Eating Disorder Stories
Email to a friend:
My name is Jill and my situation is a lot like yours in many ways, however, these days I am trying hard to recover and have decided that I no longer want bulimia to be a part of my life, because life with it pretty much sucks. And life without it (from what I've experienced a short time) seems so much more peaceful and real. And a hell of a lot less confusing! Anyway, I have been bulimic since I was 12 and I am now 27.
But I wanted to respond to something you wrote: "My binges are often so unfulfilling that I have to wonder why in the world I am doing it. After all these many years of it, I still have no idea of the connection that exists between my emotions and my ed. I know there is one, or rather there are several, but it still seems like binging is just about wanting food. Not wanting it to avoid my anger or fill an emptiness inside me...just wanting it for the taste, for the physical experience of eating. I know it has to be much more involved than this!"
Well, something I read recently was about a study published on the biochemical imbalance of people with bulimia, and it said that bulimic people have a remarkably low level of serotonin their brain chemistry, and a hard time dealing with low levels of tryptophan. However, you can't take "serotonin" pills, so many people are put on antidepressants. These antidepressants stop a normal biological function. Normally a person eats and tryptophan creates serotonin in the brain, a person feels satiated and happy, and stops eating, and then other cells "eat up" all the serotonin from the bloodstream to go back to normal. However, in a bulimic person, a person eats, a low level of typtophan creates a low amount of serotonin, and the cells start "eating up" the serotonin before they can reach a level to allow the person to feel satiated and happy. Therefore, the person feels frustrated and a desire to keep eating.
The main thing antidepressants do is to block the reaction of the cells "eating up" the serotonin (serotonin reuptake inhibitors), so enough can accumulate so the person will eventually feel the happy way they are supposed to feel, given that their brain chemistry levels were correct. One thing you can do is to supply your body with more tryptophan, which will then make more serotonin. A food that is notably high in tryptophan is turkey.. and there are also tryptophan supplements you can take. Doctors say that depending how long you were bulimic, it may take1-5 years to rebalance your body, and allow it to biochemically correct itself.
After 2 years of not purging absolutely everything I could, I have noticed that my body now handles the food so much differently than it did a few years ago. In the past, I would eat something small, freak out emotionally, and then would get so bloated I thought I would die. I used to take a Gas-X simethicone pill every night before I went to bed, and remarkably, in the morning my stomach was not bloated anymore. And this is not bad for you, and so much better than laxatives. But now I do not need any Gas-X pills, and my body handles food fine. And I also do not have strong cravings for food like I used to. I normally eat 2 small meals a day, which I am sure is not enough calories as I should be getting, but at least I am not purging as much.
I want to let everyone know that even though this battle is hard, I believe it truly can be won. I was once diagnosed as "severely bulimic"- so bad that my psychologist could barely comprehend how many times I got sick per day, and all I accomplished was to abuse my body. And I never thought I could change any of this... but so many years later, I am finding out that it really can change. The main difference I now feel is that without bulimia, there are not so many catastrophic highs and lows, but instead more of a steady bliss, and a sense of reality, and great things like being able to smell the rain and be completely in the moment - with no tortuous thoughts of how you are going to get rid of, and then get, your next batch of food. Sorry this is so long, but I just hope that something here will work for one of you out there, and maybe give you some hope about the chaos of an ED life. I am now lingering between the two, changing sides every once in a while, and realize that once you start to get better, just try like hell to keep up the pattern, because it is so easy to slip back.
Good luck everyone
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