The Beast of Bulimia

Bulimia is the disease of shame. The stigma spans beyond disordered eating. It represents disgust and desperation. How could anyone throw up their food? It is appalling and aggressive to the average person. It is easier to confess starving myself than to acknowledge that I have thrown up food. Anorexia is more comprehendible and straight-forward; you starve yourself and you waste away. In my mind, an anorexic is self-disciplined and restrained, while a bulimic lacks all control. This powerlessness is followed by horrific measures to eradicate the calories. The purge produces a catharsis, a sense of relief which is highly addicting. Throwing up is uncomfortable and painful. This agony is less traumatizing than the feeling of a full, aching stomach. Sounds crazy, right?  But, once the deed was done, I felt empty and accomplished. It’s a sick cycle that carries a sick stigma. Let’s be honest, purging food is grotesque and I don’t expect other people to understand the justification but perhaps people can recognize the mental illness. Can you imagine feeling so desperate to be skinny that you are willing to torment yourself after every meal? Bulimia is a beast.

You don’t really hear the word “Bulimia” come out of my mouth. Personally, I loathe that word because its synonymous with puking. It’s too incredibly shameful and embarrassing to own that aspect of my past. This picture was taken in 2015 when I first tried to stay sober before going to treatment. I replaced my alcohol addiction for an eating disorder. The cessation of drinking prompted me to seek other infatuations. I craved any form of anticipation and sought anything that gave me a rush. Food provided that pleasure and equipped me with temporary joy. During a binge, anxiety escaped my turbulent mind. It was an escape, comparable to drinking.

In this picture, I had just eaten a shit-ton of food. I went to the bakery and bought enough desserts for 3 people. I lusted after the thrill of food shopping because it occupied my mind with the thought of eating. I love eating; it presented me with the comfort that I sought as a child living in a chaotic home. When I finished the last slice of cake, I felt disgusting. My stomach was painfully occupied and so was my mind. I could visualize the absorption of calories and fat cells generating on my tiny thighs. During the binge, I lost all control. I couldn’t let this food dominate my mind and my petite frame. I sought to regain control. Purging had reassured me of my power. I was not going to be a slave to food, it was my slave. I controlled what I put into my body while still maintaining control over my body appearance. I could shovel in the calories while preserving my physique. I felt victorious.

Behind the smile is a girl that has lost herself to bulimia. Her eating disorder distracts her mind from the turmoil yet controls her every move. Being thin outweighed the torture of purging. She brutalized her body, all for a few lousy pounds.

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