There’s an old Cherokee tale about having a stomach inhabited by two wolves. One is evil, greed, envy, hatred. The other, good, charity, happiness and hope. The wolf that wins, of course, is the one that gets fed. Maybe that means I’m a bad person.
I am bulimic. There’s no way to sugar coat it, no fancy words to soften the blow. I eat heaps of food some days and then throw it up. It’s not pretty or glamorous and it hasn’t given me a frail, waifish frame like you see in movies or television. No, I’m still considered obese, so much so that the doctors were hesitant to give me a diagnosis.
I’ve been battling this disease for five years now, and some days it feels like there’s no end in sight. There’s no way to put into words what I feel, but there’s just this feeling of pure carnal frustration where I can’t seem to eat enough.There have been times that I’m so desperate to binge that I have bought food specifically to binge. I’ve walked two miles at times just to get someplace that sells food. The collateral damage varies all the way from just one sandwich to nearly a whole day’s worth of food.
Then there’s the issue of purging, which almost makes me feel guilty. I mean, there are people who are starving to death and I’m just wasting food because of some stupid disease. It makes me feel dirty, almost, but inside of my body. I don’t know if that even makes sense, but it’s the best way I could explain it to someone who doesn’t have bulimia.
In five years, my body has suffered quite a bit too. I have awful teeth; last time I went to the dentist I had a cavity in nearly every tooth. I’ve got ulcers, and sometimes after I eat I get sick to the point where I can’t get out of bed. I want people to realize that bulimia isn’t the glamorous girl bent over a toilet with a tragically beautiful look on her face. It’s nitty gritty carnal frustration, frizzy hair and broken nails because your body doesn’t absorb nutrients properly. It’s not pretty at all.
I’ve seen three different therapists and two different psychiatrists for treatment, as well as a few meetings with a nutritionist, and some days it’s easy to lose hope. I just keep reminding myself that for every day that I slip up, there're two days where I don’t. Sure, it’s hard to beat an eating disorder, but it’s possible. I might be struggling, but I’m working on it.