Bulimia Recovery: Admitting You Have Bulimia
Admitting I had a problem was my first step to bulimia recovery. With time, wisdom, and experience, I’ve come to terms with my diagnosis and accepted that bulimia did not define me. My acceptance of the diagnosis was a starting point, a breath of fresh air, much like walking out of a room in college when you decide this party’s over, I’m heading home. As uncomfortable as that experience was, being diagnosed, for me, felt like coming home.
Bulimia Recovery Requires Insight
In 2007, I had my gallbladder removed after developing gallstones due to endless episodes of starvation followed by large consumption of high fat foods and purging over a period of about 4 years prior. It was just one of several eating disorder health problems and complications that I came up against. This coincided, in my life, with the stress of going through law school and realizing, with each passing year, that I had no interest in becoming a lawyer. Eventually, this lead me to a gurney, doubled up in pain, feverish and holding my father’s hand while being told I needed emergency gallbladder surgery or else my pancreas could be damaged.
Cut to me, summer of 2008, sitting in my therapist’s office while she read through my file, quietly. I started my eating disorders therapy many months post-surgery because, at first, I thought I could white-knuckle my way into bulimia recovery. That didn’t work and I ended up way over my head. My doctor, who I kept in the dark, had blamed the gallbladder attacks on stress and family history, but deep down I knew I had been playing Russian roulette with my health for those last few years. Strangely, the doctor didn’t think to ask anything about my eating habits. Had he asked, to this day, I’m not sure what I would have answered. Today, with hindsight, I know though, had I continued on that path, I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog today.
Afraid to Admit I Had Bulimia
The operation made me come to terms with the fact that I, at the very least, had some serious food issues. I feared admitting to having anything more than that, because admitting it would mean admitting to the world that I was suffering from a mental illness. I was petrified of being called an attention seeker, a nut job, or any of the other insults that are usually used to label those with any type of mental illness…and worse, I was afraid of being called shallow and made fun of for letting my self-image matter enough to manifest my “issues” into serious physical damage.
(Surviving ED author, Jess Hudgens, shares her story of overcoming stigma and coming out about her eating disorder. If you feel it's time to quit hiding, join the Stand Up for Mental Health Campaign.)
Lemoine, P. (2013, May 13). Bulimia Recovery: Admitting You Have Bulimia, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 23 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivinged/2013/05/bulimia-recovery-admitting-you-have-bulimia
Author: Patricia Lemoine
Fear is entirely normal. You can't control what will happen once you embark on recovery. There might be a sense of loss accompanied with it at first because it's a big step to live without the behaviors that go with it, but it's minor compared to the relief and strength recovery will bring to your life. Everyone deserves to be free from ed. Good luck in your recovery.
I won't pretend to understand your motivations, but in posting this publicly, you did ask for some help, so good job!
Asking for help shouldn't be something you should be afraid to do, we all need help sometimes. You'll know who the right person is and maybe it's even a stranger who works at a support network in your area.
As for ED defining you, i'd say that admitting it is a part of your life has already made it a part of who you are. What you do from here will be what defines you. You may feel lost at first but have faith in yourself, your will to survive this seems to be strong, you have all our support in getting there.