Fenja- How exactly did you just stop purging and start recovery. I used bulimia as a coping mechanism from anorexia recovery and now that I'm weight restored, I just can't break the purge cycle. How did u stop purging and start living again?
It’s hard to give you a good answer to this since eating disorders are so different for everybody as well as the reasons behind our disorders but I can try to tell you about my individual experiences, maybe it helps a little.
I defenitely didn’t “just stop” purging, I have been in treatment for bulimia for the first time in 2012 - at that point I had full-blown extreme bulimia, I binged and purged up to a hundred times a day, I did nothing else all day for months. I can honestly tell you that I wouldn’t have been able to stop by myself, I was detemined to slowly kill myself and I didn’t want any help. I never would have stopped, bulimia was my drug, it made me high and careless. I ended up in hospital bc my heart beat was irregular and my brain swollen (Motivation to stop purging, you do not want this to happen!).
I spent weeks in an inpatient unit cheating my way through BUT they forced me to eat and watched me after every meal and after three months I gained back a lot of weight and my brain was finally starting to work again and this is the important point:
- EAT ENOUGH! I can not stress this enough, binge-purge cycle will only end if you eat enough bc even though many disorders start due to anxiety, stress, pressure, etc. - what really sends us into the binge-purge cycle is HUNGER. Your body is starved if you purge and starving makes you loose all control, your body overpowers you and you binge and then the guilt or the pure physical discomfort hits you and you purge. Therefore your body is still hungry and the cycle starts again. Therefore my most important advice: eat at least three meals and snacks spreadout throughout the day and eat 2,500+ calories every single day, no exceptions. I personally need to eat 3000 calories at least otherwise I get hungry and tend to eat and purge. It is hard and you will have to simply fight through every meal for some time but believe me, 90% of all binge and purge urges go away by proper and enough eating!
After some time I discharged myself and relapsed big time, went inpatient again, got even worse, discharged myself again and realized: This is MY FIGHT! They did all they could to help me, I was not underweight anymore, my body wasn’t starved anmyore, they thought me what and how much and when and how to eat - now it was on me, only I could save myself, it was and still is MY RESPONSIBILITY! This is where I started fighting for real, I still binged und purged but now it was due to emotional reasons, due to stress, bingeing numbed me, let me forget my anxiety and ease my tension. I had to find other ways to distract me from anxiety and urges, other ways to calm my racing thoughts, healthy coping mechanisms. Things that are generally helpful to avoid bingeing and also purging:
- call somebody and talk to distract yourself
- draw or paint, I spent hours filling in mandalas
- knit or puzzle or fill out cross words
- short!!! walks to clear your head
- watch tv series or movies or read an exciting book
- paint your fingernails, did wonders for me
- write down your thoughts and feelings and urges
- make lists why you shouldn’t b/p or what happens if you do
I don’t binge anymore, I’ve had one or two incidents in 2013, I haven’t binged for half a year. I learned to resist the urge with those techniques and therapy taught me why I emotionally felt the need to b/p and I’ve learned to talk about feelings and fears instead of numbing them.
Currently only purging is left of bulimia, my dianosis changed to anorexia purge-type in 2013 since I have no binges anymore. I am fully commited to recovery, I work hard to eat 2,500+ calories a day and not purge, I can share some strategies with you that help me to avoid purging:
- eating enough once again bc if I don’t I get very hungry, I eat fast when I do and then I feel stuffed and that triggers me, therefore I try to eat regularly and enough so that won’t happen
- I drink tea with my meals because it relaxes my stomach and it relaxes me as well, I feel less anxious after eating
- I use all the strategies above to distract myself from purging, you have to force yourself to really really give them a go, they might now work the first time but if you really try and also find your own distractions, they will!
- If I feel very full and bloated - cozy clothing, snuggle up in bed, hot water bottle and more tea, taking a bath, whatever helps me relax until the feeling passes (it always will!!!)
- If I am having a really hard time I avoid being alone after eating or I tell somebody to distract me. I tell my boyfriend and he watches me for an hour, if I need to use the bathroom he talks through the door with me, etc.
- I once again make list why recovery is worth it, why I must not purge, why I am a great person and don’t need this, etc. and I re-read them when I feel triggered!
Last but not least: IT IS IN YOUR HANDS!!!!!! YOU decide whether you stick your head down the toilet, YOU can stop yourself, YOU can ask for help, YOU have to save yourself. Once you realize that YOU CAN STOP YOURSELF, it doesn’t seem impossible anymore. You can do this.
I simply decided I didn’t want to die with my head down the toilet and vomit in my face and therefore I decided to stop and start trying recovery for real and so I did. It’s as easy and as true as that.
Wishing you the best ♥