I really wanted to keep this off the internet, but I’m sorry, I can’t!
This morning I received an email from a young girl (14) saying she was binging and purging every day and didn’t know why. She was reading some recovery blogs on the internet and one (very well known for me) was saying that she was just WEAK! This lady kept telling her to manage her bulimia by not keeping any “bad” foods in the house, to eat “good” food so she won’t want to purge. The solution to her problem was “that easy.”
Now she’s not only terrified about her inability to stop binging and purging. She also feels stupid, incompetent, lost and confused. Since she is financially dependent on her parents, she is afraid and ashamed to tell them about her eating disorder. If you can identify with her this post is for you.
Binging and purging are symptoms of the eating disorder, bulimia. Without treatment it will get worse. It’s an illness, not a character flaw. You need a mental health professional who understands and has specific experience with eating disorders.
To anyone who isn’t bulimic or doesn’t have knowledge about eating disorders or says just to stop doing it, binging and purging doesn’t make sense.
But when you suffer from bulimia you throw up for reasons. Maybe you don’t know or understand what those reasons are. And the only way you can explain them is by saying, “I can’t stop myself.” “I don’t want to stop.” “I promise myself that I will stop.” “This is the last time I will ever do this.”
To a mental health professional who understands eating disorders these responses do make sense. When you have bulimia usually you are not eating because you hungry. In fact, when you know you are hungry and eat for that reason it’s a developmental milestone on your recovery journey.
Sometimes you eat just so you can throw up. Some people feel soothed by the binge until it hurts too much so they throw up so they can binge again. But some people need to binge so they can throw up because it’s the throwing up that brings some relief from anxiety.
Also I can’t forbid, but only ask to be careful while reading recovery blogs. Bloggers usually aren’t professionals so they may harm more than help (including myself).
Finding and developing a solid, trusting, mutually appreciating relationship with your psychotherapist is crucial in moving toward recovery.
If you are young and living with your parents or financially dependent on them because you are in school or in an early career stage, you need to tell them what is going on with you. You need to let them help you help yourself.
Bulimia is an illness. You don’t recover through will power just as you don’t recover from pneumonia through will power. You need caring and appropriate healing work with a professional who knows about eating disorders and who respects you and what you are going through.
Have you had difficulty in asking for help? Please share.