February 14, 2011

Of magical thinking ...

When I was in my teens, maybe 15 or 16, I don't remember, I knowingly taught myself to be bulimic.  Not because I was overweight (I was, but I was somewhat reverse dysmorphic, er ... a term I'm officially coining to say that I didn't have an accurate view of my body and did not loathe it).


I taught myself bulimia because every eating disordered character in every story I (obsessively) read wound up getting the attention they needed, talking to terrific counselors who listened and gave them comfort, having their parents pull together and stop acting like self-centred jerks.  As an added bonus, the characters' boyfriends stopped acting like sex-crazed maniacs and more like, well, in retrospect, girlfriends.

Perfect!  I thought with a brain that was obviously addled.  That's my plan.

So after dinner, when the spirit moved me, I disappeared.  Sometimes to my parents' en suite bathroom, with the transistor radio turned high.  But more often out the back of our garden, behind the hedge of evergreens, to toss up whatever I could of my dinner.

From early on, this activity left me with mixed feelings.  I was amused that the evidence was gone before morning, and totally weirded out that my dog was likely concealing it, if you know what I mean ...

I felt guilty, because, hello?  It was kind of gross.

But moreover, I liked it.  I didn't know why, but I did.  It wasn't like it did much for my weight, that continued to yo-yo like crazy.

Was it control?  I certainly didn't feel like I had that anywhere else in my life ... but bulimic behaviours soon became the norm, so any feeling that I controlled something was short lived.

There was something, though.  I felt ... relieved.  I felt momentarily unburdened of the angst, pressure and sadness that had always existed for me.  And I was pretty sure I could eat ... well ... anything.


  1. hi -

    i just came across your blog and read through a few of your previous posts. the bullemia one caught me off guard .. when i was in high school i thought about bullemia but mostly anoerxia .. im not a big girl but it was always a thought that i never acted on .. anyway .. it was interesting to read your post and how you think it was somewhat bc of controlling the situation and it made me wonder if thats what i was looking for?

    either way .. i just wanted to say hi and that i look forward to reading your blog .. feel free to stop by mine :)

    - kaitlin

  2. hey -

    thanks for coming over to check out my blog. Yes I did see you at karie's and it's really crazy bc i normally don't have the stomach to read her posts .. im sure you noticed my dad sustained a tbi in iraq in 06 and her story hits very close to home. i will be going over to check out your other post soon .. you and your family are in my *prayers* . thanks again and i really look forward to getting to know you :)

    - kaitlin

  3. I "discovered" bulimia when I was about 16. I thought I'd invented a cool way to be able to eat anything without worry. I, too, felt a sense of relief after I'd disappeared to the bathroom, and profound anxiety when I ate. It always amazed me that nobody questioned the huge amounts of food I put away.

    The bulimia disappeared in college partly from lack of privacy but also form making friends with girls who had normal concerns about their weight without being pathological about it. I felt normal. The Big B would return when I want home for holidays and breaks. And yes, that was not lost on me.

    Did anyone have an adolescence that wasn't full of hidden destruction?

    Anyway, thanks for sharing - it's a brave and honest post.