I’m bulimic. What a fucking thing to be able to say about yourself. Hello, my name is Amber. I used to have hobbies, but now I spend most of my alone time eating massive quantities of food and then sticking my (left, perpetually scarred) hand down my throat while bent over a toilet. If you try to grab a bite to eat with me, there’s a 99% chance that I’ll flake because I’m terrified by the idea of eating out. I have bad dreams that involve my teeth falling out, rotted and black, while I’m assessing a patient during clinical. (Is a bulimic nursing student as bad as a nursing student that smokes? Worse? I’m constantly wondering.) I’ve vomited at parties, figuring people are loud enough to cover up the sound. I’ve vomited at work, because the relief I feel at getting everything out is more important than any job.
At this stage, I’m laughing at myself. How hard I worked to craft an image of someone who was able to go from obese to healthy. Before, I used to be nearly 200lbs. I struggled to lose weight in healthy ways, constantly bouncing from obese to overweight and back again through restricting over the years. But now? Well, now I go to the gym! I run! I can squat an average sized man! I eat like a champ! So enviable.
Ha. Ha. When I arrived at a healthy weight the right way, I began to panic about what to do next. I put so much pressure on myself to get slimmer. And I was crushed by the enormity of my expectations, my inability to be content with myself or my accomplishments. What I needed more than losing weight was to figure out how to be happy, but I didn’t understand that then. I wish I did. I can’t stop thinking about how different things would’ve been for my present self.
I’m fighting an eating disorder. That’s what some people have told me. But honestly, I’m not fighting anything. I’ve already lost, and this illness is driving me further into the ground. Bulimia is so well-suited to the self-destructive, and I have never been able to resolve the part of my upbringing that taught me that I deserve to suffer. I get to play Russian Roulette every time I’m in the bathroom, satisfying the part of me yearning to die. Bring on a heart attack, let my esophagus rupture. At times, I’m sad for the girl I’ve become. The hopelessness is incredibly intense. The idea that anyone deserves to destroy their bodies in this way is absurd.
And yet, I don’t stop. I know the consequences. I feel so disgusted with myself at the end of every day, and wish for a different burden. Preferably one other people would understand.