People often ask me to describe what a day in the life of an anorexic-bulimic sufferer is really like. How do people become eating disorder sufferers and what do sufferers themselves think about their disorder and why they developed it. When I explain to them about the plight of the anorexics-bulimics I explain it from a third person view (use “they” – they do this, they do that etc).
But I don’t think this way is powerful enough to show the real life of the anorexic-bulimic sufferer and what their day is really like. It is always good to show a real example from real life but because of the privacy reasons I can’t give any real life example from an actual sufferer. So using real life examples I made up this story based on a girl whose full name is Anorexia Bulimia. She lives in a big Western city and she is 27 years old. She comes from a family of two busy dedicated professionals. She lives separately from her parents but her parents help her financially.
And here is what Anorexia Bulimia is saying about herself and her life. (Note: the story is made up and does not apply to anyone personally. It is a composite of many millions of Western girls who suffer from eating disorders.)
Anorexia Bulimia said: “I have suffered from anorexia and bulimia now for more than 10 yrs. I am not doing much of anything right now. I was studying at university but had to put my university studies on hold. I was an arts student. If I do return to university, I will have one and a half more years of studies to complete my degree. I left school because of my ED. To say correctly I had to leave because of the unbearable symptoms I had and I could not cope with.
It is the same story where I use to work: I had to leave to go to hospital for inpatient treatment and have never gone back to work since then as I just can’t face it. I just have too much complications and organ failures to be able to hold a job down. In hospital I had a tube (stoma) put through the belly skin and muscles to feed me, so I could gain some weight. But I developed an infection around the tube and it was removed. Now I am here again at home with my normal crazy routine I follow day after day.
Right now, medically, I have many problems. I have major backaches, headaches, muscle aches/soreness, I cannot sleep, I have some chest pains/ heavy chest, I take heaps of laxatives because I cannot go otherwise. I cannot concentrate on much of anything and did I mention the dizziness. I see my doctor weekly and he does some blood/lab work on me and my potassium is always low. Sometimes my bicarb and creatinine levels are so high that he wants to throw me in hospital again but I will not go back as it does not help. Those are just some of the things that are keeping me from completing my studies and working or should I say keeping me from having any sort of productive life at all. I hate it but I can’t stop and it is driving me crazy.
I don’t have any hobbies I do like reading but I can’t seem to concentrate on it for long because my mind always wanders to food and its abuse. I can’t go out to social events any more as I am afraid that they will interfere with my schedule of starving and then binging and purging. I hate to interrupt the patterns and my routines.
I can honestly say that I cannot believe I have survived this long because sometimes I think I would rather be dead than continue on the way I am. Why do I feel like this, doctor?
I really would love to have a husband but what if he wanted a baby, how could I cope with being that fat? Do you think I could find a man who did not want sex or wants to be intimate? When I was young, a friend tried to touch me inappropriately and it hurt me, what if the man wanted to have sex and it hurt me again, how could I deal with that.
I don’t know how I came to be where I am today I just started to diet and before I knew it I was totally consumed by my ED. I never had problems with eating I always loved eating when I was young. I was always taller and bigger than most kids at school but they use to call me fat, even my family said I was big and that I take after my mom’s family who are bigger in size. I did not want to be called big I wanted to be just like the other kids, but I couldn’t be.
Now all my life revolves around binging and purging I even have a ritual where I go through the same things every day. I go to the same place in the house not the bathroom, I have a big bucket and I use that as I purge for a few hours. Sometimes I am so weak after I just collapse were I am and can not move.
Sometimes I just want to die and I honestly don’t know why I am still alive. The doctors have told me I should be dead but I am still here, please help me!
This is an article written from the many emails we get sent from anorexia-bulimia sufferers. It is all true and it breaks my heart every time we receive emails like this: we get many many of the same kind.
So how do you answer a cry for help like this? Well we do it every single day of the week and the great part is we are able to help these people. Seeking help is the most important part of anorexia-bulimia treatment.