Blame it on Bulimia

April 22, 2008 at 7:20 am Leave a comment

Once upon a time, my only goal was to get through the day without bingeing or throwing up. For a while, I managed, as long as nothing unexpected happened.

Then my goal changed to include the unexpected, as well as predictable stress situations like final exams. For a long time, it was enough to make it through the challenging situation, regardless of the outcome, just as long as I didn’t get into food games.

A few years passed, and I was no longer satisfied with “not throwing up” as a criterion for success. That was when the gradual change occurred, during which I learned to accept myself and to trust in my abilities. I also learned to trust in the universe, and to accept that things don’t always turn out for the best – even if I don’t binge. That’s just how life is.

Most of my dissatisfaction in life goes back to the bulimia. If I hadn’t been sick, I would have had so much more energy, could have been more creatively productive at a younger age, would have read and written more, could have a better vocabulary, would have a better-functioning mind, could have made something out of my life, would be in better shape now, might have a better marriage, would have been…, could have been…, might have been…, should have been…, etc. etc.

Well, that might be true. But, as is true for countless other women, that’s not how things turned out. I developed my artistic talent for scavenging, making the most out of what was left over, salvaging the scraps and pieces that were still usable, rebuilding my body and confidence, knowing that some of the destroyed parts and wasted time were lost forever. This truth is bitter and HURTS. And some days, it hurts more than others.

Fortunately, there are also other days, on which I count my blessings and perceive the unexpected gifts that the bulimia experience gave me. (I’ll write about that later.) So, all is not lost. And I have to admit, I do have a pretty good life now.

For a long time, the bulimia was a great excuse for anything that didn’t go right. Strangely enough, I didn’t really fail so miserably. In fact, I began to realize that I often didn’t do such a bad job at all. It’s just that somewhere along the line I got the idea that anything less than perfect is failure. On the Geometry Regents I got a 99 (forgetting to say that two lines were parallel cost me one point). Was I happy? No! For the longest time I was upset that I’d screwed it up. It could have been perfect! If one of my kids came home with that grade, I’d be thrilled!

Once I had to write an English paper in High School – on Eugene O’Neill. I loved his work. I remember thinking: Ah, this is wonderful! Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does!!! (I have always had kind of a strange sense of humor, but I like it now.) I kept procrastinating (sound familiar?), mostly because I was afraid I couldn’t do a good job, but then came the day before it was due. I stayed up all night, listening to the Beatles, bingeing, puking, and writing. What did I get? An A minus. I’d expected worse, but was actually almost happy, because I knew the teacher didn’t just give away good grades. I generally expected the worst, and there was that ever-present fear of failure, which often paralyzed me. I felt pretty lousy the next day in school. That was definitely to be blamed on the bulimia.

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Entry filed under: About Recovery, life. Tags: , , , , , , .

Why this isn’t just about Bulimia The Hermit

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