Living with Bulimia

Catherine Liberty's picture

Living with bulimia is very tough indeed. The truth is that people have no control over their bulimia until they are able to learn how to slowly start taking that control back through recovery.

Bulimia consumes your every thought and action and can cause you to completely lose all sense and knowledge of your true identity.

When you have bulimia you feel like you are trapped in a maze with no way out.

You can often feel like you’ll never escape from bulimia because without the right guidance and support it can be impossible to believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

When you have bulimia sometimes it feels like all you are is “bulimic” and nothing more.

When you have bulimia life becomes a tiring show, where you constantly force yourself to put on a happy face in order to hide your dark secret.

It’s difficult for people who’ve never experienced Bulimia first hand to understand...

Of course you can try to educate yourself on the realities of Bulimia, but the truth is you can read all the definitions, studies and psychology resources in the world and often still be left with no real idea of what life is like for someone living with Bulimia.

I’m not denying that the things you will read are probably very accurate and factual, but does it really give you a good indication of the challenges that people with bulimia experience each day?

I would have to argue that: 

Most descriptions and explanations of bulimia are so blunt and un-feeling that they can often sustain misconceptions and create a whole new world of confusion

The sentences below, taken from our downloadable Bulimia Help resource “What to do when someone tells you they have Bulimia” should help to give you a better, more human understanding of what it can be like to live with Bulimia:

  • When you have bulimia you are totally out of control. You experience such strong binge urges and you simply don’t know how to stop them.
  • When you have bulimia you try to use large amounts of food as comfort to numb difficult thoughts, feelings and emotions that you don’t feel able to cope with.
  • When you have bulimia your body is in a constant state of distressed hunger despite bingeing on large amounts of food.
  • When you have bulimia it’s hard to imagine how you will cope without it.
  • When you have bulimia it’s hard to be around other people.
  • When you have bulimia your emotions and moods can be really erratic.
  • When you have bulimia you can end up saying things you don’t mean and doing things you wish you could take back.
  • When you have bulimia all you want is to be free from it.
  • When you have bulimia you are usually average or above average weight.
  • When you have bulimia you can simply be too exhausted to have any other interests or hobbies.
  • When you have bulimia you often experience heightened levels of stress, anxiety and depression.
  • When you have bulimia you feel very alone, scared, afraid, guilty and ashamed.
  • When you have bulimia you often feel like you have an addiction.
  • When you have bulimia your brain reacts to food binges and purging in very similar ways to the way a drug addict’s brain would react to taking drugs.
  • When you have bulimia on the outside your life can appear perfect and normal.
  • When you have bulimia there are hardly any visible signs and the signs that are visible are not what you would think.
  • When you have bulimia you can exhibit other compulsive urges. For example you can be more likely to shoplift, be promiscuous or drink a lot of alcohol. Bulimia is not an excuse for these behaviours but it is a reason.

If it’s really so horrible to live with bulimia then why don’t people try to recover sooner?

That is a very complex question and the answers would almost certainly vary from person to person. The truth is that there can be a lot of reasons why people don’t seek help sooner.

  • They may be in denial about the severity of their bulimia.
  • They may feel ashamed or undeserving of help.
  • They may falsely feel guilt that they have brought their bulimia on themselves.
  • They could be under the false impression that recovery would make them gain a lot of weight.
  • They may believe that they just couldn’t cope without their bulimia.
  • They may have no idea about where to go to get help.

The list is endless, and someone with bulimia will often have more than one reason for not seeking help sooner despite the pain they have been living in.

At Bulimia Help we help our members to understand how wonderful recovery from bulimia really is and our members love to share their success stories with others. 

We work hard to spread the positive message that full life-long recovery from bulimia does exist - no matter how long you have had bulimia for!

The information provided in this website is for information purposes only. The information on this website is NOT a substitute for proper diagnosis, treatment or the provision of advice by an appropriate health professional. Please refer to the full disclaimer and copyright. If you do think you might suffer from an eating disorder, it is important that you talk to your General Practitioner, as there are many physical complications that can arise from being at an unhealthily low weight or from losing weight very quickly, or from purging. We advise you to seek professional help with working on an eating disorder.


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