, but it’s actually pretty painful and just plain gross. What date wants to kiss somebody who’s constantly tossing up acid into her mouth?

I’ve had countless cavities because of the vomiting, but I assumed dental issues were behind me. However, because of the acid reflux, no matter how many times I’ve had my cavities filled, I inevitably get more within a few months. Keep in mind, this is with thrice daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing with pro-enamel wash. Though my smile is fairly straight and normal looking, I can’t actually chew anything hard, gummy, or cold with my back or middle teeth. I actually have to cut food into tiny pieces or suck on it until it’s soft enough for me to chew; it is essentially as though I’m preparing to feed a baby, but that baby is me.

I also can’t heal from infections nearly as well as most people. Between 2007 and 2009, I had chronic Tonsillitis until finally, we had to have them removed, subsequently ending any chances of continuing my prospective opera career. And according to my doctor, I will likely have a weakened immune system for years, in addition to some reproductive side effects I’d rather not go into.

Additionally, convincing your system not to do something that you’ve trained it to do for years is extremely difficult. Though I’ve worked on telling my mind not to want to vomit any longer, my body still instinctively seems to desire it. On occasion, if I eat a normal or large meal, I’ll throw up anyway. It’s like quitting drinking, but then your body produces alcohol on its own so you have to keep boozing onward.

On the topic of alcohol: if I take a shot of liquor, I often have to take it twice—once when I first swallow it, then again when it all comes back up and I have to re-swallow it again. And remember how I mentioned throwing up blood making me want to quit vomiting? That still happens once in a while, regardless of my bulimia’s end.

I know this title sounds nonchalant, as though the idea of vomiting your food each day has the severity equivalent of drinking beer before liquor or plucking rather than waxing. But I mean it in the most serious way possible—bulimia and all eating disorders are not glamorous, effective or worth it. If you’re “seeking control,” as every professional I’ve ever seen has informed me I am, you won’t find it here. It will control you. It will get worse. If you’re seeking weight loss, you will also not find it here: I was perpetually bloated, my weight would yo-yo by 20 or more pounds every six months and many, many bulimics are overweight.

I don’t say any of this to disgust you or to sound tragic or however TV is spinning eating disorder tales these days. I say this because each of these effects has negatively affected my social life, my partying, my relationships, my family life…all fairly soon after the first time my finger touched the back of my throat. Ironically, these are all the aspects I had assumed would improve if I just lost a little bit more weight. Of course, my health has gotten significantly better since I stopped vomiting, so by no means am I saying that anybody who presently has an eating disorder shouldn’t get help right away for any and all mental health issues—it is not a futile fight, I promise. But I do wish I had never started, and I desperately hope that this deters somebody who might have recently started purging from continuing.

The worst part of all of these complications and effects is the guilt of knowing that I did this to my own body. You body is your best friend, your most prized possession; don’t ever betray it the way I did.

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  • L

    thank you for sharing.

  • Kj

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I imagine it must be a difficult thing to talk about.

    In my mind, no matter how much you hear about the dangers of eating disorders, I still feel like there’s a certain tragic glamour associated with them. I think it’s important to stress that there are real, immediate consequences and negative impact on your looks… there are worse things than stretch marks and cellulite.

    Sending you good vibes for your continued recovery.

    • Eagle Eye

      Yes! It fits into the damsel in distress narrative we’ve constructed for beautiful but irrevocably flawed and tragic women. So the less, um, dainty (?) aspects of this story help to combat that narrative. Its not pretty or cute, its dangerous and with real and legitimate health concerns.

    • Eagle Eye

      Also, Sam Thank you so much for sharing – I’m so sorry that you had to go through this, but you are a great writer and I’ve been touched by all of your articles here on the gloss.

    • Sam

      Thank you two for reading it!. Strangely enough, it’s not difficult to write about this stuff the way it used to be for me–I used to get easily frustrated with my own past actions and feel ashamed, but now I just don’t want to carry that around anymore. So while it’s not easy, it’s not difficult anymore, either.

      There definitely is a serious glamorous connotation to having an eating disorder. After all, so many of our idolized icons like Karen Carpenter, Mary Kate Olsen and Fiona Apple have had eating tragically painful eating disorders; it quickly becomes easy to associate beauty and dysfunction. Eagle Eye – I’m glad you felt that the unpleasantries here made it clearer how ugly and, to be honest, really disgusting it can feel.

      Thanks so much again<3

  • BP

    Brave and honest. Thank you for sharing.

  • DC

    Wow. I admire your bravery and honesty.
    I wish I could take what you’ve written and hand it out on the streets so everyone can see what bulimia really does.

    thank you

    • Sam

      Thank you. I imagine a commercial showing my gross knuckles and bad back teeth complete with sounds of my acid reflux might hopefully deter somebody who is at-risk (seriously).

  • HW

    You are remarkably brave for sharing all of this. Really seeing this from a different perspective now :)

  • Caleb

    Knowing the kind of person you are today and then reading this makes me truly realize : you are SUCH an inspiration. =)

  • Alec

    God that’s rough. That sounds mind mindbogglingly frustrating.

  • ES

    This article strikes very close to home for me. About a year and a half ago I was in the worst phase of my bulimia. I repeatedly had almost that exact conversation on the benefits of throwing up ice cream. Having a friend who supported my choices made it way harder for me to confront my disorder as a serious issue. It was almost social in the most messed up way possible.

    I’m recovering now and still dealing with long-term effects. Thanks for writing this article. It somehow managed to put words to a part of my life that I’ve had a hard time even thinking about.

    • Sam

      First of all, how strange is the ice cream thing? It’s bizarre and sad things like that that are simultaneously relatable only between people who are bulimic that makes it so easy to laugh about it and not take it seriously when you know other people with the same disorder. I totally know what you mean about it being almost social…my old best friend and I used to vomit in bathrooms together. She and I were both dubiously unhealthy, but it seemed so normal–even like a bit of a standard.

      Secondly, I am so sorry that you went through that. I hope the effects you’re experiencing disappear soon, but I’m really glad to hear you’re in recovery.

      Third, thank you. If you ever need somebody to relate to, shoot me an email at paintedlip@gmail.com anytime, period.

  • Toya

    Wow. I had no idea bulimia could have that many long term effects. Also, I think there are way too many cases like this where the idea comes from a book or some sort of media; a lot of people I’ve talked to or follow on tumblr specifically have admitted their eating disorders were influenced by the images promoting weight loss and visible skeletons. It’s a dangerous disease and should be taken seriously.

  • Sam

    wow this article is amazingly written. i’ve never been bulimic but i’ve had kinda bad acid reflux for about a year which caused chest tightness and trouble swallowing and burping. i thought for a while that it was just indigestion but i went to the doctor and he looked down my throat and diagnosed it. thankfully it seems to be getting a little better with meds..

    makes me realize though, there are always people out there suffering more than you, both mentally and physically. everyone should remember this when meeting/judging people..it would make the world a better place.

    • Sam

      Thank you so much. And guh, acid reflux is so frustrating (I went to the dentist just this morning and they informed me yet again that my back teeth are ick). I’m glad you’re getting better, though! :)

      Also, if there’s anything I learned from bulimia (besides not to do it), it’s that you never know who has what problems and why. I’ve met skinny girls who get told to “eat a sandwich,” which really hurts them because they already have an eating disorder and if it were that easy, they would goddamned eat a sandwich. I’ve also met people who are anorexic or bulimic and are overweight, but people simply don’t believe them because they’re not “thin enough” to seem like they have one.

  • mm

    Thanks for writing this, it’s incredibly brave of you. I know where you’re coming from, and I feel for you. The only way I was able to stop was by stopping eating altogether, which introduced a whole new monster: the anorexia monster. Now that I’ve successfully recovered from both, the longterm effects are still horrendous. I can’t eat without feeling uncomfortable for days. Since I have to eat, I’m pretty much constantly bloated and uncomfortable. It destroys your immune system – I have gotten THE WEIRDEST illnesses since…including a kidney infection. It destroys your metabolism. It destroys your psychological wellbeing. And it’s a challenge every day to rise above it. My poor boyfriend is dealing with me 2 years after I finally kicked my problems, and it comes up multiple times a week.

    Your article is awesome because it sheds light on the nasty social aspect of eating disorders…I, too, had a friend who would run giggling to the bathroom with me. I love that you’re telling people the really, truly nasty aspects that no one seems to talk about. It’s like people know eating disorders can kill you but they never get the whole story. It changes your life forever, even once you’re better. People need to know that. Thank you thank you thank you! I wish you the absolute best, aaandd…sorry this was so long!

    • Sam

      Thank you so much for reading and the compliments, seriously! I went through short 3-4 month bouts of anorexia every couple of years and it was just as horrible unpleasant as bulimia for me (though I wasn’t comfortable with it in the same way)…I can’t imagine dealing with it on a long-term scale since I felt so f’ing weak all the time. I’m so so glad that you’ve risen above those and gotten better, though. Thank you for sharing, as well. <3

  • natasa

    wow, that was incredibly powerful! thank u so much for sharing, and teaching me something very important today.

  • Marie

    oh man, this. i still can’t eat meat (four years later) because it makes me gag, and I still shudder to think of vomiting up partially chewed sushi- the nori getting stuck in your throat? awful. I also feel you on the unable to chew with the back teeth thing- apple skin is impossible, so i can only eat them peeled, and even brushing with sensodyne I can’t eat ice cream or drink cold drinks. my gums are destroyed too- you can almost see my roots. ugh. another unintended side effect- I destroyed the plumbing in my mom’s house by purging in the shower.
    thanks for writing this, i hope that it prevents other girls from going down that road- even if it’s just the bit about being puffy and overweight. That might have stopped me.

    • Sam

      I just finally bought so sensodyne! For some stupid reason, I had assumed it was for dentures for years, hahaha. But it definitely helps with some cold stuff.

      Anyway, I am so sorry you went through all that. It’s sounds like you’re doing much better, so congratulations on that. As for the plumbing…I remember having to use Drain-o on my sink because our toilet wasn’t working. Guh. So unpleasant and it reeked of chemicals for a week.

  • Larissa

    After seven years, I finally just started on my road to recovery. My family is half heartedly supportive. They a) figured I couldn’t be that sick because I’m a healthy looking weight, and b) kind of thought it wasn’t a big deal, that I was exaggerating. They have zero experience with eating disorders, so since I’m not rail thin and in a hospital bed,they figured it was just a gross habit that I should be able to kick in a day, and I’m fine. After tiring of trying to explain, I forwarded your article to my mom. I saw them tonight, and apparently we, well, you, gave them a reality check. They are now kindly inquiring into my recovery, and asking how they can help. So, thank you! For real.

    • Sam

      I am so glad for you that you’re recovering, congratulations! That is a huge step. I know familial support is so important but don’t put too much weight on it…my parents half-heartedly believed in was a problem for years, even when I was a child, and mostly assumed I was doing it for attention or something (which is still something I would probably be upset about if I were a parent…).

      I feel so honored that you sent your parents my article and that it helped. I seriously wish you the best. xo

  • Sarah

    Thank you so much for your bravery and honesty. I’ve been struggling with bulimia on and off for the past 7 years, and recently I’ve been doing it more frequently. Thanks to your article, I never want to throw up again. I want to lose weight, but I’m going to do it by treating my body better and not giving myself a reason to feel guilty. I hope more people read this, because it’s changed my mind about bulimia.

    • Sam

      I am so sorry for your struggle, I really, really am so glad it helped. I hope you start on the road to recovery soon. :) Best of luck <3

  • d

    Is it awkward/weird having a boyfriend who knows you’re bulimic? Like in terms of being intimate/making out…

    • Sam

      It can be, though it depends on the boyfriend. I definitely would put a ton of stock into literally aaaanything they said about food, my weight, my figure, etc. because it would set me off and I would either not eat in front of them without feeling like crying or I’d simply vomit everything I ate as soon as possible. So that made them feel guilty, which I still feel badly about because those were my actions, o’course.

      With kissing and what not, it wouldn’t be any different, though I did have one boyfriend threaten to not kiss me if I kept throwing up. I didn’t stop and neither did he, so I suppose that was that, haha.

  • Mandy

    First of all, I in no way want to trivialize your suffering & I thank you for sharing.

    Secondly, as someone who has suffered eating disorders for over a decade… you don’t “become” bulimic. It isn’t a choice. Just like one doesn’t “become” cancerous, you don’t “become” anorexic, or bulimic, or eating disordered. It happens TO you.

    • Sam

      Thank you :)

      And I hadn’t really thought of the title that way; it makes a lot of sense. Although, at the beginning, I made a conscious choice to try it–the same way alcoholism is a disease that isn’t somebody’s choice, but the first time they pick up a drink is, you know? After the first time, it was not so much a choice anymore as a dependency. I think everybody’s eating disorders are different, though, so it just depends on your experience. :) But thank you for sharing. xo

    • Lexy

      That is in no way true. If I were to throw up, there is no one but MYSELF to blame that on. Yes you may have some severe problems in which make it harder not to, but you do BECOME bulimic, anorexic, etc. By saying that it isn’t a choice, you are saying there is no hope. No hope to stop. No hope to never even begin throwing up or not eating. Your argument is hopeless; literally.

  • Angela

    I have been bulimic off and on for about a decade, my teeth are completely shot. I started out with naturally perfect teeth not meant to withstand stomach acid. My teeth now break off and have been for some time. I have had root canals, 4 molars removed, an expensive porcelain crown, my left front tooth is capped, the ones on either side are almost hollow in the back. I don’t have a single tooth that isn’t fucked up. I used to have a great smile, but now I laugh and have to immediately hide my teeth because the front one sticks out like a head light next to the grey, dead natural tooth. The one on the other side is cracked so only half remains. I pick crap out of the holes in my teeth after every meal before flossing/ brushing. I don’t even know the extent of the rest of the damage done to my body by bulimia. Have dark circles around my eyes from all the strain from puking my guts out. Do yourself a favor, don’t engage in this. You don’t even lose weight.

    • Sam

      Wow, I am so, so sorry that you are dealing with bulimia and such horrible effects. While my teeth are weak and extremely sensitive, haven’t had even half the extensive work you have and it sounds incredibly painful. And with the undereye circles, I know what you mean; I’ve been using concealer since I was very young because the veins around my eyes used to be prominent all the time.

      I really, really hope you recover in the near future and if you do want an unbiased person to talk to, please feel free to contact me.

  • Nina

    I needed this. It feels good to not be alone. I’ve battled anorexia and bulimia for 15 years now. I am 27 years old, I have lost ALL my molars. I have the bones of an 80 year old and joint damage. I can’t think clearly because of years of being malnourished. My skin has yellowed due to anemia. I’ve had to have my gallbladder removed because I starved myself and caused stones. The burping issue you have, I do too and didn’t realize what it was until I read this. I have tried to walk away from these diseases and I’ve done well but in some sick way, I miss it.

    • Sam

      I am so, so sorry. That sounds so painful. I’ve never had a kidney stone but I’ve always been very afraid of them.

      As for the clarity thing, I do know what you mean; I have what other people with Fibromyalgia call “Fibro Fog” a lot, so I just kind of lose my train of thought constantly and can’t remember inane details or, once in a while, almost anything. The best thing I’ve found for it is to constantly take notes in a little notebook when necessary; it makes me feel, at the very least, less stressed about forgetting things.

      I’m so glad to hear you’ve been doing better. Unfortunately, I also know what you mean about missing it. When I eat a lot at once, I feel so stupid and sick for missing vomiting, but I really, really do. But the fact that you’re staying away from it still shows you’re really strong, so good for you, seriously.

  • Ninargh

    Thank you for sharing this. I’ve struggled with my eating disorder in varying different forms for the past decade, setting most often on restricting/purging combo. Have terrible problems with y teeth, root-canals and fillings all over the shop and spent a ridiculous amount of money hiding the dark circles and broken blood vessels in my face from vomiting. I’m cold all the time and last time I collapsed and ended up in hospital I was told that if I kept throwing up and depleting my blood potassium content that my heart would stop.

    I’m backsliding right now, often it’s difficult to remember all the reasons living like this is terrible – but it helped remind me.

    I also have a long-term boyfriend who is aware of my issues and knows that I throw up after almost every meal – he’s supportive and understanding and loving and will kiss me even if I’ve just come back from “taking are of business” as we all it. We’re pretty weird.

    • Sara

      Your last few sentences put me at an impasse. I was originally thinking that you were in an enabling relationship, as your boyfriend knows what is going on and is doing nothing to try to deter you of something so damaging to you, both physically and mentally. In a way, he might even be encouraging your sickness by kissing you after you have vomited, and letting you nonchalantly refer to it as ‘taking care of business’ as though it were some pointless task. I thought, “That could be his way of dealing with the situation, but in the end it doesn’t help either of them.”
      However, this lead to me to thinking that if he was to parent you, deciding your actions were unacceptable, then this could truly have a negative impact on your relationship and lead to resentment as opposed to recovery. That being said, if you were to recover, would it make it easier to relapse knowing that your boyfriend accepts this behaviour? Or does it make it easier to get better knowing he is there for you whether you stick by it or not?
      In the end, I suppose no one situation is the same, and we all react to things differently. Please don’t take anything I’ve written negatively! I am not saying your boyfriend is acting any right or wrong way at all, I just kind if ran away with my thoughts. Best of luck!

  • Olivia

    Wow – I think this is a really unique angle on eating disorders, bulimia specifically. If the typical middle school “eating disorders are bad, m’kay” lecture won’t get them to listen, something like this might.

    Thank you for sharing something so personal so hopefully other young people that might stumble upon this won’t have to suffer through what you did/are.

  • Alexz Graves

    Sam- I remember once at summer theater camp when you told me about you throwing up. At the time I didn’t think anything of it (for myself that is), until after I had moved away to Utah and starving myself wasn’t enough. I always kept what you said in the back of my head, so I gave it a whirl. Almost ten years later and I too have recovered. And through everything (the worst of it, the better times, and all through out recovery) I always thought about you. How you were doing, and if you were happy. I’m glad to hear that you have recovered, and I’m glad you’re sharing your story. (In no way is this a “I blame you message”, but instead it’s an, “I know, I get it, and thank you for being there for me, if only just a little voice inside my head,” message.

  • steph19

    Im glad you shared this. . I just started forcing myself to puke my guts outand by reading this made me realize a whole lot. I tend to do it when im very angry or just upset it makes me feel a bit better when i puke. But then i realize what am i doing to myself .

  • Sara

    I am 23 and have been bulimic for 10 years. My family, friends and boyfriend believe I have been recovering for 2 years, when really I have just beoome much better at hiding my addiction. Even when they knew, they did not understand the severity of the situation, which is part of what lead me to concealing the truth. This in turn, has only created a web of lies in which I am the fly and my eating disorder is the spider. I don’t know how to stop. I don’t want to stop. When I read the part where you have written “It will control you. It will get worse”, my body grew heavy. This is so entirely true that it terrifies me. Could you please tell what turn of events in particular lead to the dedication and will power that it took to stop? Thank you for sharing your experiences, and congratulations on your recovery!

  • anonymous

    I’m not bulimic. I’m 16. for the past few months I’ve been trying to lose weight. nothing’s really happening and I’ve been really close to starting to force myself to puke. it’s an easy way out that’s been in the back of my mind for awhile. You and this post stopped me from harming myself and now I’m not going to think twice about starting something like this. Thank you so much.

  • Crystal

    I’m 19 years old. I been bulimic for about a year and a half. I already have the dark circles under my eyes, and my sister always asks why I have them. Nobody knows I’m always making myself throw up. I have stomach problems, the acid cause ulcers and the ulcers cause IBS. Making yourself throw up is not the way to make yourself lose weight. I promise it is not worth it. Nobody knows, but my bestfriend. Nd me and him are no longer friends, but not over me being bulimic. I feel like I can’t tell anybody. I pushed a lot of my friends away in the last couple years, and have changed 100% for the worst. Its tough.

  • Sofie

    You saved my life. Whenever I feel the urge again, I will come to this page, and just read. Bless you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ruth.blosselliott Ruth Bloss-Elliott

    Thanks for posting! I have a son that has been bulimia for a while now and it is constant battle of medical issues! He said that he is not any more, but cannot keep food down no matter what! Found out yesterday that he has gastritis and they send out biopsy to c if his stomach lining is infected! He looks so unhealthy and it scares me!! :( He has been in the hospital twice now because his potassium is really low! I am thinking of finding a support group so that I can help my son get back on track! He has been so depressed worse then he has been too! So reading of someone that has this issues and what they r going through does help me as a mother a lot! Thanks for coming out and talking!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mustang.lally Kate Lally

    As sorry as I am to hear you’re going through this, I did take some comfort in knowing I’m not alone. My teeth are wrecked, I have a hiatus hernia and I just pretty much feel tired/lousy every single day. I get dizzy, I have chest pains, palpitations. I’ve had indigestion for about 2 years, solid.
    If anybody is even considering vomiting to lose weight, even if you just think you’ll do it once or twice and then stop. Just please don’t even consider it. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self the same!

  • Thegirl9488@yahoo.com

    Wow I needed to read this. I would love to talk to you. Please email me with your email thegirl9488@yahoo.com

    I am a 24 year old female who is so used to hurting herself just to feel good and “normal” one addiction fom drugs to food.

  • Emma

    Thank you, I came so close to getting back on the eating disorder “horse” today and I really needed to read exsactly this story. Thank you wery much.

  • Sinead

    I know it’s horrible/bad/wrong/gross/damaging and stuff but do you get skinny?
    I’ve started barely eating and throwing up whatever I do eat recently but there’s no difference in my body or weight yet and i need to know if it actually does anything. I’m not promising anything but if I do need to get out then this article will help remind me what I dodging.

  • Mary jane.

    I have been bulimic since school days now im 20 and its became my life. as if i have two minds. a mind that dont wanna, and a mind that does. both thinking constantly.. i cant stop. at first it became the back up plan for if id ate too much, then became when ever i ate. now its years later and i dont think i have issues with my body or weight… i think its now a stress management thing, but because i throw up through stress i need to eat to throw up and now i dont even wanna throw up. do you have any genuine thoughts or suggestions on how i can manage it, if you have done so yourself.

  • DanceGirl

    Thanks for this. I just started becoming bulimic for 2 months now and I am really trying to convince myself to stop. This is just the motivation I need. I do worry about relapsing though…

  • caricloud

    Thank you…& not even sure what I’m saying thank you for other than you having had the courage and honesty to write this the way that you have…has got to me. Seriously from all the things I read I don’t often have anything I can say…but I say this now, not sure why, maybe just to join you perhaps, all of you, of us…
    …that I have been on & off with varying eating disorders for 20yrs or so…anorexia early on, then with laxatives…then after working through that to do with image, further extreme abuse from another took me to starvation by protest of being alive, with no thought that I was fat, no care at all to what I looked like, was skeletal and I knew it, hair forming on my back as a result, didn’t care, still don’t that it’s there…then got out of that time, semi-healed but ‘out-of the-frying-pan-into-the-fire’ as it were (as so stupid my judgement still was) landed me into something else and started vomiting with my toothbrush to cope, to find just a solitary moment, of control.
    Trying to keep it short here (and so I’m sorry, not done great on that but tried)…it’s not over, though better. I now live alone, fully aware of why I attracted such people I did and, with an inner pain something on the level of grief, I tell my one good friend left each time when I either have a thought or actually do something self-destructive…since with alcoholism now too, just to add to the list, I have also…who (this friend) is incredible in his encouraging words/support, who reminds me of the strength I’ve found so far to do so again, without judgement even if I fail a few attempts…lucky to have that one friend who didn’t walk away and who doesn’t share my vices, just cares and sees something in me other than my detrimental behaviour.
    I speak of my friend in hope that others can believe that these rare few people do exist in the world. And I speak of my own destructive behaviours for any whom it might help to hear that it is often complex, not in every way the usual disorder but all equally bad, no matter what/whom to blame, for our behaviours, usual or not they are the same, in terms of the result…wanting to say you are not alone…I felt so alone…but your article so bravely and personally written here Sam, brought me to serious tears…
    …still am, but not in a bad way…thank you…and with you, in that strange internet kind of a way that we all are…
    …thank you.

  • elephantgirl

    hey guys.. i read this during my anorexia/bulimia phase and unfortunately at the time, encouraged me to keep doing this because it would help ease the guilt and shame inside. Now after being almost over it I’m still suffering from the damage it has caused my throat. I’ve gone to my doctor and knowing my history she sent me home with reflux pills. I do have acid reflux but there is something a little more serious going on with my throat. It’s difficult to swallow and loud.. I usually swallow twice to get all of the saliva down. I was wondering if any of you have experienced this? Can it be fixed?

  • sg

    I’ve been puking my meals 3-4 times a week for the past two weeks. I just ate close to a whole bag of cookies, telling myself before I did it that I would not be allowed to puke it up. I told myself I wouldn’t puke and then about 20 minutes after having eaten almost the whole bag, I started to feel the guilt of binging and almost walked to the bathroom. I went to my computer and found this article and it stopped me from doing it. The shame I feel after puking makes me feel so depressed, I can’t thank you enough for sharing something so personal. I’m sure it was very difficult for you but it was so worth it. I’ve been reading articles about bulimia ever since I started throwing up and none of them have touched me like this one. Thank you, you just stopped me from pursuing a disgusting habit.

    By the way to anyone who’s reading this, I’ve only just started puking and it hasn’t been every day or every meal and I’ve already began feeling the effects. I’ve been feeling periodic stomach pains. Every time after I puke I feel immediate fatigue, my eyes start to hurt, I get a headache, and this sounds crazy but I can feel myself age. If you’re thinking of throwing up your meals DON’T. So not worth it.

    • Ashleyumber

      I just threw up for the second time in my life on purpose of course and now reading your post has made me think twice about this. Thank you

  • Guest

    I struggled with bulimia and anorexia a couple years ago before having my son.. Recently I told myself I would start a slim fast diet for only two weeks.. Two weeks turned into one week of slim fast shake- only 1 a day. That turned into eating nothing. I got so tired of craving the food I saw people eating that I began to nibble on a few things only to throw it up immediately after for the fear of it turning into fat and the guilt of “ruining everything”(the weight loss). It has been only a month and I started out at 159, and today weigh 139. I’m so terrified that I have lost control of this. I love my son, and I love living.. I just feel like I have no way of stopping this on my own anymore. My goal weight never stops dropping. Started at 120, then 110 now 100. I am 5’2 and I feel like I am obese at 139. According to charts I am overweight.

  • christen

    I’ve struggled with bulimia for about 8 years. At first I refused to recognize that it was a problem, and that it was just something I did sometimes. In the beginning I wasn’t vomiting every day, but as time went on and I had a friend that had been doing it regularly that had lost a lot of weight. Having always had self-esteem issues I wanted to lose weight too. I started throwing up regularly, from every other day, eventually to multiple times a day. In the end, I ended up gaining weight when I was healthy looking to begin with. Fot about a year now I’ve quit. I don’t want to throw up anymore, but I still find myself vomiting without even trying. I have acid reflux so bad that I feel a nawing burning in my stomach all the time, no matter what I do. Now that I’m pregnant, I realize how bad my eating disorder really was and although I no longer binge and purge, it continues to affect my life daily. I’ve been though it all…rape, divorced parents, abusive relationships, unhealthy family dynamics, you name it. But oh how I wish I could go back and change how in handled it all. In a sense my bulimia has ruined my life, and I hope anyone experiencing/considering bulimia that is reading this seeks help. Bulimia is NOT the answer. It is dishonoring yourself and is a self hating ritual. You are worth so much more, you are beautiful in ways you may not be able to see. Heal yourself, love yourself.

  • Caro Sharice Farrell

    I was looking up how fast I can loose weight by throwing up and I came across this.
    Im so sorry to hear what you have gone threw.
    My sister and I have always been skinny but I just started gaining weight and she didn’t.
    I’m 20 and shes 18 and when ever she has friends over she tells them to look how gross I am now .
    It hurts alot and I’ve tried diets and gyming. Nothing is helping me.
    This was my last choice but im so happy you changed my mind.
    THANK YOU!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for sharing this, I’m 20 years old and whilst I know I’m not severely overweight I am around so many of my friends who have the most perfect bodies which makes me self concious. Up until I was 18 I have been able to eat absolutely anything I wanted without putting on any weight but that’s changed a lot and I have recently turned to making myself vomit occasionally – I find it so so hard to turn down food because I have such a love for it but feel so guilty after so figured that only when I eat too much or bad food that I’d make it come back up but after reading this you’ve really motivated me to stop before it gets to the point where it’s too hard to stop. I pressume this was hard for you to openly share such a sensitive topic and something that has clearly made a huge impact on your life and I respect you a lot for that because it’s worth opening up if it means it will prevent people (like myself) from letting it get any worse

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve been dealing with bulimia since 1999, and I’m still struggling everyday with this disease. I hate how I’ve let this completely control me & have spend so much money & time on this. I’ve thrown up probably up to 25+ times a day before. I cheered in high school & college. It never seemed to amaze me how the girls would share ways to stay skinny. I got injured, and during my recovery I couldn’t workout for about 6 months. Of course I was freaked out, and turned to bulimia. At 31, I’m more than ready to stop my crazy behavior & move on. I definitely have a addictive personally, but I’m so sick of being sick & tired!! I would love to have kids, and feel like a happy healthy normal woman. Good luck with your recovery & we are strong enough to get through this! Love & happiness to everyone dealing with this.

  • ali martinez

    I just went to the food court for dinner and I was absolutely starving. So I kinda overate… and cause i didn’t want to waste the food either. I feel terrible about it now and have been fighting the urge to purge all night. My problem is not self-control. It’s that I never feel full- and that I weightlift. I am not an overeater and I do not like eating excessive portions, but I did this one night and really wish I could purge. But I know that if I say I’ll do it only once, then that will never be the case and I have to fight the urge with all resistance in me.

  • anonymous

    I’m currently struggling with bulimia. It’s been almost 2 years now. I did stop for a couple months because I realised how dumb it was, and some how I managed to stop cold turkey… for a bit. But this has yet again opened my eyes. Thank you for sharing. I have a lot of the stomach issues mentioned, and I can only hope they are not permanent.