I have been fumbling with bulimia for over 10 years, and though my B/P track record this past year (not very pretty) wouldn't show it, I've been feeling way more conscious of the underlying patterns connected to this horrible illness in my life. The ability to take a step back and consider the causes and effects of my bulimia gives me hope that I may one day live without it.
Today was not so good. I'm sitting with an uncomfortably full stomach now and I can't help but notice the correlation between my rampant (and expensive) binge and the stressful, dramatic workday that it followed.
I currently work as an Instructional Assistant in a Special Education middle school classroom in a high-crime neighborhood in Oakland, California. In the afternoons, I also teach art at an after-school elementary program in a wealthy neighborhood in the Oakland hills. I'm 24, fresh outta undergrad, learning a ton about teaching/classroom management, and most days I find myself totally flabbergasted by the incredible disconnect between my two work environments: poverty/wealth, security/danger, segregation/diversity, resources/lack of access, etc..
I react to feeling mentally/emotionally overwhelmed by overwhelming my body with the experience of eating.
Though my bulimia is surely connected to a concern for body image, it has always been a very backwards and damaging form of therapy for me. Bingeing on pleasure foods is an easy distraction from the hopelessness that I feel about my workload or the expectations that I have about my own level of productivity or heroism. I'm scared of my bulimia because I keep finding myself in positions of power/influence and my sickness seems to have the upper hand.. I've allowed it the power to control me, the way I spend my thoughts and energy, the way I feel and operate in my body, the way I relate to food. I feel guilty for taking on the responsibilities I have because I cannot even take care of myself.
In peeking around this great community, I've noticed patterns that inspire me. I've heard words that resonate with me so much that I am finally ready to contribute. So many of you seem to be juggling amazing potential and responsibility, all the while learning to be truly mindful of your body and climb out of seemingly impossible hole.
The disease is winning me right now. Every day I'm worrying about how I'll feel when I finally lie down for bed. Will I be happy about myself? Will I be proud of the choices I made? Will I feel hydrated and nourished? It's a tremendous challenge, somehow, because I can't get away from the comfort I find in calorie-dense, processed foods and I am amazed at how much of it I can eat before feeling absolutely stuffed.
I'm wondering: How do you react to feeling overwhelmed? What successes/challenges have you had with grand world-size stresses and your bulimia?