Once upon a time there was a small child… a child with wide eyes of innocence and security. A child that could laugh and play. A child that could cry and be comforted.
A child that could make silly faces in the mirror and be glad to see silly faces looking back. One day, this little child was crushed. Maybe it was because this small child was made to feel no good. She was told she could not cry.
She was hit a lot either with a hand or a stick. She has been Sexually abused. It might have been the parental conflicts and family dysfunction, it might have been dad’s alcoholism or mom’s push of food as comfort, or maybe the death or abandonment of one or both parents.
Maybe it was the ridicule by peers or the ingrained phrase “you’d be better only if…” Maybe not all of these things, maybe just one… or maybe something else. Either way this child felt bad. As this child grew so did the bad feelings. Sometimes it was easy to feel loved with a lot of ice-cream.
Sometimes it felt good to let built up anger or sadness go with vomiting. It felt good to binge and then take laxatives as a means of reaffirming the bad feelings, to self-punish. Sometimes the small child felt in control of life restricting food intake or jogging for 3 hours.
The only thing this small child knew was that losing weight would make life better, and that concentrating on the food made it forgettable. The child became overweight, binging to fill the void. “Food is my only friend, it will comfort me.”
The child could not seem to get enough, the void was never filled but temporarily. Plus, the excess weight made it easy to keep people away. To steer clear of vulnerability. “Life would be better if I could just lose weight.”
Cook books, this diet, that diet, baking. Endless hours in the kitchen preparing food. This child began purging after binges… the tension and self-hate seemed to lift, and the guilt from feeling like a glutton for so many things, for feeling selfish, for making a mistake, would fade. Laxatives and diet pills, diuretics and fasting. “My life will be good when I lose the weight.”
Striving for perfection, this child began to avoid food. The control was unbelievable! “I’m not feeling well” or “I already ate.”
No more silly faces, but a tired and broken body reflecting back in the mirror saying, “just a few more pounds and life will be better.” Headaches,
dizziness, fatigue and joint pain. Isolation and loneliness. Hyperactivity and insomnia.
Back and chest pains. Moodiness. Depression on top of depression. Sickness. “Life will surely get better soon…” And then… this overweight, this “normal” weight, this underweight child died. The doctors said, “heart attack,” “kidney failure,” “stroke.”
“We did all we could.” I cry for this child, in the end feeling alone and like no one cared. Feeling worthless and stupid, and like a burden to those in life. I cry for this wounded child whose life ends at 12, 15, 25, 38, 55, because of Compulsive Overeating, Anorexia or Bulimia.
I cry as I read the words, carved into this child’s headstone, on a small grave now far away:
I need more time to find the real me…
to fly like the birds…
to be set free. Why couldn’t I stop until I had died?
It was hate for myself hidden inside.
“This Child” can be anyone from someone with Compulsory Overeating to Anorexia or Bulimic. It can be your husband or wife, your sister or brother, your son or daughter, your lover or friend, a parent or grandparent, an aunt or uncle, a niece, a nephew, a cousin. They might be male or female, any age, and come from any race or religious background.
It is me, it is you or it is someone you love or know. To have an Eating Disorder is to have a disease of the self-esteem, and to have a broken coping mechanism. Eating Disorders are about being addicted to a behavior that makes it easy to temporarily forget problems and feelings of depression and self hate, stress and anxiety, guilt and pressure. Just like alcohol is a symptom of alcoholism, food is a symptom of Anorexia, Bulimia or Compulsive Overeating.
The real issues are hidden away in each sufferers heart and mind.
Author: Amy Medina
These are some of the warning signs of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. Severe medical complications may accompany these diseases. Some of the complications are deadly.
- It is estimated that 8 million Americans have an eating disorder – seven million women and one million men
- One in 200 American women suffers from anorexia
- Two to three in 100 American women suffers from bulimia
- Nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder (Note: One in five Americans suffers from mental illnesses.)
- An estimated 10 – 15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are males
- Anorexia is the 3rd most common chronic illness among adolescents
- 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25
- 50% of girls between the ages of 11 and 13 see themselves as overweight
- 80% of 13-year-olds have attempted to lose weight
Eating disorders are abnormal eating habits that can threaten your health or even your life.
- Nervosa: Individuals believe they’re fat even when they’re dangerously thin and restrict their eating to the point of starvation.
- Bulimia Nervosa: Individuals eat excessive amounts of food, then purge by making themselves vomit or using laxatives.
- Binge Eating: Individuals have out-of-control eating patterns, but don’t purge.
Individuals with eating disorders are obsessed with food, body image, and weight loss. They may have severely limited food choices, employ bizarre eating rituals , excessively drink fluids and chew gum, and avoid eating with others.
Depending on the severity and duration of their illness, they may display physical symptoms such as weight loss; amenorrhea ; loss of interest in sex; low blood pressure ; depressed body temperature; chronic , unexplained vomiting; and the growth of soft, fine hair on the body and face.
Clinically, anorexia nervosa is diagnosed as intentional weight loss of 15 percent or more of normal body weight.
The anorexic displays an inordinate fear of weight gain or becoming fat, even though he or she may be extremely thin. Food intake is strictly limited, often to the point of life-threatening starvation.
Sufferers may be unaware of or in denial of their weight loss, and may therefore resist treatment. According to some studies, people with anorexia are up to ten times more likely to die as a result of their illness compared to those without the disorder.
The most common complications that lead to death are cardiac arrest, and electrolyte and fluid imbalances. Suicide also can result.
Many people with anorexia also have coexisting psychiatric and physical illnesses, including depression, anxiety, obsessive behavior, substance abuse, cardiovascular and neurological complications, and impaired physical development.
Other symptoms may develop over time, including:
- thinning of the bones (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
- brittle hair and nails
- dry and yellowish skin
- growth of fine hair over body (e.g., lanugo)
- mild anemia, and muscle weakness and loss
- severe constipation
- low blood pressure, slowed breathing and pulse
- drop in internal body temperature, causing a person to feel cold all the time
Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by repeated episodes of binging followed by compensatory behaviors to prevent weight gain. Compensatory behaviors include vomiting, diuretic and laxative abuse, fasting, or excessive exercise.
Like the anorexic, the typical bulimic has an unusual concern about body weight and weight loss. Unlike the anorexic, he or she is acutely aware of this condition and has a greater sense of guilt and loss of self control.
Bulimia typically develops during the late teens and early twenties. In contrast to the typically emaciated anorexic, most bulimics are of normal body weight, although weight may fluctuate frequently. Like anorexia, people with bulimia can fall within the normal range for their age and weight.
But like people with anorexia, they often fear gaining weight, want desperately to lose weight, and are intensely unhappy with their body size and shape. Usually, bulimic behavior is done secretly, because it is often accompanied by feelings of disgust or shame. The binging and purging cycle usually repeats several times a week.
Similar to anorexia, people with bulimia often have coexisting psychological illnesses, such as depression, anxiety and/or substance abuse problems. Many physical conditions result from the purging aspect of the illness, including electrolyte imbalances, gastrointestinal problems, and oral and tooth-related problems.
Other symptoms include:
- chronically inflamed and sore throat
- swollen glands in the neck and below the jaw
- worn tooth enamel and increasingly sensitive and decaying teeth as a result of exposure to stomach acids
- gastroesophageal reflux disorder
- intestinal distress and irritation from laxative abuse
- kidney problems from diuretic abuse
- severe dehydration from purging of fluids
To qualify for a clinical diagnosis of Bulimia Nervosa, binge eating and related compensatory behaviors must take place at least two times a week for a minimum of three months.
Sufferers are classified into one of two subtypes: the purging type, which employs laxatives, diuretics , or self-induced vomiting to compensate for binging, or the non-purging type, which relies on behaviors such as excessive exercising or fasting to offset binges.
This is a reminder To watch what you eat I know it sounds simple But it’s no easy feat. You’re going to be tempted. There’s food all around. You’ll want to give in And consume what you’ve found. I’m here to remind you Of what the mirror will say
If you look at it tomorrow After giving in today This body is gross You weigh far too much Your stomach is bulging And so on and such. Then you’ll feel guilty You’ll need to come clean You’ll go to the bathroom.
So you won’t be seen Your finger will go down Your sin will come out There’s no time for questions.
here’s no room for doubt When you are done You’ll feel blank inside This is too much to bear Too much to hide To avoid this dilemma I’m reminding you You’d rather not eat Than regret when you do.
Who Are Some Famous People that Have this Problem…..
American Idol runner-up, struggled with bulimia while auditioning for American Idol in San Francisco in August 2005. She suffered from an eating disorder for 6 years, since she was 17 years old. After her audition was successful, Katharine decided to get help.
“My bulimia was really getting out of control.” She enrolled at Los Angeles’s Eating Disorder Center of California, where she spent three months undergoing group and individual therapy six days a week. Katharine says today that American Idol has saved her life.
She believes that if she didn’t audition for the show, she would probably still struggle. Katharine has learned that there is no “bad” food – you can have everything as long as you watch how much you eat.
Dancer, choreograph and singer Paula Abdul (American Idol Judge) battled bulimia and decided to check herself in a clinic, back in 1994. Her negative feelings about her own body image came as early as seven years old when she began dancing, but “it didn’t manifest into a full-blown eating disorder until I was in high school.
“ Today Paula Abdul is a spokesperson for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). Paula courageously speaks out about her own past battles, in hopes of encouraging young women to take the scary, but necessary, steps to seek help.
“It is one of the toughest things to talk about, bar none, and it is one of the hardest disorders to deal with because it’s not black or white. Eating disorders really have nothing to do with food, it’s about feelings.”
Diana, Princess of Wales: Princess Diana struggled with an eating disorder and also admitted that she used to self-harm herself. The following is an extract of an interview of Princess Diana about her battle with bulimia – “I had bulimia for a number of years.
And that’s like a secret disease. You inflict it upon yourself because your self-esteem is at a low ebb, and you don’t think you’re worthy or valuable. You fill your stomach up four or five times a day – some do it more – and it gives you a feeling of comfort.
It’s like having a pair of arms around you, but it’s temporarily, temporary. Then you’re disgusted at the bloatedness of your stomach, and then you bring it all up again.
And it’s a repetitive pattern, which is very destructive to yourself.” Diana also admitted in a television interview that she intentionally cut her arms and legs and had thrown herself down a flight of stairs on more than one occasion.
Diana died tragically in a car accident involving a paparazzi chase in August 1997.
Information & Referral Helpline – Eating disorders helpline offers advice and referrals. Includes an online directory of treatment providers and support groups. (National Eating Disorders Association)
Eating Disorder Hope Dedicated to offering hope, support and encouragement to those suffering with eating disorders and their loved ones.
Don’t Give Up Hope!
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