I used to be Bulimic. I guess in a way still I am. Like Diabetes they say it never goes away, you just learn to control the symptoms. I am a recovered Bulimic. It was pretty gross, Bulimia. I woke up this morning and read Blah Ya Ya. My heart cracked a little because I remember those days. When I transitioned from binging and purging with food, I moved to just binging and then hating myself for being overweight. One evening when my husband and I had an epic fight I took a "time out" and went to walk around Wal-Mart. It was my usual method of operation. Grab a candy bar (or three) and mindlessly wander around Wal-Mart, alone. This particular night I ended up in the book/magazine section. I passed a light blue book, "Women, Food, and God"... I picked it up and read the sleeve.
It spoke to me. It spoke to my emotional compulsion, my need for control, and my lifetime battle with food. "Pssh!" I thought, "Bullshit!" I put the book down and walked away. Over a period of two weeks I visited the book. I would pick it up, read the sleeve and think things like, "I could have totally written this book, she SOooooo stole my idea!" I would put it down and walk away. It was an interesting dance.
Till I picked it up and put it in the cart. Just one day, I knew it was time to get honest about this stuff inside me... so I started with, among other things, Geneen's book.
On my journey from Bulimia, to compulsive binging eating, to emotional eating I learned a few things. These things still fortify me and help me when I want to slip back to how things were.
Binges are purposeful acts
For me, binges were about taking back power in an extremely chaotic life. As a child I learned that I had no control over my world. I was supposed to be a recipient of whatever abuse was thrown at me. I learned to control what I ate. If I didn't get the love I need, the validation, the support, I could always throw an "emotional fit" and reward myself with cake. Cake=love. When I began re-framing my binges and allowing them to show me what I was reacting to, being triggered by, I found a whole new world. I realized binges were mile markers leading me to a place that needed my attention, a place that needed healing.
Adult Jasmine and can parent inner child Jasmine
My binges (and some subsequent purging) taught me that I was raised with an extreme deficit for the things a child needs to develop into a healthy emotional individual. Rather than sit around being pissed about what I didn't get, I learned to empower myself. I am an adult now. I can give myself the love and guidance I need to overcome past abuse and trauma... I don't need an external force (food) to do that. I can do it all by myself. It is a frightening experience, for sure, but once you figure out the process of tapping into inner resources (and learn that you aren't deserving of punishment that the binges can be used for) you can heal you.
Western culture SUCKS at knowing what eating disorders are about!!!!
I can't say this one enough! My GOD! Most people respond with the 'ole "have some more self control"... It isn't about self control, it isn't about a diet, it isn't even really about fitting into those jeans that you've prayed for your whole damn life. It is about something else, something inside that is reacting to pain. I had to learn that the society I live in doesn't understand- most just don't get it. AND I DON'T NEED THEM TO!!!! I once admitted that I was a Bulimic to a friend and their response was, "but you've been overweight your whole life..." Ah... yes, common misconception ladies and gentlemen. Bulimics, like a purged pizza, come in allll shapes and sizes.
You are a lovely creation, Alisha. You are an honest and worthwhile human being. I don't know why you are using food- it is obvious that it is a struggle. I have lived through this, I have survived through this to become a mother, a wife, a friend, a whole version of myself. You aren't broken beyond repair. It takes a strong person to binge the way emotional eaters do. It takes an even stronger person to withstand, and cope (with food), the things that would force someone into a destructive eating cycle. You are worthy of trust, respect, and love.
""The relentless attempts to be thin take you further and further away from what could actually end your suffering: getting back in touch with who you really are. Your true nature. Your essence." -Geneen Roth
I will be thinking about you, Alisha, as you walk down this path. I will be reaching out- all the way from Arkansas. I hope you remember you are not alone. There are those of us who have lived through and overcome this, and you'll soon join our ranks.