This story is my attempt to bring understanding to this painful, desperate and all too common experience in the life of a bulimic woman. It could be triggering. I wrote this because articulating the extent of a bulimic episode in detail can help a woman know she can be understood and accepted. If she can feel known in her darkest hours she may experience a new sense of hope and reach for her recovery.
Day 8 continued You quietly let yourself in to your apartment. You run water in the bathroom to hide sound. You throw up the doughnuts. Exhausted, you collapse on the bed, fully clothed, on top of the covers and pass out.
Day 8 through 10 You are groggy, feel unreal, quick tempered, guilty, dirty, ugly and fat. You withdraw from other people or you interact with others while telling the lie with your body and mind that everything in your life is fine. You tell no one what happened during this episode and do your best to forget it yourself. You keep yourself consciously removed from your experience by binging and purging every day. You wait for someone to call you and make your life right. No one does.
Certainly not everyone with bulimia acts out their disease as I describe. But many do match this scenario and many scenarios are worse. At least in the descriptions I gave, the woman got home. I wrote the full bulimic episode description to make clear that bulimia covers a territory far more vast than eating behaviors.
From Being Lost to Being Found: The woman I depict in this article is lost and desperately needs to be found. She is raw and vulnerable. She has no access to inner strength and no ability to recognize healthy, kind people who might support and guide her. At some point we can hope that when she wakes to her familiar sense of guilt, shame, fatigue, loneliness she can determine not go any lower than this.
If she hits her bottom, she’ll look up for her way out. She'll kick off from that bottom, perhaps on hope and determination alone. But that's enough to get started on recovery. If this is you, please know that your recovery path does exist.
Once you are open to recovery, you will ask the questions and see some hints of answers that will lead you to your healing work and a much better life. Many people in my profession devote their lives to eating disorder recovery work. See Academy for Eating Disorders and International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals. Overeaters Anonymous provides help and support all over the world for people who are willing and able to move on their recovery path. We are here for you when you are ready to call.