A Bulimia Story and the Symptoms of Bulimia | Alsana
 In Bulimia Nervosa

Trapped in the Cycle: How it Feels to Live with Bulimia

men and women hiking at sunsetShe sits on her couch surrounded by the wrappers and crumbs of her shame. She is chugging a glass of water in preparation of her big release. Tears are coming down her face, and yet she is so far away from herself that she can’t even feel them. Hopeless and deep in her pit of shame, seeking comfort and yet punishing herself for meeting this need.

It is a continual cycle that she cannot seem to escape from. She tells herself, “It will be different this time,” after each purge. She restricts with the hope to prevent a future binge, but the pains of hunger hit her like a bus.

She caves and binges – feeling shame and guilt; she purges to “correct” the mistake. Not again. She told herself last time was the last time. The eating disorder manipulated her again, and she feels trapped. Friends and family try to relate, try to help.

“Why don’t you just stop?”

“You know, I struggle with over-eating all the time, I know what it’s like.”

“Why do you do this to yourself?”

Shame and isolation overload. Trapped. Weak. Too much. This is what I deserve. She spirals.

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that is characterized by the cycle of binge eating followed by behaviors to compensate for the amount of food consumed. These compensatory behaviors may include

  • self-induced vomiting
  • over-exercising
  • diuretics
  • laxative use

When acting on the behaviors of binge eating and purging, there is often a feeling of loss of control regarding the amount of food consumed or the impulse to compensate. Bingeing is characterized by consuming an objectively large amount of food in a small amount of time. Individuals who struggle with this disorder often have difficulty “stopping” these behaviors, as it tends to meet an unmet need or have a deeper function.

Shame and isolation overload. Trapped. Weak. Too much. This is what I deserve. She spirals.

In a brief moment of clarity, she is able to reflect back on her life, and all she has learned in therapy. She sees her eating disorder as a pattern. Always swooping in to rescue her when things get difficult.

“What am I trying to be rescued from?” she asks herself. Memories of pictures on social media flood her mind– pictures of parties she was never invited to. Excluded. She remembers being alone and tearful on her couch, surrounded by crumbs and wrappers that softened the blow. She remembers all the times she was not included. Feeling like the only person in the world who does not have people who care about her.

She struggles with seeing herself as worthy of care and love. Every time these feelings bubble to the surface, her eating disorder is always there to comfort her. Meeting those needs of longing for connection and love. Free falling through the darkness, she spots a very faint light. She tries to get closer to it yet struggles with finding the strength to do so.

What she is trying to remember is that the light is the love of her family. She reminisces of moments in her life where her mother was there to support her. Unconditional love. Care. Not alone.

If you are that someone who is struggling to see the light, know that you are not alone. Perhaps you hold a great deal of shame around your eating behaviors or even think that your struggles are not valid because they don’t fit the typical mold. Please do not let that deter you from getting help. Your pain matters and deserves to be heard. There is help available. You can call Alsana Eating Recovery Communities at 888.822.8938 and speak with a master’s level clinician who can help you get the treatment you need to achieve recovery.

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