i am writing this to add a personal commentary to otherwise factual write-ups. feel free to slam me for emotional bullshit or whatnot. if you think i write this looking for pity, sympathy, or attention there's an easy solution for you: don't give me pity, sympathy, or attention.

i don't know how it started, my weirdness about food and my discomfort at feeling full. i think perhaps it started one thanksgiving (age 12) when i ate so much i felt horrible. it hurt. and the logical (to me) option to make it stop was to throw up. so i did. from there it never really stopped.

i wasn't a fat teenager. i felt fat though. i wasn't a size 0 or even a 2 or a 10. i was a size 12-14. not thin, but not fat either. but high school is tough. no one ostracized me, i ostracized myself because i just naturally assumed that i knew what everyone thought of me. i stayed away from people voluntarily because i was sure that if they didn't insult me to my face they were insulting me behind their backs. i didn't want anyone to ever see me eating so i would go to the library during the lunch hour and read. i never really thought of myself as bulimic because i wasn't thin. i thought of myself as lazy and uncontrolled for not being able to control my weight in any other way (and i began to work myself into a downward spiral of catch-22 thinking... if i make myself puke so much and i'm still not thin what would i look like if i stopped).

during my senior year i began to dread the thought of going away to college and living in a dorm. so little privacy in public bathrooms. but i applied to several schools, got into them, chose The American University because i was granted a full-tuition scholarship, and moved into hughes hall on campus in 1994. because i couldn't find a way to purge myself of food, and because the cafeteria was so far away i stopped eating almost entirely.

shortly after moving on campus my mother found an old diary in my room and confronted me with my own words. i was found out. i started therapy with a psychiatrist, was formally diagnosed bulimic, and promptly dropped out. the reason? because she said to me that she thought my desire to purge was based on a desire to be pregnant. not understanding what the fuck she was implying i asked her to explain herself, to which she merely replied, "think about it". still sounds like hooey to me.

due to circumstances involving me suddenly not being allowed to use campus computers, i moved back home, which was a relief. although i was found out, i hadn't revealed all my cards. my technique was to run a bath and purge while the water was running. my sister once revealed to me that she thought i took so many baths because i masturbated a lot (heh).

i took about a two year hiatus from my food issues, though i still can't quite tell you how or why i was suddenly so much more comfortable with myself and my food intake. having gotten a desk job, though, i began to gain weight. this didn't bother me until 1998 when i began what i thought was a serious relationship. there were distinct differences in our personalities that should have triggered a red-flag. however being suddenly and inexplicably emotionally weak and desperate for approval i began to act irrationally in attempts to be more attractive and save the relationship. i stopped eating.

for several months i lived off nothing but ensure nutritional supplements. what little i ate i would purge with the help of syrup of ipecac (fortunately i have no heart damage from this). my seizures skyrocketed and required medication for the first time in years. passing out was an every day occurrence. i didn't shit solid materials for months. i lost control of my bowels and several times woke up in my own liquid shit. i ruptured my esophagus twice. i was always cold and wrapped in clothes. but the effectiveness of this "diet" was undeniable. i lost 80 lbs. men began to stare and even catcall at me. that only made things worse. i still didn't think i was thin.

i wound up in an unfortunate violent situation where my mother appeared at just the right time. beaten up and weak i just huddled on the floor and cried "i'm so tired, i'm so hungry". i explained everything to my mother (even my bathtub trick). i went to a doctor for my injuries and to check my general health and was found to be extremely deficient in iron and potassium. to my shock i was diagnosed with purging anorexia (anorexia, i thought, was supposed to be beautiful). i moved back in with my mother for several weeks under doctors orders. she helped with the refeeding process, which was horribly painful. i had never resented my mother so much. i was finally in control of what i consumed, and she just wanted me to get fat again (so i saw it). now i know better (though i still sometimes wish that i still had that control).

that was in july of 1999. i'm doing better. i eat now. i still purge too much, but i'm getting better. i still can't keep food in my house. i have an intense fear of eating it all. i am not so concerned about eating in front of people, rather i use it as an excuse to treat myself to foods i don't normally eat. i have "safe" foods (which i can eat comfortably, such as eggs and oranges) and "evil" foods (which i feel completely powerless not to binge on, such as pizza).

what is the basis of all this? why did i do it and why do i still continue to? i've thought about it a lot over the years... particularly once i got to the point where i realized that unfortunately the eating disordered label does, in fact, apply to me. here is what i surmise:

i worry entirely too much about the opinions of other people, particularly the opinions of people who DON'T like me. instead of appreciating the opinions of people i love and respect, i lament the unfavourable opinions of those who don't like me and wonder what i can do to alter their feelings. i've been fat, and i've been thin, and you are definitely treated better when you're thin. so many people judge the outside of a person, and my body is something i've had the ability to control. perhaps this is the result of insecurity about my personality. it's somewhat of a catch-all. you don't have to like me, but at least i'm attractive.

i don't know that i can recover completely. i don't think there's a point in my life where i'll be able to say definitively "i'll never make myself barf again". it's an attractive ace-in-the-hole. should i ever get fat again, i still know methods of becoming not-fat fairly quickly. i can't unlearn it. perhaps my only limitation in recovery is lack of faith in my own strength of will... all still related to self esteem and confidence. i'll have to work on that.

Eat the f***ing muffin!

You think shouting at her like that is gonna work? Boy are you stupid. She's not going to listen to you, and she's certainly not going to eat on demand. Geeez, you should know her better than that.

"You're going to waste away, you look so skinny!" - Wow, very original, like she hasn't heard that before! You know, she'll be thinking that you're only saying that to be "nice" and that you are lying in order to trick her and make her eat.

"Can't you see what you're doing to the people who care about you. You are making them feel wretched, upset, and helpless!" - Guilt trip, sorry but its neeevver gonna work. The only thing you have accomplished by saying that, is to make an already guilty feeling person feel even guiltier and even more worthless. Because now its official not only is she herself not worth the air she breathes, but she also brings sadness and pain to the people around her.

"You look awful. You look really ill." - Way to go, insult her, lower her self esteem even more, yeah! What a clever person you are. You have obviously thought about what you were saying before you opened your big fat insulting mouth.

"Eat the muffin, plleeeeaaassee. For me." - Now this one may get a reaction, but only if she thinks you're stupid, and lets face it, you have just proved yourself to not be the sharpest knife in the drawer just by making that request. So ok, she eats your muffin/sandwich/chocolate (whatever evil food you have presented infront of her), and just what do you think she is going to do as soon as she is out of sight?! Well there are a variety of things she may try;
(i) straight to the nearest bathroom, fingers down throat, and ooops, there its goes, straight down the toilet.
(ii) She'll make up for the eating of the "bad" food by simply not eating for another couple of days.
(iii) Any other device she has found that works best for her, but whatever it is, it will be self destructive and not nice.

What should be made clear is that anybody with an eating disorder is not going to be miraculously cured by forcing them to eat a bloody chocolate bar. Apart from the fact that many times it has nothing to do with food, it is also one of the most stupid assumptions made by people. I am not saying that the sufferer should just be left to slowly destroy theirself, only that having food practically forced down their throats, be it literally or through guilt and anger, just doesn't work.

So please please please, next time you think of making some comment to somebody who you believe to be in need or your "wisdom", think. Think about it, are your words going to help at all, or are they going to do what most well meant words of the same ilk have done, succeed in making the situation even worse?

(Please note: I used the words "her" or "she" not to say that only girls have eating disorders, but because it was just easier to stick to one sex. I am fully aware that these horrible illnesses can affect both sexes.)

You giggled and flaunted.

You were proud.

You were disgusting.

You were half the person you used to be-

half the person I remembered.

The places on your body where those memories were stored and kept- you had shed and disrobed them like so much clothing.

New clothes,

you can't fit into the old ones.

(half the person)

I wanted to reach out and touch where your body should have been

but it wasn't there anymore.

(half the person)

I used to stand in your shadow.

I cannot fit there anymore.


You lost half of who you were.


Give it back to me.

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