Anorexia Bulimia Care
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What is wrong with me?

Hi,

This is my first post on here after finding this website upon trying to search for answers regarding my own struggle.

I am a 22 year old man and would now be considered 'thin' to most but to myself I am classed as over weight. I was bullied a lot through school for being fat and right up until my last year of education I decided to stop eating any form of food until I could feel myself about to pass out to which I would allow myself a bowl of cereal which I would then later proceed to 'purge' I guess.

This carried on between me being age 16/18 and I lost drastic weight which in my eyes was cool as I no longer got weight comments apart from how thin I was, a complete change from the comments on how fat I was.

This stopped when I was 18, I struggled to get a good diet back until I took up going to the gym and getting a personal trainer. I gained a good amount of weight and started building muscle which I enjoyed. I no longer thought about starving myself of even being sick after eating.

This carried on up until I was 21, not religious body building but a good amount to keep my body in a shape I was content with until last year I had some crazy things happen (Just a few to mention: My close friend hung herself and had her pictures leaked all over the internet, I was involved in the Manchester bomb attack and seen some things I cannot forget, My dog was poised by someone still unknown and passed, My Grandfather passed away and My life style & job was forced to change due to family matters). This has since thrown my whole mental state out the window. I went through a rough patch of just thinking about death 24/7 which I got told was normal for someone who had been around so much death. I have since begun to always have death in my mind. I think about everything with the 'I'm probably going to die soon anyway' mind set. This has been slowly getting better with time, Until I moved out from my parents place in January to my own place. I have come to learn I am my own enemy. The past couple of months I have become so recluse and I have realised how much people do not actually want to check in with me. With all this going on I decided I would stop myself eating again. If I do eat I cannot bear the guilt in my mind and have to make myself sick right after. Sometimes its fun and I think of it as the best life 'hack' ever, I feel control over my body and get to eat what I want without the consequence of gaining weight. Sometimes I make myself sick purely because I have had a bad day mentally and come across some a**holes in work, which is hard because there is not usually food in my stomach to throw up. It really depends.

I always seen my 'phase' as a teenager being just that, a phase. I never imagined it to reoccur or come back. I have little to no energy most of the time now and have many other problems which I think relate to me being stuck in this cycle.

This problem usually seems at hand sometimes I plan a meal and tell myself I don't need to be sick after, but once I have eaten its like a whole other part of my brain overrides everything else and HAS to purge. I have since lost a drastic amount of weight and am back to hating my body again. All my hard work has gone and I feel like I am in an endless pit!

I am in hope someone on this website has experience something similar? Is this Bulimia?

4 Replies
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Hi cjohnson1994

Can I start by saying how INCREDIBLY brave you’ve been by writing those words and telling your story. You’ve been through so much for someone who is still so young and it’s not surprising you are suffering from the aftermath of all those events.

From reading your words, it appears that it’s the classic control that the ED gives you that you crave because of all the uncertainty in the world, I’m guessing it feels like the ED behaviours are the only things you can rely on, don’t worry because you are not alone, when I felt like my life was falling apart my ED was the only way I knew how to cope with the stress. I don’t have any experience of bulimia but from your description of your behaviours & your need to be sick, and the overriding compulsion you feel to be sick after food, do suggest that you are suffering from bulimia, I would also suggest you are suffering slightly from anorexic compulsions as well.

The thing is as you know from before there is no quick fix & it’s going to take an awful lot of work & determination, but the good news is that if you think about all the horrendous things you have already been through and survived, then you can defeat the ED too. It’s easy to relapse and fall back in to long established and easy restrictive patterns as the brain craves them because it’s easy, what you need to do is challenge these behaviours and call them out, because by changing them and creating a new norm, your brain will slowly learn to let them go. It’s easier said than done, and the uncomfortable feelings it causesare utterly horrendous, they will make you wish you didn’t exist but they are WRONG! They are purely your ED talking and are not real thoughts!! Once you start to eat without the ED and start to gain weight you will feel like a fog has been lifted, as your body heals so will your mind. (at least that’s how I felt)

You deserve to be happy, to be healthy and to not fear life. I understand how it scares you as I have a serious medical condition that makes me scared of dying everyday, but I have to squash those feelings down, because life is messy and complicated + unpredictable, but it can also be beautiful, I don’t know you, but you are beautiful and even if you think you don’t matter, YOU DO.

I know you mentioned you feel like your family/friends don’t care, but is there someone you could confide in? Anyone who you would feel comfortable taking to? I would really, really advise going to see your Gp who can refer you to the depression & anxiety service and hopefully they will be able to offer some support. (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/free-therapy-or-counselling/) I think dealing with your PTSD will be the first step to helping you work on those feelings that trigger your ED behaviours.

Things you can do in the meantime, are after eating when you feel the desire to be sick is to close your eyes and just take huge big deep breaths and keep breathing, or if that’s too intense try doing something, anything, watching tv, dancing to music, keeping your hands busy, anything to stop you from focusing on that nasty voice telling you to harm yourself. You’ve stumbled off the path but you can get back on it and have a healthy life again, once you have gained some weight and have more energy, maybe you can go back to the Gym if that made you feel happy & confident before.

I found this website helpful when I was recovering and you might too, tabithafarrar.com I liked how black and white it was and also how it takes a biological and scientific approach to recovery.

I wish you every single success on your recovery journey and also in life, good luck x x

1 like
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Thank you for your words and time in replying to the post and helping me out.

I came on this site in hope I could gain some answers (which I already knew deep down) about what is going on in my brain and I have. To speak about the compulsion to throw up after eating, The guilt of eating a meal and overall using purging as a 'release' in bad times is easy to do online, but much harder for me to face in real life.

I faced up and told a friend this past weekend that I had fallen back in to the same cycle since living alone and that this time around the guilt of eating is worse than before and that I am struggling to keep food down. I was scared, ashamed and embarrassed but luckily they brushed it off and did not really pay much attention to what I said.

I know I need to go and see a GP or reach out to a professional for help but its like another part of me stops all together telling me thats not what I want.

Its a really hard cycle to get out of. I feel like a weight has been lifted from me after I purge and the world just seems an overall better place, If i purge after eating I feel a lot better because in my mind I have 'cheated' in gaining weight. With this if I purge after having a bad day, rude encounter, been made to feel worthless etc Its like the bad has suddenly gone.

I will take your advice and website link and hold it close to me for the next couple of weeks in hope it helps me out!

Thank you again for your time and help!

Reply

I’m so sorry your friend didn’t give you the time or the compassion that you need. People really don’t understand how ED’s are not a choice, they are a compulsion, almost equivalent to having OCD, nobody wants to starve themselves or set rules on what they can or can’t eat or even feel like they have to earn their food. I understand the overwhelming feeling of need you have to make yourself feel better when stressed, the way you use being sick, I used extreme exercise to relieve all the tension that life was throwing at me.

Don’t feel disheartened by the way your friend reacted or by the fact that you know you need help but just can’t push through the anxiety, like you said typing the words online is so much easier than saying them to someone’s face. If you can work up the courage to see a GP that would be amazing!! Some aren’t so good with ED’s but if that’s the case you keep trying a different Dr until you find someone who understands, I went through loads until I found someone who was wonderfully supportive and helpful.

No one had the right to shame you or make you feel bad for having a mental health condition that is beyond your control. If you can’t face an in person interaction, could you face calling the Beat Helpline? (tel:0808 801 0677) they have trained professionals who might be able to put you in contact with a service in your area or just listen without judgement to your concerns.

If your purging is making everything in the world seem ok and like a weight has been lifted then I think it’s the same as the way exercise made me feel.

To try to explain it, when I’d exercise I’d feel like I’d achieved something, like I was worthy and had achieved my goals. It was like because I felt I was failing in other parts of my life this was the one thing that I was good at. This meant I’d keep going even though I was miserable because the elation made me feel good. I had to Learn to tell myself that I don’t need to “achieve” to be a successful human being.

From your first message it seemed like you felt there’s not much going on in your life and your fear of the outside world is holding you back. You have every right to be scared as I can’t inagine the horror of what you’ve been through, you are a survivor but it doesn’t mean you just forget what you’ve seen, which some people who are around you may seem to forget, it’s easy for them to say it’s in the past, but it’s not because your mind can bring it back to the present at any time, so never feel bad about this.

Is there anything you like doing? Any hobbies or activities you could take part in that are just for you? Other things outside of the ED that make you feel like you’ve accomplished something? If there is then GO FOR IT! Put all that energy you put in to the ED & all the time that the ED snatches from you in to something positive. It’s easy for me to say & harder to do but it could be really helpful in helping you let go. If you loved training at the gym before then you could always go back to that, but please please don’t do this until you are healthy and at a healthy weight. Being in the gym could also help you meet new people & also help your anxiety about being in the outside world.

What I’m about to say will terrify your ED, but know that deep down, in your heart of hearts weight really doesn’t matter!!! Unless it’s causing medical issues, being larger but Happy is actually a much better existence. Smiling, laughing, not being obsessed and being able to just be, are all so much better than just being thin. No one wants to look back on their life and think oh well it was a rubbish existence but at least I was thin.

From your words it seems like you feel you don’t deserve to be happy or you don’t deserve kindness but you do. You’re a human being who needs to know that you have such value and imortance, if people don’t understand you or don’t pay an interest in you then find new people, there will be a whole group of new friends who are perfect for you and it’s never too late to try and find them. Recovery seems like an impossible mountain to climb but it is possible, it’s insanely hard and means feeling ridiculously uncomfortable but once you break down that barrier things will get better.

I hope whether it’s now or in the future that you will find your happiness again and a life free from an ED. Don’t give up on recovery and never give up on yourself. x

Reply

Don't think naming the illness matters - you clearly have issues around body image and food and purging can cause major long term health issues so please do visit your GP and ask to get some help. I know its hard to be honest and open - but you do have an illness that needs professional treatment - especially some counselling around the issues in your life and how they immediately translate into using food as an emotional "way out" - you could also try the ABC helpline - which is often very busy - but you can also drop them an email as I'm sure they will respond - but please please do seek some support and help.

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