eating disorders are silly

When most people hear the word bulimia, they immediately think of vain, silly girls who are obsessed with fashion and body image, who cheat in order to get away with eating more than they should. Vomiting, cheating and superficiality are thought of as the key issues.

That view denies the reality of bulimia as a coping mechanism for underlying emotions, urges or problems in life that a person doesn't know how to deal with (eg, a bulimic episode may be an expression of rage about powerlessness) - and that many of the components are similar to those that play significant roles in other addictive behaviours. Eg, if you are depressed or anxious, the binge part of bulimia may be about trying to increase feelings of pleasure or relaxation, and the preexisting chemical depletion (eg, the person may have serotonin issues) leads the person to overdo it. The purging part ensures that the person ends up even more depleted than before, and a vicious cycle ensues.

If the bulimic knows the behaviour will further deplete her/him, why not just stop? We all have to eat, and if you have a problem with bulimia, your drug is something you have to deal with every day. When you feel you have no control, over your life or emotions, and when you have to constantly make decisions about what to eat and how much, it is like an alcoholic having to make decisions many times a day to stop at one drink - or at least it has felt like that to me. If you are bulimic, you can't just stop being silly, it takes a lot of thought and effort to figure out how to deal with your life and your personal triggers on a daily basis.

I think for me bulimia is another manifestation of obsessive-compulsive thinking patterns. To illustrate, my combined first three Blue Tongue Blog entries are linked in my obsessive-compulsive thought processes, and I have lived in a state of chaos, stress and panic feeling that I can't get out from under it all, don't even have a chance, until I get it all expressed somehow. There's enough material for a lot of separate entries, and yet as time has gone on, I haven't been able to portion it all off into regular blog entries. In the beginning, I tried to tackle a few issues separately, but eventually there was a feeling that I had lost control, and that I couldn't do the reasonable thing. All of this had to be expressed in one massive entry. There is tension, pressure and necessity to do this all now, not save anything for later. I don't have to write about each topic knowledgeably, or in detail, but it feels necessary to make the best start I can for now. And I will know when I've reached that point. It is like spring cleaning, but for me this process occurs more frequently. I don't eat a large amount of food and self-induce vomiting very frequently any more. It is like instead the process has transferred to writing, creating images and putting things on my various websites.

When I reach that point of purging, I have created a window of opportunity for myself. I am in a good place, my mental energy and concentration are freed up. And if at that time I begin to work on physical fitness and general health, or make plans or set a goal of some kind, I have a better chance of having a longer 'productive' period with a feeling of focus instead of chaos.

Again and again in my life, I keep trying to create these windows of opportunity. I can't cheat. I don't necessarily have to be 'perfect', but I have to do the best I can for now. I know when I have left something I should have addressed, because it will nag at me, and I won't feel clear or free enough to focus. In a lot of ways, my standards aren't very high, but it now takes me so long to do anything that I have to be more lenient with myself. I try to make a plan, I set small goals, I do what I can each day, and I try to be realistic about what I can and can't do.

I am always working toward building enough concentration to go through with killing myself. I go through the initial or preparatory steps again and again, and have to go back to the beginning. But I think there is something in the obsessive-compulsive thought process that says 'if I can go far enough, I will deserve a kind of peace or fulfillment' (death), as a reward.

At the time I am compiling this entry, I am living in a state of chaos and stress. I badly want to be free of this entire blog entry, this entire blog, and my life. But I can't force myself to work faster. I am trapped in a whirlwind of uncomfortable thoughts and emotions, and I can't speed the process up. All I can do is keep tackling what I can. I want to be free, so that I at least have the chance to get myself together, pass in the outside world long enough to get my bearings and move to the next step.

I know these patterns are going to continue for the rest of my life. As strange as it may seem, I honestly like the idea of being able to take this process far enough, and in the end have a kind of creative control over my life, when in life itself I have never felt that I had much, if any control. However, this process is painful and disheartening, and I would also accept at any time the possibility of an easy out or an unexpected and quick end. What I do not see myself doing is trying to find ways to change the underlying obsessive-compulsive urge and live out my days in peace. I can't see any personal 'meaning' or fulfillment in that. It is not something I want, and if I somehow found myself in that position, I think I would feel spiritually cheated or frustrated, I would not feel like myself - such that even an unexpected or easy death is more fulfilling or less depressing for me than that option (living a long, moderate life). But, I can see ways that my two options could potentially be combined.

I don't binge and vomit very often any more, but even when I do, my 'cheating' doesn't even help me to go outside and face the world. It never did. For me, it was a way of coping and relieving pressure, but I had no real control over it. I didn't ever feel attractive, and usually after episodes I would feel so revolting and ashamed that I was reluctant to leave the house until some time (several days without the behaviour) had passed.

My 'replacement' behaviour, writing and adding things to various websites, likewise does not improve my self-image. I feel trapped in a very uncomfortable existence.