Bulimia or bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder. It can influence anybody of all ages, sexes, or upbringing. Individuals with bulimia are trapped in a cycle of eating large amounts of food (called binging) and, with nervosa, attempting to make up for that by vomiting, taking laxatives or diuretics, fasting, or working out too much. Early support offers the most obvious opportunity for a quick and supported recuperation from bulimia/bulimia nervosa.
The main difference between the two disorders is that those with bulimia will tend not to vomit and those with bulimia nervosa will.
It’s typical for individuals who aren’t experiencing an eating disorder to eat more or “treat themselves” now and again. This shouldn’t be mistaken for a binge. Amid a binge, individuals with bulimia don’t feel responsible for how much or how rapidly they’re eating. A few people state that they feel as though they’re detached from what they’re doing. The food eaten amid a binge may incorporate things the individual would typically steer clear of. Binging episodes are frequently very troubling in light of the fact that individuals with bulimia put a lot meaning on their weight and shape, and may consider themselves to be a lot bigger than they are.
The binge/vomit cycle related with bulimia can rule daily living and lead to challenges seeing someone and social circumstances. Bulimia can cause genuine physical inconveniences also – vomitting can cause issues with the teeth and throat, and individuals may go to such lengths that they vomit blood. Excessive binging can damage the heart and stomach related framework. Individuals with bulimia may likewise encounter side effects, for example, tiredness, feeling enlarged, stomach torment, sporadic periods, or intermittent swelling of the hands and feet.
In any case, as sufferers frequently keep up an “ordinary” weight and regularly conceal their ailment from others, it may be very hard to spot all things considered. Additionally, individuals with bulimia are regularly hesitant to look for help. Similarly as with other eating disorders, individuals around an person with bulimia will most likely notice changes to their inclination and sentiments before observing any physical change. They may likewise be distracted with food, and feel hesitant about eating around others. Low confidence, edginess and emotional difficulties, and sentiments of blame, disgrace, and uneasiness, particularly after a binge, are normal.
My experiences with bulimia nervosa
I’ve struggled with binging and vomiting for around 9 years. I guess it came from comfort eating. In other posts I’ve talked about how self-harm tends to become more extreme the longer you do it, so bulimia is the more extreme form of comfort eating.
It was something I’d link to relieving emotional distress. But after a while the amounts I was eating became more and more and the amount of times I’d vomit were more than once daily. One of the problems (among many) of vomiting a lot is that after you keep feeling hungry which causes you to eat more than you usually would. This doesn’t help the continuing cycle.
Other symptoms I got from vomiting a lot was red and swollen knuckles, heartburn, swollen throat, tiredness, smoking more, low energy, dizziness and bad sleep patterns. I was also spending too much money on food and I felt like I should just flush money down the toilet instead.
It also made eating socially, being on holiday with other people and sporting activities difficult. I was very body conscious and whilst it seems like you should be losing weight it never really happens with bulimia.
Tips for helping yourself
The ideas below are things that helped me. Some of them may sound extreme but they are necessary in the beginning.
- Don’t have any food at home which you will binge on. This may mean that you have almost no food in the cupboard but that’s ok.
- Buy microwavable meals, you can get some good quality ones if you shop around. But them for the week and put them in the freezer. Only take out the one you need for that evening.
- Fruit, there are some things which you can eat as much of you like without a problem. Eat fruit for breakfast, don’t get anything sweet that you could end up binging on.
- Sandwiches that are readymade or I would recommend storing the ingredients at a friends/family, making the sandwiches there and freezing them back at yours.
- Shop online. One of the issues with binging is that when you’re buying food it’s hard to resist the triggering foods because they’re right in front of you. Also within the cycle it’s likely that you’ll shop when you’re hungry and you resistance level is lower. If you shop online you can make sure to only shop when you’re in a stable mood. You only have to do this once a week.
- Try not to restrict. One of the things you may not have noticed is how much you restrict when it comes to eating normal food, become more aware of this.
- Structured eating. Chances are if you’ve been binging for a while, your eating structure will be all over the place. Try to set specific times for eating and don’t eat in between. Make sure you’re eating enough each time.
- Work out what your emotional issues are. Finding ways to limit binging opportunities isn’t enough, you also need to figure out what you are struggling with emotionally that’s causing you to binge. If you need to go to your GP, starting a journal is also really helpful.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. Giving up any engrained behaviour is difficult and you will have blips. Try to learn from these to see what you can do differently in the future, if you criticise yourself too much that’s just going to induce a cycle you’re trying to get out of.
- Let other people know. This is nothing to be ashamed of and you want to get as much support as possible so speak to the people closest to you. Even if they aren’t directly supporting you it’s nice to now someone is thinking of you during this tough time. It will also make social eating easier and people won’t gift lots of chocolate.
Tips for helping others
- Put yourself in their shoes. It’s easier to support someone if you can imagine yourself in their situation. Think about how you would help yourself if you were bulimic.
- Ask, don’t assume. If you don’t understand something, ask the person. Don’t assume you know the answer, if you assume things you’re risking saying all the wrong things.
- Living with the person. If you live with person you’re trying to help you will need to make some sacrifices. For example clearing the kitchen of food, if you want unhelpful food keep in your room.
- Reinforce illness vs person. Remind the person that this is an illness they are struggling with but it doesn’t define them as a person. Reinforce the positives about their personality and interests, it’s also a useful distraction tool.
- Patience. Recovering from bulimia is not going to be quick or easy. For the first week you may be really into helping out but after the novelty has worn off for you, you will need to be as supportive.
In case you’re stressed over yourself or somebody you know, regardless of whether just a few of the signs are obvious, you should look for help quickly. The initial step is more often than not to make an appointment with their GP.
I hope you’ve find this information useful, if you have any questions or comments let me know below.