Stories of Recovery
ENTRIES FROM A FORMER BULIMIC’S JOURNAL
By Markie LC Blumer, PhD
Past Date: December 13, 1993
Past Entry: It is incredible how certain memories and the emotions that are associated with them can be rekindled from the depths within us all. For instance, the other day, while walking past an open bathroom door, a very familiar sound came echoing out from one of the stalls and to my awaiting ears. The sound was of some unknown woman purging herself of her last meal. Perhaps because she was terribly ill, or perhaps for the same reason I frequently found myself in the same position. To most the sound would have been crude and disgusting, but to me it evoked the feelings of a once thought comfort and friend. You see, I suffered from an eating disorder known as “bulimia nervosa” and to the bulimic the purging of a meal is part of a goal to lose weight. To me it was much more than to just lose weight, it was to help rid myself of all my pressures and problems. My problem is over and has been for over a year, but I still think about it occasionally, especially when I am in a situation that evokes certain memories such as the one just recounted. Perhaps stating that “my problem is over” is not entirely accurate. Bulimia for me is an addiction, which is comparable to any other addiction. As someone who was addicted to binging and purging and has now stopped this cycle; I have been termed a “recovering bulimic.”
In reflection of my active period of bulimia, I can say that the way I disposed of my unspoken problems was by purging them out of me and into a cold, porcelain toilet bowl. I started consuming extremely large amounts of food at one sitting like a whole box of doughnuts, a gallon of ice cream, six bean burritos, followed by six or seven glasses of water to wash it all down. Then I would sit down, feeling relaxed and very sleepy, when a tinge of guilt would arise from inside, amongst all the recently devoured calories of food, causing me to feel compelled to rid myself of it all. So, I would go and kneel down by my solid white bathroom toilet, stick my fingers down into the depths of my throat and let it all come up and out. Looking back on this now, it is hard to believe I would feel better after these episodes, but I honestly did, at least for a little while. My disorder in this active state went on for about seven months, but to me it felt like an eternity. I was well aware that what I was doing to myself and to my body was not healthy for I had many signs telling me so—I just could not stop. Mentally, I became severely depressed and overcome with low self-esteem. Physically, I had little cuts covering my fingers, holes in my teeth, and sharp pains in my esophageal area.
Imagine all of this conjured up from a certain sound that I heard while walking past an open bathroom door. It was as if I had walked past a portal right into a previous experience or memory filled with the most dreaded of all my monsters called “bulimia.”
Present Date: December 13, 2008
Present Entry: At the time that I wrote the previous entry, I believed that I would never truly be recovered from my eating disorder. At the time, bulimia did not plague me everyday as it once had, but it was still a reoccurrence in the corners of my mind. Today, 15 years later, not only does bulimia no longer negatively affect my life, I know that I have completely recovered. Bulimia has not repeated itself over these years, and it will not do so in my future. Furthermore, over the years I have used my experience with bulimia, as a mental health provider and educator, to help other young women experiencing eating disorders recover. My hope is that sharing my battle and story of recovery with others will bring help and hope to their lives.