Getting Through : Dealing
from verylonelygirl - Tuesday, September 23, 2003
accessed 1629 times
Violent Ritualistic Punishment
When I first put my finger down my throat to up chuck food, I thought I had invented the process. I was 13 years old. I thought there was only on reason I did this, to be thin. I was in puberty and my body was flowering. I wanted to stay small. 15 year later I almost had to die from suffocation with a piece of bread stuck in my throat a few years back to understand that how serious this disease was. 15 years of being addicted to a bizarre complicated mental handicap had taken a toll on my body. And I had to understand it.
Binge: Gorging myself with food made me feel I was getting something that no one seemed to care enough to give me. The frantic uncontrollable urge to eat until my stomach hurt came from a need to take what I was not being given. Maybe it was an infantile desire for a full stomach and ready to sleep? Wanting to be fed proper food with nutrients? Wanting to look fat and ugly so no man would want to molest me again? Wanting to recreate the experience of being taken, raped and used? Yes all of that. Or was it simply so I could turn around and violently punish myself by getting it all out?
Vomiting: Guilt, anger, confusion, fear, loneliness, abandonment, rebelliousness and helplessness, these were feelings that were not allowed. But they were there. Inside of me eating at my insides. Denial kept me from facing them. Bulimia kept everything in order. The violence I felt as my body expelled everything I had worked so feverishly to consume was wonderful punishment and a perfect distraction from what was happening around me in my world.
Afterglow: I am not sure what part of bulimia is the most addicting but each part is just as important to the process. Sickness was the only time I got comfort from my mother. So simulating an illness gave me permission to comfort myself. There was comfort in knowing I wouldn’t get fat today, I rescued myself from it. There was peace in the promise that it was the last time I would put myself through the trauma of the ritual, never, never, never again would I be so unloving to my own body. But it was never the last time.
Both my parent’s families are ridden with bipolar disorders, depressive and manic illness and eating disorders. I had not invented anything. I had in fact simply reinvented a genetic pattern. This and other illnesses whether it is drug addiction, sex addiction, food addiction, and alcohol addiction are a way of assimilating experience. As a child, this ritualistic way of handling stress and emotional trauma worked for me. It made me feel I had control over something in my life. But as a woman it is crippling my ability to reach out and grow into my full potential. The layers of this mental illness are cumbersome. But I created it and I could conquer it. For any of you who have an addiction I urge you to look deeper to understand all the angles, reasons, purposes and needs your addiction is satisfying. Self-destruct is not the answer to dealing with the present or covering the past. Take the time to heal.
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Wednesday, February 07, 2007 - 13:07
I was interested in this article I found:
Study shows complex link between abuse and eating disorders
"CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Women who were victims of childhood sexual abuse have long been assumed to be at a higher risk for eating disorders. The results of research, however, have been mixed, with some studies showing a link and others none.
A recently published study of college-age women shows there is a connection between the two, though not a direct one. Childhood sexual abuse is not a significant risk factor on its own, but it is when combined with psychological distress (depression or anxiety) and a condition of emotional disconnection known as alexithymia, say study authors Anita Hund and Dorothy Espelage, both with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“Those factors appear to play an important role not only in how eating disorders get started, but more importantly in how they keep going,” according to Hund, a doctoral student in educational psychology at Illinois and the lead author of the study, published in the October issue of the Journal of Counseling Psychology.
“What sends one woman over the line, and not her classmate (with a similar background), probably has a lot to do with how they experience emotions,” Hund said. If those factors can be addressed through counseling, it holds promise for reducing a woman’s risk for developing a disorder, she said.
The study’s results validate a lot of what many counselors and clinicians already believe or suspect, according to Espelage, a professor of educational psychology at Illinois and co-author of the study. The results also have consequences for the treatment of eating disorders and related behaviors on college campuses, she said.
Many women on campuses engage in disordered eating behaviors, from severe restriction or dieting, to binging and purging, Espelage said.
Among those are women who come to campus with no history of such behaviors, “but begin to feel dissatisfied with their bodies in a very competitive environment and engage in disordered eating for the first time,” she said.
But many campuses devote few resources to counseling women engaged in those behaviors, she said. And there is a movement toward sending those with fully developed eating disorders to off-campus treatment centers, in part because the treatment is so expensive.
“I think this research lends support to the idea that we can do something in college counseling centers and have a tremendous effect,” she said.
Previous research on the association between childhood sexual abuse and eating disorders had produced inconsistent and confusing results because it did not take multiple factors into account, Hund said. “In reality, the association between a history of childhood sexual abuse and disordered eating behaviors is very complex,” she said.
The researchers believe their study is the first on this topic to take those multiple factors into account, using a research technique called structural equation modeling.
Using results from previous research, including work by Espelage and Suzanne Mazzeo, now a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, the researchers developed a hypothetical model or map of associations between various factors. The factors in the model included childhood sexual abuse, general psychological distress, alexithymia, restrictive eating behaviors and attitudes, body dissatisfaction, and bulimic eating behaviors (such as binging and purging).
Alexithymia (uh-lex-uh-THIGH-me-uh) is defined as a condition in which a person is unable to recognize or describe his or her own emotions. Hund described it as “a disconnect between emotions and the rest of you.”
Their data was gathered through a written survey administered to 608 undergraduate and graduate women at a large Midwestern university, producing 589 usable responses.
What the researchers found when they sorted out the data was that it fit their hypothetical model of how the various factors were associated and how they affected the level of risk for an eating disorder, Hund said.
“These study results fit into the idea that eating disordered behaviors actually have a purpose,” she said. “Somebody who’s abused is of course going to have some issues around dealing with emotions, and this is their solution to functioning.”
Therefore, it may be important for counselors and clinicians not to move too quickly to take away those behaviors, except when immediately life-threatening, and to deal with the woman’s “underlying emotional structure,” Hund said."
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Monday, September 29, 2003 - 13:01
I think bullimia is a love/hate relationship with oneself - you love to binge and you hate yourself afterwards! I experienced this but very mildly - I found other ways of punishing myself! doing drugs, getting drunk and ending up in messed up relationships, in the process of going through hell I often forgot to eat...I didn't eat because I hated myself.
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Saturday, September 27, 2003 - 00:13
It seems that you have a pretty deep understanding of the issues that brought on your eating disorder and how it has affected your life. The issues you bring up about on one hand wanting to be fat in order to protect yourself from preditory men, while on the other hand trying to keep some form of control by purging seems to be a common reason for bulimic behavior. I just finished reading Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher. It's about issues girls in our society face in adolescence. While our experiences were significantly different due to our unusual upbringing, this book gave me some very useful insights about my teen years and how they have helped to shape the person I am today. It was helpful to re-examine my own experience as compared with that of other adolescent girls in our society.
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