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Bulimia can I speak?

(21 Posts)
babbas Fri 23-Nov-12 15:13:59

Good to hear you are smiling. Made me smile too. X

Smiffle Fri 23-Nov-12 13:30:18

Thank you babbas, and a load of big hugs to you too. On day four of my new life and feeling quietly positive and just SO grateful for the incredible kindness and support I am finding here.

Today has been lovely, gorgeous weather and went for a 7-mile walk along the coast and tried to concentrate on all the things I have to be grateful for.

That was a slight fail as I also thought about some crap that made me really cross, but for the main part, I'm smiling!

babbas Fri 23-Nov-12 11:47:41

Oh Smiffle big hugs. I don't suffer from this but just wanted to offer you a hug. I don't suffer from ed but I know all about putting on one face for the world and another inwardly. Speaking about it is the best thing you could have done. Perhaps making yourself really busy during trigger times might help? Ie going for walk in the evening or surrounding yourself with your children. I'm no expert but when I feel really Down I know that doing something passes the time till bedtime and then the day is over.

Hope today is good for you!!

Dancingqueen17 Thu 22-Nov-12 12:36:28

To think that the crap I went through can help anyone just a tiny but is really nice to know. Not wanting to put too much of a dampener on things, unfortunately yes I do still have real food issues. I have v anorexic thinking and maintain a v low weight. The urge to binge and vomit has now gone though. Calories and weight do however take up way too much of my time, so really I guess I'm just on another leg of the journey.

Smiffle Thu 22-Nov-12 12:31:33

Lovely Mildred!
You completely got it - I just want to see if I can do this quietly and alone apart from posting here and lots of bibliotherapy. My therapist sadly retired, she was about the 5th one I've seen in total and it took for ever to feel like I was getting anywhere but among the millions of amazing things she taught me, was that actually just researching and reading about your condition is an amazingly empowering tool. So having admitted bulimia, I feel almost as though I'm just starting to find out what the options are, despite having had it as a constant crutch since I was 14 if that makes sense.

I can't begin to tell you how heartened I am at your story of success. I am so sorry about your background - it makes me so afraid of the possible damage we can do, so causally, to our own children. Did you ever confront the issue with your parents - none of y business at all, just wondering as I am starting to have really difficult condos with my mother over all the chaos and drinking I remember. She is in less denial but still...

I have decided today that if I feel bored and want to eat the contents of the house, I am just going to go out. Straight into the arms of nature until I can breathe normally!

My therapist was the one who dealt with my bipolar; the gp sort of noted it, then I never saw her again and the subsequent ones just renewed my prescription without looking up... I weaned myself off the ADs earlier this year; I had put on over two stone in 18 months and I wanted my mind and body back under my control.

It's relatively mild BP - no voices or anything major, just lots of depression interspersed with episodes where I behave like a nutter and take everyone along, but since I stopped drinking it's so calm in my life. I am like a toddler - regular walks, lots of sleep, not too much squash...

again, my thanks

mildredm Thu 22-Nov-12 11:40:53

I meant to say, if you are already in the system re your bipolar, do you have a MH nurse contact you could go to direct? (I only have one friend with bipolar but I know she keeps really regular contact with MH so I know she would be able to get support if she was also having problems with food).
I don't want to say don't bother with GP if you would really benefit from prof help due to other factors.

mildredm Thu 22-Nov-12 11:36:19

Hi smiffle - you are doing brilliantly!! I really do think it can be that simple. You get to a point where you don't want to be like this any more. And you can break through the cycle, just how you are doing now. Small steps that slowly help you take back control of it all. Like freezing the cake - great idea - I do that too!!

I did it by myself. I didn't get into the medical system and I managed to kick it. That's not to say some people might really need professional help, but I just want to show you that people can beat it by themselves. If you already feel let down by your GP and fear that the system might not be that helpful anyway then you don't lose anything by trying by yourself.

For me, I don't think I'll ever have a totally normal relationship with my weight and food. I don't throw up any more and I eat normally and sensibly (most of the time!), but I weigh myself every day and I won't let myself put any weight on. My background is that my dad had an eating disorder throughout my childhood and emotionally abused my mother over her weight. So I guess I feel a weight obsession is just too hard-wired in me to change now. But, despite that I have got to a stage where my relationship with food is pretty much normal.

Oh yes, I meant to say about the boredom thing. Yes, I did a phd for years and found it difficult to eat normally when I was at home, too many opportunities to do whatever I wanted with no repercussions.... I guess it's about working out where your weaknesses are and finding ways to avoid getting into situations where you are likely to binge/vomit.

Smiffle Thu 22-Nov-12 09:12:27

Thank you dancing! Yes, there must be more than that.
30+ a day, wow, that must have been exhausting. Am so impressed and inspired by your story.

Do you still plan meals? Do you think about nutrition? Calories? Is there a time when you can just eat and then hear the voice saying 'ok, that's your lot' and then do something else? i.e. not panicking stuffing, throwing up, loathing blah blah.

Am so grateful to you!

Dancingqueen17 Wed 21-Nov-12 21:47:43

Way to go and wrapping, portioning and freezing food can be hugely helpful. You must believe in yourself, you did it today so can do it tomorrow. I relate to what u say about boredom, I think that's what kept me stuck for so long, I needed to learn there was more to life than my ed.

Smiffle Wed 21-Nov-12 20:55:30

Evening almost over, dd asked me to make a cake, I had a total breakthrough (as opposed to breakdown). I made the cake then had ONE SMALL PIECE. previously would have had none then scarfed hLf in secret and thrown it up.

So feeling a bit odd because its there inside me, but I am determined not to give in and finish it all and be sick. So going to wrap and freeze individual slices so by morning it won't be calling me.

Thanks for reading - shock horror, painter eats little bit of cake!!

Really proud of myself and do grateful

Smiffle Wed 21-Nov-12 14:52:15

What amazing ladies you all are, thank you so much! I too was a bit tearful reading over these responses then dancing queen, I actually laughed thinking oh for gods sake, all that angst and planning and sneaking and in fact that'll be why I'm not skinny.

Such blindingly simple advice, so generously given, I can't believe I feel so different to two days ago, you have given me so much hope.

I really want to try and take this advice abd go one step at a time. It will make me feel that I am in control of tackling my bulimia rather than throw myself at the mercy of a medical system that made me feel totally helpless; I don't want to be still throwing up but blaming the fact I haven't been referred, my appointment isn't for ages etcetera.

It seems to be sensible to have meal plans. We eat healthily as a family - cooked from scratch, lots of fresh veg and fruit etc- my problem is the amount I shove in once the voice has started that says you've done the damage now.

I have felt positive and calm today, my dc is off sick so there's no opportunity even if I felt like it. I am making a veg curry for tonight and as soon as we've eaten, I've told my dd l do revision with her until we watch a programme at 10pm.

It's like the booze in some ways, one day, sometimes one hour at a time. Except that I MUST eat for survival, the option of cold turkey isn't there, so I need to work out how to manage it.

I can't tell you all how grateful I am for all this advice, you really are remarkably generous. For the first time in bloody ages, I feel like maybe one day I'll get to where you have and I'll start to get my life back.

Did any of you feel that boredom was as strong as compulsion? I'm an illustrator and have a looming deadline that I'm dreading; I wondered if I was eating to avoid that and kicking off the cycle that way.

Thank you thank you xx

mildredm Wed 21-Nov-12 11:32:18

Hi smiffle - I have cried reading your post!!! I remember so clearly how I felt when I was in your shoes and hopefully feeling like you are not alone will help.

I remember so well the feeling that I could not live without it, I could not imagine how I could cope with daily life without my coping mechanism and that stopped me doing anything about it for so long. That and shame and embarrassment over admitting it to anyone. Also in some way it was my own secret that was only mine and no-one else knew and I guess that gave me some sort of power over my own life... I don't know...

Anyway, that is such brilliant news that you did so well yesterday. I would suggest you take one day at a time. if you have a good day, great, if you have a bad day, pick yourself up and start again fresh tomorrow. Don't dwell on the bad days, just try harder the next.

And the thing is, you probably don't really appreciate just how awful you feel a lot of the time. It was such a shock for me when I got my eating under control that I actually felt fine. I felt really good. I did not remember feeling good because my eating had been out of control for so long. You have so many positive reasons to get a handle on this....

Dancingqueen17 Wed 21-Nov-12 09:20:39

Just thought of something else that really helped me. Vomiting is actually fairly ineffective when it comes to loosing weight. Regardless how much you vom you are unlikely to ever rid yourself of more than 30 - 50% of calories you ate. So I guess I'm saying its just not worth it!

Devora Tue 20-Nov-12 22:59:40

Oh you poor love. Another one here who has been both anorexic and bulimic - wasted YEARS of my life either obsessing about food or vomiting it up. There IS life after bulimia, I promise you. I haven't been bulimic now for nearly 20 years, and I cannot imagine ever going back there. Life is so much better now, in so many ways.

But yes, you need to admit you need help. And you need to find other coping mechanisms. Outsiders always see anorexia and bulimia as irrational behaviours, but they are coping mechanisms and they help us function. You can't just give them up with nothing to put in their place.

I have to rush now, but keep posting and we'll be here for you. Your last post sounded so positive - keep up the good work smile

Smiffle Tue 20-Nov-12 22:52:57

Wow. Thank you all just so much for your thoughtful answers. So kind!

I think I'm avoiding the GP because 1. Once I admit it aloud it's a true problem and I have to commit to recovering. Its 99% killing ke and 1% useful coping mechanism. And 2. The hoops I had to go through to manage my treatment for bipolar were so farcical that I gave up and went private with my gran's inheritance she left me. I can't afford tp do it again, but my local surgery is famous for forgetting to refer, huge reluctance to commit to any formal diagnosis and treatment plan and generally just crap.

The ED website, on the other hand, was amazing. I have taken pages of notes and am speaking to someone in the morning so than you for that.

I haven't binges once today; I read such a blindingly obvious thing. "Have a sandwich, don't eat a salad and starve then binge on bread." it genuinely hadn't clicked with me that if I try to go without eating, then I'm likely to start shoving everything down my neck.

Then I read your wise words, Mildred. Don't get too hungry and don't get too stuffed.

I'm crying with relief writing this because not once today have I had that blackout trance, and my face has stayed out of the loo.

To have admitted this, after 32 years, is overwhelming. To feel like i might stop it one day is miraculous.

Thankyou, complete strangers, for your kindness.

amillionyears Tue 20-Nov-12 19:32:53

I would second what Dancingqueen17 said about finding a good GP and mainly sticking with that one.
Have never had bulimia, but plenty of people do.
Who is it you are afraid of telling, is it the GP. If it is him/her, they will have dealt with it many times before.

Dancingqueen17 Tue 20-Nov-12 17:45:06

Another one who's been there and sending big hugs. I know how hard it is to believe you can ever overcome it but it is possible, but by no ways easy and even harder to do alone. Find a good GP and then specify them every time you book. Mine has literally saved my life. At my worst that was all I did, binge and vom we're talking 30+ times daily. It nearly cost me my life and for a time certainly cost my sanity. For me the only answer was specialist ed unit where binging and vomiting just wasn't possible (or at least was mightly difficult !) It took a good 6 weeks of having that option taken away from me before I could even think about not doing it. It just became habit and it takes a long time for your body to get used to holding down food again.
How did I maintain it post discharge? I had to make it not an option. My family were on side and supported and distracted me and you need a decent meal plan because its hunger that often leads to the initial binge.
I know at the moment it seems so overwhelming, I just felt utter disgust for myself but trust me there is a way out.
Look after yourself, remember if today goes tits up there's always a new day tomorrow sometimes you have to write the day off and start again.

mildredm Tue 20-Nov-12 13:47:47

Hi smiffle,
I have been there... I spent about 10 years of my life vomiting daily... It becomes a habit as much as anything.... When there is food in your stomach it feels so wrong... It is such an emotional support...

I really feel for you. I did get past it, though to some extent it is always with me - when times are really hard it is the first thing I fall back on, but it is not out of control any more.

I actually managed to get control of it by myself, I ended up in a good reltionship and we were trying for a child and I knew I had to sort myself out and I just somehow managed to get control of it. I took it a day at a time and I tried to get control of my eating - making sure I had breakfast, only eating a little at a time so I would not get too hungry and binge and I would not feel like I had too much food in my stomach.

I would really recommend B-eat - I worked for them for a while and they are so amazingly helpful. They will not judge you, they will listen, they offer information and encouragement, they do not give advice or tell you what to do. They will have heard stories like yours a million times before.

BlameItOnTheCuervHoHoHo Tue 20-Nov-12 13:39:42

Hi. I am anorexic and the first real step is acknowledging that your relationship with food is unhealthy. Can you contact B-eat? They are wonderful and will help you sort out your thoughts. How long have you been doing this for?

You do also need to see a gp. If only to check damage etc. Get your teeth checked too.

You can cope with this. I promise.

Millie2013 Tue 20-Nov-12 13:28:01

So sorry to hear that you are going through this :cuddle:

What it comes down to, I'm afraid is that you can't continue to go through this alone, it's just too much for you to cope with. There is help out there, but you need to take a brave step and ask for it, by going to your GP and telling him/her what you have told us. There is nothing to be ashamed of, you are poorly and you are asking for help to get better. Don't worry about seeing a different GP, as it only takes one GP to listen to you and initiate the process of getting help

Depending on services available in your area, you may be referred onto an Eating Disorders service and again, this is nothing to be ashamed of, as they are the very best people to help and will have seen countless people in similar circumstances. You will then likely be offered an assessment to allow them to get a feel for your problems and the best way to start to tackle them. In our area, the service offers either one to one or group therapy programmes (or both) and you may also see a psychiatrist (or the nurses and therapists may take responsibility for your care)

In the meantime, google BEAT (formally the Eating Disorders Association) for some additional support and insight. They have a helpline and messageboard and are excellent in offering support.

You're not alone and you can get better and it will be worth it, I promise

Smiffle Tue 20-Nov-12 10:19:39

NC obviously. Have spent two days trying to compose a message, am shaking as I've never ever admitted to being bulimic but it's growing stronger again.

I've beaten the booze, diagnosed manic depressive and just finished two years of meds and therapy, confronted and dealing with family alcoholic relationships so you'd think I could just admit to one more thing!

But the bulimia is such a dark and shameful secret and I feel such a fraud when people say oh haven't you done well?

I haven't. I'm obsessed with healthy cooking for my family but as soon as we've eaten I stuff my face and disappear off for a 'bath' and throw up.

I am starting to do it in the daytime as well. I hate myself for being so weak and losing evenings with the dcs and DH, throwing up in tnd bathroom for hours when I should be helping with homework, being present.

I know I should talk to my gp but I don't have the same one twice in a row and I am paralysed with shame.

How the hell can I stop? Has anyone else faced this horror down?

Thank you for reading.

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