When bulimia is in our lives
31st July, 2008
When bulimia is in our lives we are not just dealing with food and weight issues.
There are underlying concerns that drove us to focus on food and body initially. Many of us have feelings of low self-worth, and a strong need to control emotions and surroundings. We experience escalating cycles of binging and purging in our attempt to feel in control of our lives. Binges distance us with an external sense of safety. The purges help us to regain a sense of control over our body and behaviours. That sense of control comes at a high price however, as we will ultimately end up feeling guilty and disgusted with ourselves for binging and purging and we still haven’t solved the problem that led us to binge and purge in the first place.
The majority of those with bulimic behaviour are secretive about the cycle of binge, purge, shame, and guilt. They struggle with feelings of self hatred, blame, low self-worth, loneliness, and fear of failure. Those who struggle with bulimic patterns also engage in ‘all or nothing thinking’. There is no middle ground. A distorted body image, and an intense fear of weight gain are also common.
Common Characteristics (not all need to be present to have the disorder)
Recurring episodes of binge eating with out-of-control feelings during binges
Particular foods disappearing from the house
Regular self-induced purging (through the use of laxatives, diuretics, vomiting or severe food restriction) to prevent weight gain followed by depressed mood, guilt, fear, etc.
Numerous trips to the bathroom, especially after meals
Preoccupation with weight and shape
Dieting followed by eating binges
Secretiveness about binging and purging
Inability to identify/express emotions
Feelings of guilt, shame, disgust
Source for characteristics: Association for Awareness and Networking Around Disordered Eating (ANAD)
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