This article is my attempt to bring understanding to this painful, desperate and all too common experience in the life of a bulimic woman. Please share your comments as we develop more understanding together. I also wrote this because articulating a burdensome secret can help the secret holder know she can be understood and accepted. She just might experience a new sense of validated hope.
Bulimia before recovery work
Trigger: Your roommate goes out of town for a week.
Action: Bulimic episode
Why? You don’t know. You don’t seem to have a choice.
Day One: You are on your own. You like the freedom. The apartment is all yours at last. You also feel the apartment is less familiar. You feel you are somewhat of an intruder and are getting away with something. You eat dinner in the living room in front of the TV. You don't clean up. You binge and throw up your roommate's ice cream.
Day Two: You continue to eat in the living room while watching TV. You leave your dishes on the coffee table and food wrappers on the floor. You drop your clothes and papers where they fall. You leave food and open food packages scattered on the kitchen counter.
Day Three: You don’t notice that you avert your eyes to the mess that is building. You do not see the turmoil you are creating.
Days Four to Six: You feel lonely, disgusted, helpless and despairing. You eat to comfort yourself, and you feel fat and ugly. You binge and throw up more often throughout the days and nights.
Day 6 p.m. or Day 7 a.m. The night before your roommate returns you clean up in a panic. Maybe you clean up the morning of the day she is returning. You scrub down the bathroom and wonder if you missed anything.
Day 7 continued: Your roommate returns. You attempt to act like a normal person. You feel like a fraud. You feel anxious that she will notice something odd, something you missed in your clean up frenzy. If she makes a comment, like, “Oh, I’m so glad I have some ice cream,” you feel sick and relieved. She doesn’t know you binged and purged her ice cream. She doesn’t know you replaced the container.