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Thanks to a community member's request, we now have a space for people to talk about Eating Disorders. Although Anorexia and Bulimia are the disorders that come first to most people's minds, we would like to recognize that individuals who are struggling with Binge Eating are also in need of support.

Despite the stereotype of a person with an Eating Disorder being a young adolescent girl, these disorders affect men and women (and girls and boys) of all ages.

We encourage you to share your stories of your experiences regardless of your background or your specific type of eating disorder.

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ok...Here goes.

Hi I'm Morgana and I've struggled with an ED since I was 17-18 (I'm now 25). I went from BED to Bulimia to ED-NOS, anorectic purging tendencies.

My weight has jo-jo'ed a lot over the years from the lowest weight: 132lbs to 233lbs :eek:

Now I've been dx'ed with CML (Leukemia) and lost a lot of weight. My current BMI is in normal range, but I'm not happy and want to be underweight.

I struggle with restriction, purging, laxative and diuretic-use (no abuse tho(yet), they are prescribed for the CML)

;)

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Guest ASchwartz

Morgana,

Why do you want to be underweight? What does being "normal weight" represent. Would you be willing to share about your family and friends? I have worked in the ED field for years, yet, am still trying to understand this problem.

Allan Schwartz

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...
Guest ASchwartz

Hi JanlikesTheBill,

Welcome to our community.

Yes, you weight too much for you to be able to be healthy. This is not the type of thing you can accomplish on your own. You need help. There are Eating Disorder programs to help people with all types of weight issues and then, there is your Medical Doctor.

You can attend Overeaters Annonymous(OA), and that is free. But, that alone is not enough. We know that they type of weight you are discussing needs medical intervention. There are medications for this and, as I mentioned, there are programs. You can search our site for more information about your problem and you should discuss it with you doctor. You can also do a web search.

Is it that you like the taste of food or do you "binge eat." Binge eating refers to stuffing huge amounts of carbohydrates into your mouth, very quickly and without regard to flavor.

Can you tell us more about your eating habits and your background?

What to others suggest to help JanlikesTheBill?

Allan

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  • 1 year later...

My husband is rather verbally abusive and during an argument one time he called me a "bloated pig". This was quite shocking even though I was a bit overweight because he's WAY more overweight than I am. But that was it!

I stopped eating and lost 30 lbs. Now I'm quite thin and feel really good about that. He's one of those compulsive eaters and hates that I can control myself. He always tries to get me to eat.

I do if I'm feeling good. But as soon as he's crappy to me I stop eating.

I don't say this to him, I'd never let him know it per se.... but I don't eat when we're not getting along. I may be a middle-aged woman, heading down the path to socio-cultural invisibility and irrelevance, but AT LEAST I AM NOT FAT.

Whatever other evil he heaps upon my head, at least I am not fat any more. I have one little thing I am superior to him in, perhaps. He's charming (I am not), he's well educated (I am not), he's got friends (I have none). But he's fat and I am not!

My philosophy about 'anorexia' is the same for any other vice or addiction. You have to be very careful with it and be as responsible as possible. I will not allow myself to become dangerously thin, for example.

I strive to seem normal in all things, and keep a lid on my private hell (which really is not as bad as some people have anyway). How I wish I had friends or family to help me, but I don't. Perhaps it's best anyway, but at least I am not fat!

My greatest consolation, lol He can't take it from me, like he can most everything else!

Edited by JaneE
bad grammar lol
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I have a long history of ED issues, starting at age 15. I wanted to lose weight. I did, and only got down to 98 Lbs. Then at 16 I was placed in a mental hospital, for nearly 2 yrs , and my weight shot up . After I got out, I went to a group home, and lost the weight rather quickly , by uising bulimia methods , than beccoming too thin, however the group home would hospitalize me every time I dropped weight.

I got out of there right beofre I was to turn 19 yrs old, and headed back home. The ED took a full turn for the worse . I dropped more weight , and then stopped losing, and maintained at 87 LBS , I am nearly 5'5 . I stayed 87 LBS for a whild and was both bulimic and anorexic at this time.

I managed to drop more weight though during a wedding, which I was forced not to eat anything , from my foster mother, who she did not want me purging. So by the time we got back I was 75 Lbs .I was to enter an in patient ED program.

when we returned. I had, and by then by My BMI was 3% . I was placed in a wheelchair .

After treatment I got out and was 93 lbs, felt horrible , and fat. Yeah right:rolleyes: I lost the weight again , back down to 87lbs. I was not ready to get better.

One thing I did learn though with ED's the person has to be the one to decide to get better !!! ontly then she or he will be able to.

What happened with me is that to make a long story short got into long distance cycling> gained up to 93 Lbs . And with that , became pregnant, even though still was bulimic, I had to gain weight , and did 65 LBS .

What happened is that It was easy to put on weight , for over 9 yrs of having a ED the pounds came on easiely despite being on top condition physically from the cycling .

I am an all or nothing thinker anyway> so my point is I am over weight now . BEen so for years. I do not eat nothing anymore as of the moment though, Cause I am not hungry. I get tired , and this is how I know I should eat something. SO my weight, ED has been from one extreme to the other . FOR most of my life. Either too thin or too heavy. Both very bad for my health.

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I was diagnosed with anorexia but am lucky and have managed to avoid hospitalisation with a lot of coercon and false promises on my part - people with ED's are generally known to be manipulative and good liars :D plus a few threats of intervention, luckily here in the UK it's much easier to avoid involuntary admission.

Tbh much of the time i dont really view myself as having a problem, just a label and a few unpleasant unhealthy habits because my current weight is quite high 91lbs and im 5ft2,(i hate disclosing it but everyone else seems to have) according to health statistics etc i am slightly underweight..but numbers are not neccaserily a good representation,my physical appearance proves that! it has rocketed to 107 in the past which im not proud of it was unfortunately a result of my family ex-husband and gps intervention, having to drink the most revolting food supplements you can imagine ..which i hated them for :mad:

my lowest weight was around i think 74lbs from what i remember although i cant be sure because at that stage i was hallucinating,walking round in a daze and all kinds of weird stuff was going on with me..hence people intervening.

i was addicted to excersise until i passed out at my local gym which unfortunately my cousin-in-law was a manager and i was banned from, i did excersise at home but eventually just didnt have the energy or strength. Now i use other methods, hooping trampolining,wii fit, we cheer and intermittent excersise throughout the day.

i had arrythmia which is a heart problem luckily it wasnt severe it's curable and when i gained and got stronger it eventually corrected its self, i have some shrinkage in my brain but nothing major though my memory and concentration span is very poor and i can become confused very easily, my colon and bowels do not function too great without the aid of laxatives and even they are not that effective unless in high doses my drs believe i am gradually cutting down on them ..i have been warned that i risk facing having to wear a colostomy bag if i dont miscontinue the abuse.

i have had blue urine which was actually quite frightening lol that was simply a side effect of too many dieratics.

i have lanugo..which is fine hair growth on my face legs back and stomach, luckily i am very fair and it doesnt show unless you look for it but it does mean wearing make-up is difficult.

i bruise easily get cold, my hair constantly drops out and is thinning, i am not very strong but had healthy pregnancys though i had difficult births my last child i had to have a cesearian with because my previous birth was extremely difficult and almost resulted in the death of my baby.

i very rarely vomit these days even when i try or am physically ill something to do with my osepheagous (cant spell it sorry) and my gag reflexes been too weak after all the abuse over the years..i may have forgot to mention i was around 9 when it started and am now 39 there is only one way i can vomit and thats by drinking bleach..not good! and something i do my best to avoid because it is disgusting tastes disgusting and makes me feel like shit for a good day or two! it has weird side effects like aching jaws ears and neck, thats not from purging thats the actual bleach that does that..also i dont like bloodshot eyes and my teeth arnt too strong as it is and i dont want to lose them.

i have tried my own version of fat removal (lipo) surgery..dont ask lol

it is in my head 24/7 my day is basically planned around it, it never goes away everything somehow becomes connected to food weight calories fat gms you name it, (going shopping with an anoretic and family meals can be sooo much fun!) i have pushed people away because ive needed to avoid social situations which almost always include food. i panic if my scales need new batteries jump up in the morning hopng and praying the number will be lower than the day before..the outcome of those numbers also sets my mood for the day.

i could go on and on really basically ive made a mess of my life and i often think to myself is it worth it? the answer is sometimes no but will i stop it? the answer is always no.

as mscat said you have to want to 'recover' and i dont.

However im not saying the things i do are healthy or right for anyone and im aware i should stop, i would advise anybody to stay clear the mnute they feel they might becoming obsessed or that somethings not quite right and get help if they possibly can.

I just happen to have a huge fear and dislike of fat and do my best to at least if not shed it then avoid gaining more of it and refuse to stop whatever the cost.

If that is an ED then yep i guess i do have one.

Edited by Donna
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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Donna,

Please do not apologize. In fact, what you wrote is very helpful.

Please allow me to say the following: As Shakespeare said, "A rose by any other name is still a rose." I am not trying to be mean...not at all. But, really, really, really, you do have Anorexia. I do not like labels either. But, I worked with wonderful young women just like yourself, and for many years, and I know how their denial hurt them. The hardest thing to face and admit is, "Yes, I have Anorexia."

I know what you mean about the hospitals and the use of force. Now, there are hospital programs that do not use force at all because it does not work and ends up causing more harm than anything else. The idea is finding the right place. I am not talking about you, but, anyone with Anorexia and associated disorders.

I agree with you that, for your height, you are underweight. I am familiar with how masterful people are who have Anorexia, in keeping to the absolute minimal weight allowable. They do not realize that the minimal weight is still too low and unhealthy but will keep them alive.

Don't you want to get over this thing? I mean, really, really get over it once and for all?????

I hope I have not offended you or hurt your feelings. Not my intention at all.

I will add one more vignette: My daughter had this illness for many years, including the over exercising.

Allan

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Hi,

Im sorry about your daughter they must have been very dificult times for her and your family, i wouldnt know what to do if it was somebody close to me.

i know the problems it causes mine sometimes, especially my mum who asks me if i want nothing when we visit while asking everyone else would they like dinner, it's hard for her to deal with i know that, but she like the majority of people only knows what she sees portrayed in the media, the really thin or dead girls and is convinced it will happen to me, but she's a bit happier now ive gained so much weight.

In answer to your question, no i really dont want to lose it, i am too scared of fat that sounds pretty weak and i dont really know how to explain just how strong that fear is, bones make me happy - fat does not, it scares me.

Im very unhappy with the weight i am now and am aiming to lose just a tiny bit more so to stop now and gain would be devastating and i couldnt cope with it.

I have been asked before do i want to do it for my childrens sake and i feel a lot of guilt about that, in fact thats one of the reasons i was having a bad day yesterday.

Im aware i should stop because of my children but i get out of control on the times i have tried and im actually more healthy now and able to spend more energy on them than at those times.

I know a lot of people say this and are in denial but they are the genuinely ill people, i know im not quite 'normal' in regards to dieting and the things i do but it really isnt as bad as people think, im ok,im not at risk because ive too much fat on my body to put it bluntly so im not about to drop dead.

Edited by Donna
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Hi Claire,

Im sorry i brought up bad memories for you, i didnt mean to upset you or anybody else.I should have been more careful with what i said, im really sorry!

It's good you got out of this and anyone else who has i know how ive seen it make people suffer.

In answer to your question i dont want to change, admittedly some of it's not very nice but on the whole i would hate it more to not live this way,id be lost, and i can not risk becoming even fatter,i simply cant allow that.

yes there are some unpleasant sides to it but nobody goes through life without some bad days and im not deluded i do know the harm it can cause some people but other than the things i mentioned in my OP im fine, people think of karen carpenter and people like her and believe everyone is the same but im not her, she was unfortunately an extreme case and unable to control it, i can.

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Good morning Donna,

I recall working with a woman nearly 25 years ago (my first experience with individuals having an ED) who was hospitalized for severe anorexia. Her children had been removed as social services did not see her as a fit parent. She was 5'3 @ 78lbs (3 lbs less than you) and was experiencing the symptoms you describe. Her teeth had become severely decayed from the stomach acid, her hair had thinned to 60% of what it was when she was at a healthier weight, her esophagus scarred by the repeated throwing up, her capacity to focus, comprehend and multi-task was significantly compromised... in the end, her ED had become her life and had also become her prison.

The interesting thing about this was that once she had achieved her normal weight, at discharge, she stated to me: "“You have to be ready to make the change... and I wasn't for years. I weighed the pros an cons of my ED and finally made the decision to change." My Uncle Enrique used to say: The shell of the coconut is hard only to those who are not hungry (no pun intended here). This meant that change is impossible only to those who are not ready, and clearly from you statements of" I'm fine... I don't want to change... bones make me happy... I'm OK, I'm not at risk b/c I have too much fat on my body... my current weight is quiet high (91lbs)... etc." and even the fact that you drink bleach to make yourself throw up, all strongly suggest that you've not arrived at the point to make such a change.

In working with her and others with an ED (all on inpatient status) over the years, I saw a remarkable trend, a cycle or pattern in the change process:

  1. Leave me alone, I don't have an eating disorder... I'm really OK, so back away (precontemplation stage)!" They were so immersed in their ED and obsessed on such thoughts as weight, body shape, food intake, exercise and other ED thoughts that their reality was distorted,
  2. I'm aware of my eating disorder, but I'm not ready to change just yet (contemplation stage). At this stage I saw more magical thinking about being OK, things will get better, maybe I can be happy w/o gaining weight, (this appears to be where you're at)
  3. OK, I'm thinking about making some small changes (preparation stage)! In this stage, the patient begins to prepare for the stress of what is about to come. They begin engaging in small victories, such as celebrating the delay of purging by 10-15 minutes.
  4. I'm now ready to step forward and stop this crazy behavior (action stage)!
  5. I'm now able to keep up, to maintain the changes I made (maintenance stage)!

Not one person has followed the pattern exactly, but they all seemed to cycle between stages, slowly working their way from 1 to 2, then back to 1 and back to 2 again, eventually from 2 to 3 and then back to 2 or 1. But the trajectory was there and every victory, no matter how small, was cause for celebration. Each patient was given the tools for remaining at the stage they progressed to and finally, the last stage resulted in everyone having the skill set for spotting and stopping urges, for managing their anxieties about weight, and other tools.

My point in all of this is to say that the stage you seem to be in does not allow you to receive our information completely or to clearly see your condition, but it is a stage that is ripe for movement towards stage 3. And there is ample support here to assist, although my recommendation would be that you do this under careful supervision of a qualified clinician (not everyone knows how to address an ED, so choose carefully).

Good Luck Donna and I hope this helps,

David

Edited by David O
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Having had to overcome the anorexia and bulimia , amd dropping at a very thin weight, and not even aware of how thing, I was at the time, looking back on it , i can only say that it really is a matter of want ing to get better truely for yourself , and fight this thing with all you can.

By the time the ed was over for me, my front teeth was rotted . i lost them, 4 of them , and many more of the tooth enamel on the back of my teeth are gone. at 41 yrs old, I still can't believe I was ever that thin, A walking skeleton. Just It was gross, nothing nice or attractive about it. THe ED clinic told me I was the sickest one they ever treated . Scraieset part was I did not feel sick and always still desired to contiune the ED. In which I did when I got out.

That is why DAvid O pointed out that you have to be ready to get better for yourself .... Before that , it is too easy to fall back into the same patterns of the ED.

The social worker whom I was seeing suggested to place me in a reidential treatment program after i lost all my weight again > IT nearly occured. however we did visit one, thankfully I did not go.

To this day I wear a partial for the front of my teeth , and worn out the back of my teeth , from yrs of the ED. Donna , I that yu can be ready to overcome the ed when you are ready for yourself . It is hard and very difficult at first, however worth it, especially for your health .

mscat

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Donna,

I think the work of moving from one stage to the other is monumental-- the pain of it all, the distress and anxiety, the feelings of powerlessness that sometimes come with this, can be so frightening that people feel immobilized-- almost incapable of moving from their comfort zone. Just watching the excruciating experience for so many convinces me that both having the disorder and trying to overcome it can be shear torture in every way possible. In being in the presence of someone who is in the throes of this, I sometimes feel like I'm in there with them-- it's impossible not to witness such pain and be untouched.

If it's OK with you, can I challenge you a bit? Since it seems you’re on stage II, some things to think about that might help move you to stage III (only if you're willing) would be to develop a list of the “pro’s” and “con’s” of the eating disorder. My recommendation would be that whether you want to move to stage III or not, do the exercise anyway, it can be very eye-opening and therapeutic for you. Divide the list into 4 quadrants. For example, in the pro’s section, write down the short ( 1 day) and long term affects (3-6 months down) of the eating disorder. In one quadrant, the short term and the other one, the long term. Now do the same thing for the disadvantages, both short term and long term.

Donna, once you’ve written these things down, ask yourself w/o stepping away from the answer, is my ED a friend or a foe? Look at your lists carefully as you decide.

Once you’ve done this with complete honesty and openness, consider posting what you wrote down, this will give us material to work with. After you’ve looked at the friendship aspects of it you’ll quickly see why you hold onto it. Now look at it from the enemy of you side, can you see what and how it slowly has led to where you are. It is in this distinction, that you can begin to find or create the motivation to step forward and think about what to do next.

Explore carefully, but don’t push yourself to the point that you have an abreaction and regress. If you find this too confrontive and that you’re not ready, then you’ll know where you are in the process. If you're able to move forward enough, then seeing someone professionally would be the next stage, and we can provide support and a cheering section for you.

Good luck and I hope this helps,

David

Edited by David O
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Hi Donna and others,

Sorry for your struggles, ED's of any type are hard. Seems to be such a pull in all directions all the time. I struggle and it really is all for nothing, I know it just hurts but at the same time it is a pull. I can't really stop in the situations that I'm in. I am not sure what to do with all the thoughts about this. I keep to a weight that I have to be, I think of less everyday. I am on a line that I try to say is ok to myself. I tell myself it is all ok and it is OK. BUT it is a LINE. that I just keep walking on. I think to ask for some help, but I am not underweight, I keep my weight at the low point of where a need to be but I want less, I feel the pull for less, I just lost a bit but I start to feel not well and get scard, I HATE THIS but I need it.:)

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Hi nightfalls, as far as i know you dont need to be underweight to seek help, in fact people would prefer for your good that you went for help before you are.

If it's making you scared and unwell i really would encourage you to go ask for it, now would be the best time to do that imo...i hope you can get better.

mscat thankyou, i was offered inpatient or day ward if i wanted it but like you i didnt go, i know all i would have done would be as you did get straight away and lose what i had gained, im glad you finally were ready and able to recover after all those years.

Claire, im glad you're not upset i was really worried about that, thankyou for letting me know you're ok.

i cant imagine eating that plate of ravioli it must have been very hard! you must have a lot of will power :)

David, i hope i havnt offended or insulted you after all your kindness and offer to help but i just cant do that excersise.

ive kept coming back and looking at it all day but i cant really get my head round it, i kept wondering if ive misread it though i dont think i have.

i understand logically what you are saying and even why but i dont know even how to try it, it just isnt there, it feels like it doesnt apply to me.

That probably sounds dumb (im not the brightest spark lol) the only way i can think to explain it is that it's like i have a spelling test in front of me, ive been told what it is but i dont know how to read, if that makes any sense?

In the end the only conclusion that i can come to is while yes i am a bit weird with some things i do, it just isnt me, i think perhaps the diagnosis was wrong, she (ED specialist) even said in the end that it would be dangerous to take ''it'' whatever ''it'' may be - im starting to wonder what she meant now lol - away from me.

Tbh when i went to see her i did it for my parents and b/f's sake and pressure from the gp (though looking back i could have said no) and i was shocked,i think she scared me a bit, id expected her to say stop wasting her time be sensible and join weightwatchers or something,in fact she laughed when i said that and maybe in her own way thats what she was saying..i dont know..but i feel really bad now,ive wasted everybodys time, im sorry and i really hope i havnt given anyone any bad ideas about dieting ;) i dont want anyone to harm themselves because of the silly things i do.

arrgh i am really embarrassed and im really sorry for wasting everyones time.

Thankyou to all of you who posted..and again im really sorry for wasting your time, i didnt mean to :o

Donna.

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Donna,

Thanks so much for your honesty. I know how hard this is and your response: “That probably sounds dumb (im not the brightest spark lol) the only way i can think to explain it is that it's like i have a spelling test in front of me, ive been told what it is but i dont know how to read, if that makes any sense?” makes me wonder if this is code for “I’m not ready for this.”

This is OK Donna, we all have moments in which there is only so much truth we can tolerate and manage. However, make no mistake, you wasted no one’s time. You’ve been remarkably open, sincere, and honest -- there was no waste of time for me (I’m betting others feel this way).

David

Edited by David O
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  • 3 months later...

I wanted to share my story .... this week is National Eating Disorder Awareness week, so I posted my experience with anorexia on a social networking site that I'm on, so I could share it with all of my friends. Hopefully the one person that needs to read it, will. So here goes:

Throughout middle school, I never really thought much about eating disorders, consciously anyway. I seemed to have an odd fascination with them and did any project I could on them. At the time, though, I didn't realize that I had already started developing anorexia. None of my eating habits changed because I wanted them to. It wasn't until my diagnosis (several years later) that I even realized that my habits had changed at all. I won't go into all the details - no need to trigger anyone who is also dealing with this. Anyway, by high school, I was basically only eating dinner and started excessive exercising. By 2008, I was eating as little as possible, usually just enough to keep myself from passing out... on top of exercising and purging. Though I've always been small & thin, I couldn't get enough of it. I was always "too fat," "ugly," or "not good enough." And honestly, after meeting others who were battling anorexia or bulimia, I felt in competition. I felt like I had a be better anorexic ... I had to be smarter, faster, thinner. What I didn't know at the time was "the only perfect anorexic is a dead one." This is so true. Anyway, my health declined extremely quickly. I was faint all the time, depressed, and never wanted to get out of bed. 2008 began with my diagnosis of anorexia nervosa. I was finally able to acknowledge that I had a problem but I wanted nothing to do with recovery. Recovery scared me because I didn't know how to live without starving myself. I had been doing this for the past 10 years and knew no other way. It was my constant comfort - it was the only thing I felt in control of, and the only thing that never changed. Whenever I had a bad day at work, Ed (the personalization of an eating disorder) was there. If I got in a fight with a friend, Ed was there. Of course, he was always mocking me ... staring back from the other side of the mirror, telling me how ugly and insignificant I was. But he never abandoned me. By the time that I dropped to 95 lbs (I'm 5'8"....), I was convinced to check myself into inpatient. Refeeding sucked the most. My stomach wasn't used to that much food, and it was honestly painful. After checking myself out, because I still wasn't ready to get better, I finally realized that something had to be done. At the time, I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to lose this constant in my life, but I was scared of dying ... after all, that's exactly what was happening. I did some research and got into an outpatient program. That was probably what saved my life, on top of the supportive people in my life. I remember the first day my stomach growled. I was in the middle of group therapy and it startled the mess out of me! Haha. After going so long eating so little, my stomach stopped acknowledging when it was hungry. A while after refeeding, it started up again. I thought it was my cue that I was "getting fat again," but with the help of outpatient and my support group, I learned that it just meant I was on my way to getting healthy again. Unfortunately, I now have chronic health issues thanks to the torture that I put my body through.

December 11, 2009 was my one year of being in recovery. Today, I still struggle. It's still a fight... but I can look at myself in the mirror & generally like what I see. Something that so many people don't understand is that eating disorders are NOT about food! It's about control. And ironically enough, I've never felt more in control of my life than once I started my recovery.

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