Nowadays eating disorders are highly represented in the media. Unfortunately, anorexia in the fashion world has attracted all the attention, forgetting others disorders such as bulimia and binge eating. Only 0,5% of the population is presume to be anorexic, for 5% bulimics. Both illnesses are destructive in different ways. Bulimia isolates you psychologically through shame. When food creates a refuge, becoming your only reason to live, when food turns out to be your frenemy, where does your freedom as a man remain? A 23 years old woman explains why bulimia strokes her and how it slowly begins to destruct her life.
I remember the last time I was happy : I had spent the night with my BFF, a bottle of champagne and some stupid music. We danced, chatted, and cried a lot because it was our last time together. I was moving to another town, and she was staying. We knew that our relationship will never be the same despite the “I’ll always be there for you” and other stupid promises.
I have always been a bit shy and asocial. It was hard for me to develop myself in a world where money and physical appearance were primordial : I was this poor little fat girl with acne and greasy hair. Just picture myself as Carrie, the movie. I was naturally bullied and the nicest compliment I once received was from this boy who compared me with a gorilla. My only refuge was sweets – I could ate two packets of biscuits, two chocolate bars and still be hungry. I wasn’t eating for fun, it was just to forget that I had no friends, no real family and no desires. My whole life was like empty and my lack of personality obvious. I was a “thing”, I was nothing.
My mother has always been a pushy mother, with high expectations for me. At the age of eight, I had to take extra activities every evening, my holidays were spent in summer schools or training camps. She wanted me to be the new Tiger Woods, Kasparov, Yourcenar, … I was just me, with my little brain and my lack of ambition. Like a robot, I obeyed and was actually happy to do so because it was solving my indecision problem. I also had no friends to spend time with. Then, my parent’s business crushed, we were ruined, that meant no more activities for me. We also discovered that I was really bad in maths – goodbye chess. In fact I was really bad everywhere.
This is important I think to understand my actual bulimia. During my teenage time, my grades were so bad that my mother gave up on me. She send me at the age of 15 to a foreign country, all alone during six months. I just cried and ate. Eat eat eat – it was all my life. I could eat everything, I didn’t even care. I perceive this reclusion as a punishment for me being a bad little girl. I had lost my mother’s confidence in me, and my own confidence at an age where you are still building yourself. My first step to bulimia was hyperphagia. When I came back, I was miraculously smart again, even if ugliness was still actual.
So gorilla I was, gorilla I remained till I entered the university. It was like a liberation for me. I had grown up, my parents were finally earning good money and my grades proved that I wasn’t as dumb as the sea star Patrick in Spongebob. This is where I learned to know my best friend. For once I wasn’t jealous of this girl who was obviously better than me at all levels. Smarter, skinnier, full of confidence – what a wonderful model for me! She was the first to see me as I actually am : a wonderful woman with a strong personality who will always fight to get what she wanted.
Yes, I am still young but I am more mature than people my age in all domains, except for love. I left Paris at the age of 20, without any social experiences. A beautiful woman with a great sense of style and a lack of confidence. All the ingredients to attract a narcissistic perverse. Two months with him led me to depression. My best friend wasn’t available for me anymore, my mother was laughing at me and not taking it too seriously. I was alone and suffering. No one to talk. I was a big failure but I was still able to eat.
It was helping me but as I was feeling more confident in a size 6 than in a size 10, I thought vomiting was a better solution than diet. Yes, women can be so dumb sometimes to fit into the perfection our world is constantly promoting! The main problem in bulimia is that we want to be perfect all the time, everywhere. I can’t stand a dress when it has fold-lines for example. A critic, even a light one, will trigger a “crisis” as I call them. Perfection goes with paranoia – was he criticizing me? – complex, lack of confidence, depression. The worst part is that you can’t see it because we are natural actors, we fake to be someone we are not. Every time. I can’t find the real me – maybe it’s destroyed? maybe it never developed itself?
My boyfriends always told me I was trouble, that they couldn’t bring me what I was expecting from a man. Of course, in bed I am excellent because my fear of being bad make me over-feel what the other wants. But I really suck in relationships. As a lot of bulimics, I am emotionally dependent and that tends to destroy quickly a relationship because I am asking too much, too quickly. It is like I expect men to save me from myself. I’m always in need of compliments and when something doesn’t go well, it’s definitely my fault. I am always the loser in the story.
In all other domains, I am successful – great friends, great job, great physic, money. Though I feel like a shit because I don’t know what to expect from life. So I eat, I vomit, I eat, I vomit. I have my own techniques of course. Last time I saw a doctor, she noticed that my palate was irritated but she didn’t say anything. I wanted to yell “Help me, please, help me! I can’t stand this situation anymore. I am gonna die before you even notice it” but I didn’t. Every time I’m meeting someone new, I want this person to understand my suffering, but he doesn’t. Because, for you all, I’m normal, and even smarter as other people. You can’t imagine that the other night I spent 30 euros on pizzas and candies, I ate them and then felt released, finally released. A strange fact is that I don’t feel guilty. My smile may be fake but my pain is real. Isn’t that a bit sadistic?
Every day, when I wake up, I’m planning my crisis. I know exactly if I’ll have one or not. Of course, sometimes, it can come without notice but it’s rare. So I pretend to feel good and return home as quickly as possible to be at peace again. It sounds a bit like a drug addict, right? Doctors compare bulimia with drug’s addiction. One day, I tried to fight a crisis so strong that I stayed all day long in my bed, sweating, screaming, crying for help. Like in Trainspotting. That’s pathetic. All my life must sound pathetic to you.
Of course, I saw a specialist. For nine months, I talked about my crisis. Every week, we had the same routine. If I had had a crisis, I was obliged to describe what had been the turning point, how I had felt before, during, after, and so on. It wasn’t helping a lot because I still can’t get why I was a bulimic but I thought maybe one ultimate session will bring me the answer. At our last one, I used the term “vomiting” that I was always avoiding because I hate it, and she realized that I wasn’t only an hyperphagic! – this day, I wondered what I have been talking about during nine months with her. Maybe about sausages? And this incompetent person still practices!
But I don’t give up. One day, I’ll beat this illness. I haven’t have any crisis since one week. That’s huge! And I don’t feel like I’m gonna have one in the close future. I don’t know what happened. Even if I’m still seeking for help, I don’t need to eat anymore. Maybe it is because I’m trying to be positive. I always see the negative parts in life. My favorite words are “cynicism”, “anger”, and “pitiful”. They should become “happiness, “future” and “love” to reflect my expectations for a new life. I really want my actual relationship to work. And that’s the main reason for my improvement. With our distorted mentality, it is hard to understand how and why we function. But I have to face the reality : if I give up the fight, I’ll be lost for good.