Posts Tagged 'Bulimia'

When Reality Hits….

A lamppost on Railroad Square.

For the last four years, at least, I have been corresponding with a beautiful, talented, hilarious young lady from England.  For me, this is a big deal, because I can’t even keep in contact with someone who lives the next street over, let alone someone who lives on a different continent.  But for some reason, I have managed to stay in contact with this girl, exchanging emails, Facebook messages, whatever, almost every day for over four years.  For privacy reasons, I’m going to give her the name “Belle”.

I meet Belle through my ex-boyfriend on AllPoetry.com.  No, my ex was a real person, but he was friends with her on this website, so I was too.  I loved Belle immediately, but then, I am always one to trust sooner than I ought.  Her poetry was always full of passion, which is how poetry should be.  She was a quirky, interesting individual with a bad home life (her mother is unstable, and her parents kept getting divorced and remarried, one moving back and forth from South Africa to England) who was afraid of geese and loved to run.

I can’t, for the life of me, figure out where the downhill run started.  Only about a year ago, everything was still wonderful and normal.  She had a friend die… maybe it was there that the problems began.  She met her fiance shortly after that incident, and everything seemed okay, still.  But then the next thing I know, she is complaining about how she can’t even finish a yogurt because it makes her feel fat, and the doctors are putting her on special diets, and her mum is force-feeding her.  Then she goes to University, and suddenly she pretends to be taking a lot of showers, just so the sound masks her purging.

A few weeks ago, she was eating better.  I thought maybe, after working for so many months, she had conquered bulimia.  She was running again, and was living in a new flat, and seemed to be generally enjoying life.

About a week ago, I get a simple three-sentence email.  It basically said that she hadn’t had time to write because she was in the hospital, but she would soon.  Cryptic much?  I waited and worried.

This morning, I got another email.  Belle thoroughly believed (and still believes) that her skin isn’t her own, and was trying to scratch it off.  But it hurt, so she took a painkiller.  And another.  And eventually eleven, and nearly killed herself.  And here I am, knowing that she’s in the hospital, or was, for delusion-driven attempted suicide… a thousand or so miles away with no way to get there… and I’m at a loss.

What do you say to something like that?  How do you make it better?  How can you save a life, and convince the owner it’s worth saving?

Writers live so often in their imaginations that they become absorbed in their fabricated worlds.  Then reality hits, like a brick to the head.  And I stand here, helpless.

(Un)Pleasingly Plump

06-15-2007:  Caitlyn and I at Project Grad, waiting in line.

“The devil has put a penalty on all things we enjoy in life. Either we suffer in health or we suffer in soul or we get fat.” ~ Albert Einstein.

I’m desperate.  It took me a month to take off five pounds.  It took me less than a week (gah!  Ice cream!) to put it back on.

I haven’t eaten a thing today.  And I just used LiveStrong.com to figure out the dinner I will be eating tonight.  I intend to have a hamburger on a bun with one slice of American Cheese, a squirt of mustard, and a handful of nachos.  Plain, nothing on them nachos.  This is one meal.  In order to lose a measly 2 pounds a week, I can have no more than 1039 calories excess a day.  I can eat as much as I want, as long as I exercise it back down to 1039 calories.  This single meal?  669 calories.  I haven’t exercised much today.  When I say exercise, I mean some form of physical activity.  Today, worth mentioning, I played (at least) two hours of  Rock Band 2 (singing) and I showered twice and I worked on my colored pencil drawing for about half an hour.  That burned off 356 calories.  Yuck.  One meal is half my daily allotted amount!  And unless I have time for strenuous exercise… I really don’t exercise anything off.  I hate being fat.

145 pounds? “Psh!” say some “That’s not fat at all!”  Only for me, it is.  All my life, I’ve never ever been above 130 pounds.  Suddenly I don’t fit in any of my jeans, and my prettiest skirts are too small, and when I try to fall asleep at night, I can feel my rolls of skin press against each other, and it grosses me out.  So yeah, it may not be fat to some people, but I feel gargantuan.  I don’t want to have to put out a lot of money on new pants ($40 each is intense.  It’s like… robbery.  Because we all know that they don’t cost that much to make.  The companies make something like a 1200% profit).

And at the same time, I’m incredibly lazy and I have a sweet tooth.  Meat?  Bread?  Psh-aw.  I could go without it.  But cookies, cookies, yum, yum yum!  I love my ice cream and cake and cookies.  And chocolate.  For a little while, I was genuinely concerned that I was a chocoholic because I’d get edgy if I didn’t have chocolate everyday.  Earning $20/week at Houghton pretty much remedied that.  As for the laziness, I just feel like I waste my time when I exercise.  It’s not fun, and I get bored.  I spend the entire time thinking of all the other things I could be doing.  It takes me an hour to do 200 calories on the treadmill, and at the same time, if I typed and did all my writing consistently for two hours, I would burn off the same amount of calories.  It inspires me to not want to exercise.

I feel like the Cookie Monster is a lie.  How can he om, nom, nom so much goodness and not gain weight?  It gives the wrong impression to children.  Huff puff.

I’ve tried being bulimic.  Throwing up food doesn’t work for me.  And bulimics tend to gain weight, because of the binge eating.  I don’t want to gain weight.  I have been, in the past, an accidental anorexic.  How can you be an accidental anorexic?  Actually, it’s pretty easy.  My senior year of high school, I stage managed a play.  I didn’t drive, so I just stayed at the school until play rehearsal at six.  I didn’t eat breakfast, and at the time I was absolutely in love with fried bagels, so I ate them every day.  They cost $1.75 with cream cheese and my allotted daily lunch money was $2.00, so that was all I could eat.  I didn’t have any extra money, so I never ate dinner. A bagel a day, five days a week, for nearly two months.  That’s not enough food to live on.  By the end of my senior year of high school, I was down from 130 pounds to 110 pounds and I loved it.  And the best part?  I didn’t even notice it.  It took until after the show when my best friend’s step-mother commented that I had lost a lot of weight that I even noticed.

It didn’t take me a long time to trace back the cause to my lack of time to eat during my only high school excursion into drama club.  I didn’t intentionally not eat more, but I just wasn’t hungry.  As I went into college, sometimes, I just forgot to eat.  We were in the middle of nowhere and couldn’t randomly go out and buy snacks, so snacks were rationed to last.  The caf was only open three times a day and as usual, I regularly slept through breakfast.  I clearly recall coming out from chapel and crossing back to my dorm room somewhere around exam time and having someone ask me “are you coming to lunch?”  I responded with my usual, “No, I have a bunch to do.” Their response was “When was the last time you ate?” And I thought about it and laughed and said “Probably not a couple days.  I’ll be at dinner, I promise.”

I never gained the Freshman Fifteen, and I was so, so excited.  By the end of my sophomore year, though (I tranferred colleges) I gained ten pounds.  I was at 120 pounds.  Okay.  I could handle that.  Then this year, I made the error of getting a meal plan.  I have gained 25 pounds since September.  I’m getting rid of the meal plan next year so that doesn’t happen again (and because I want the extra thousand dollars.  And because I’ll only be on campus three days).  School food, I’ve decided, is incredibly bad for me.  And the stuff that is healthy looks like a dog threw it up, so it’s not appetizing.  In the end?  Bad choices are made.

I don’t know what to do, though.  As a result of allowing myself to eat more, I have a bigger appetite.  My metabolism is shrinking by the day.  When I’m bored, I eat.  It’s a huge self-control thing not to eat.  I know I read somewhere once that most the time that people eat, they’re not hungry, they’re thirsty.  And I know that I don’t drink as much water as I should (I average probably four glasses a day).  So I try to drink when I’m “hungry” instead.  But it still took a month to lose 5 pounds that I put back on in the time of a few days.  I just don’t know what to do that’s healthy.

Well, no.  That’s not true.  I know I should exercise and eat more salad.  But that won’t make me happy, not to mention I don’t have a lot of time for exercise.  Is there any way to lose weight and be healthy and be happy?  And not stress myself out and not hate everything I eat and not starve myself and not spend money?  Since I live in a very small house with the other three members of my family and a landlord, do not presently buy my own groceries (no space or money).  I’m going to start calorie counting more passionately.

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Weather ReportWeather Report: It was supposed to thunderstorm all day, but it looks like we all lucked out!  My brother will be pleased- he has a huge even tonight that is also a huge grade for one of his classes.  Right now, the sun is still out and shining bright, and his event starts in half an hour.  Here’s hoping the rain stays away!

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Health ReportHealth Report: See this entire entry.  In other news, I almost just caved and asked Bryan to bring me ice cream.  But he said he thinks he was going to head home.  This is good.  First of all, it is good because I will add no ice cream calories.  Second, Bryan is standing up for himself and not letting me take advantage of his heart.  Go him!

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Financi-SmashFinanci-Smash: I have $11.  That’s it. … Okay.  I have like $100 in my savings, but we are pretending that isn’t there.  I spent nearly $75 dollars at Borders last week, and I bought (finally!) my Prismacolor colored pencil set that I’ve wanted for five years… which cost me $130.  But it would’ve cost $210 if I didn’t have a 40% off coupon.  That’s no excuse, though.  $11 is lousy.  No more money spending!  Except, I’ve decided, on school expenses.  These will be my parking permit (goal buy time, two weeks.  It’s $125) and books.

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Schoolhouse RockSchoolhouse Rock: I picked up one of my reading lists yesterday for my 400-level class next semester.  There are a lot of books on it.  At least 12 books.  I didn’t count.  The good news?  They’re all around twenty dollars.  The bad news?  There are twelve of them.  That’s $240.  I mean, I guess they’ll be cheaper used and all, but nonetheless, that’s frustrating.  I had a 40% off coupon, so I ordered the most expensive one so I could start reading, but the earliest ship time is 2 weeks, and it may be as late as 4 weeks.  As soon as I have over $200 again, I’ve going to order a cheaper one that isn’t on back order.  I am happy that one of the books I’ve already read, so I can skim it.

Bulimia

Study Abroad Sign at Houghton College.

“Becoming the new feminine ideal requires just the right combination of insecurity, exercise, bulimia and surgery.” ~ Gary Trudeau.

I’ve been looking through different posts about bulimia lately, and I’ve noticed that there only seems to be two types of posts about it.  Posts that say “hey, this is what bulimia is!” and posts that say, “I’m suffering with bulimia and this is what I have to say about it.”  There is, as far as I can find, nothing about helping it, curing it.

This is basically what I’ve learned that’s of any use.

  1. Bulimia is an addiction.  You can want to stop, but not be able to.  People call it a psychological disease, but the fact that it is an addiction means that you have a chemical reaction to it, too, which makes it biological as well.
  2. The main suggested treatment is therapy, talking about it, and getting to the root of it:  why are you purging?  This seems a little optimistic to me.  I mean, sometimes it could be subconscious, right?  Then talking about it would be useless.
  3. It doesn’t make you thin, so it’s unlike anorexia.  It has just as much to do with eating as not eating.

and that’s really all I’ve learned.  Not much at all.  Nothing of help.

I did get to read some interesting stories.  Almost exclusively, it seems, young women.  I’m a lot like the woman in this post; I’ve tried purging and I was more disgusted after than I was before.  So me?  I binge, and deal with it, gain the weight, and hate myself more.  I’ve learned that quitting is hard as heck… once you’re out, that doesn’t mean you’re out for life.  Like cigarettes, the habit can kick back up again, maybe once a year… or maybe once a day.  And bulimia is something that people are ashamed of, at least on some level, because it makes them lie to other people.  A lie of omission, if nothing else.  Bulimia is personal, a dirty little secret.  In a lot of the stories, bulimia is referred to as another person (writers call this personification).  There is one person who, even through her words, I sense a lot of strength.  She talks about redirecting her energies, and at least where I read it here, it works.  It’s hard, though.

This last story I read… it hits close to home for me in some ways, and close to home to a friend in others, and it makes me nervous.

It’s so hard.  I feel like there’s no answers out there, and I want to learn about it.  The most I can learn is the textbook definition, and other people’s stories.  And the stories are far more helpful than anything else.  But I feel lost, still.


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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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