Do you ever wonder if anyone you know is bulimic?

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sarahsmith's picture
Do you ever wonder if anyone you know is bulimic?

Hey all

So from speaking to so many people on here and realising that this disease is more common than I realise, I have just started wondering if anyone I know may be bulimic!

Weird thing to say I know, but thinking of myself, I think I do come off as quite a normal person, and that yes my friends and family know me to be a very body concious person who knows the calorie content of every type of food lol and always seems to be on some wacky diet, but other than that I think I just come off as your average young girl who is aware of their weight.

And what many women arent like that, concious of their weight, ok some more than others!

Alot of people I have known and have known over many years, I wonder if any of them have been in a similar situations to us?

Course now im thinking, o maybe she did, or maybe she did, which saddens me to think that any of my friends or people I have met over the years could be suffering with this horrid disease.

Just how common is it, have you ever suspected anyone you have known of suffering of it, or like me have you never really thought about it but now this has got you thinking??

Its strange as I have always thought as myself as being abnormal, and that we are few and far between, but i dont know, this site and speaking and reading about so many of you has got me thinking as all.......too much time on my hands lol.


little shell
little shell's picture
i totally get where you're

i totally get where you're thought process is coming from. i definitely have been wondering that lately - since finding this website. i, like you, always thought of myself as a weirdo with the food issues and body issues, etc...

i'm pretty sure a good friend of mine in HS was bulimic. she may still be, actually. i have no idea - we had a bit of a falling out our senior year of HS and we haven't spoken since and I never see her. now, i wonder that about just random people i see - mainly females. even though i know males suffer too. but, well, i'm a girl, so i sort of zone in on them more so. it has definitely opened my eyes wider to how, i guess, less abnormal i am in a more global aspect. i still think i'm the weird one with issues amongst those closest to me. but hey, then again, i could be wrong. who knows.

good post though - and good question.

"you can call me crazy - but i think you're as crazy as white paint on the wall.."

punkrocklibrarian's picture
'Sfunny, when i 'came out'

'Sfunny, when i 'came out' about my eating disorder years ago, it seemed like loads of people came out of the woodwork and started talking to me about theirs.

I'm not secretive about my problems at all these days. I'll tell anyone who'll stand long enough to be honest. People at bus stops, baffled dogs trying to have a quiet pee on a lamp post...

I've found a lot more people than we realise have SOME kind of problem, by which i mean not only the every day "we're all a bit fucked up" but also to the extent that they've had to have some kind of external help, or that they've thought about it for years and then in my case after only a tiny bit of encouragement went and got professional help.

Actually come to think of it, i AM a lot less open about my problems than i used to be. Which goes alongside getting a lot worse. I wonder how this happened.

Er so yeah! To answer the question, turns out quite a few people in my acquaintance have or have had an eating disorder or some other problem, which i might never have known if i hadn't decided to tell the whole world about my own struggles.

In case you're wondering, i wasn't sure at first... i'm not sure if i'd say "scary" but i certainly wasn't sure how people might react, but it was obvious to all and sundry because at that time i was blatantly anorexic. Anyway as you can see the response was on the whole overwhelmingly positive and i only lost one 'friend' - and that was a very new friend anyway and we had little in common so i didn't really lose anything.

Sorry, went a bit off-topic there.

~Solidarity is strength~

CatherineB's picture
I was at dinner with a group

I was at dinner with a group of all my best friends from high school a few months ago. One of them was having some depression issues lately and we were helping her through it. Along the way, I found out that every single one of us had struggled with and ED in the past few years. I was totally shocked, since we'd never talked about it before.
I also notice little signs in complete strangers. Every now and then I'll be out to dinner with a large group and notice one of the girls excuse herself right after dinner only to come back 15 minutes later with a hair tie around her wrist. I always want to say something to them or reach out in some way, but I'm scared to death I'll have read it wrong

punkrocklibrarian's picture
I don't understand...

...a hair tie round her wrist? Why?

~Solidarity is strength~

Letgoandletgod's picture
I guess to puke.... but I

I guess they wear a hair tie to not puke in their hair.... but I always wear a hair tie because I work in a lab! .. now I dont wanna wear one anymore because people might think I'm going to vomit in the restaurant's bathroom haha
It's weird going anywhere because I think so many women are bulimic because they do this or that.... maybe I should mind my own business :P
SOmething weird I do, I've been told, is that I get a vacant look on my face and eat voraciously when in binge mode.

Espiritual's picture
hair tie

I always have a hair tie around my wrist. That is interesting you say that. It has truth to it. But then again sometimes its nice to have the option to put your hair up. it is convenient, because puke in your hair sux and holding it up messes up your stance.

CatherineB's picture
yeah, exactly what they said.

yeah, exactly what they said. I know a lot of girls always have hair ties, but it's still always a tag to me...

sarahsmith's picture
hair tie....I would say a

hair tie....I would say a hair tie can be a bulimic trait as wearing one out to dinner, its not like its a bracelet is it, so it is there for a purpose to be able to tie your hair back......I can relate to that.

Guess we all have common practises that we can if we see them recognise in others. I for instance used to (being in recovery...well trying to I use past tense) eat all my food in a particular order and never mix. Even with veg, like say if I had three different types of veg on my plate, i would always eat say carrots first, finsh them, then cabbage, finish that, then broccili. I never knew this to be a bulimic trait, thought it was just me untill I read about it. Its a habbit that is hard to break, and even though I am on the most keeping food down at present, I still find it hard to break my eating pattern.

I have not come out about my ED unfortunately so dont know of anyone I know with an ED, if they would tell me if they found out my situation.

Just seems though that sooo many celebs as well are all coming out about it these days, it seems to be more and more common than I ever realised so thats why I wonder about people that I know.

Id be interested to know what the average numbers percentage wise were for people 50 years ago with ED's compared to what the numbers are like today!!!????

punkrocklibrarian's picture
OH I SEE! I thought you

OH I SEE! I thought you meant a hair tie as in a tie made of hair! As in, a single hair tied round her wrist or something bizarre like that! I wonder if people think that's why i wear a rubber band round my wrist. It's not - it's a CBT thing.

Plus i'm a cheap skate and don't wear stylish/expensive jewellery. Pretty much everything i own is found, stolen, made or second-hand.

~Solidarity is strength~

little shell
little shell's picture
haha you made me giggle

haha you made me giggle punkrocklibrarian :)

"you can call me crazy - but i think you're as crazy as white paint on the wall.."

CatherineB's picture
whoa, eating in order is an

whoa, eating in order is an ED sign? I've ALWAYS done that, ever since I was little. Is it something to avoid?

backslide_cyanide's picture
yes! one of my friends who


one of my friends who has had fluctuating weight talks about meditative eating.

and another with weight concerns talks about picking her face.

and a girl in one of my classes had a scar on her knuckles.

sarahsmith's picture
Ahhh the annoying scar.....I

Ahhh the annoying scar.....I remember when there was a picture of Amy Winehouse once in Heat and the title was Amy has mysterious insect bites on her knuckle..... I was like wtf do they not have anyone who works at heat who is bulimic or knows something about it, this is not some weird insect which has bitten her on the knuckles!!!!!

The marks were identical to mine and as I am sure alot of you had had on the knuckle of your index I was like stupid idiots can they not spot one of the most obvious signs of a

Not some weird insect going aroound lol!

Catherine Liberty
Catherine Liberty's picture
"Amy has mysterious insect

"Amy has mysterious insect bites on her knuckle" that just made me laugh so much.

Here is a good list of signs to look our for in someone who might have bulimia.

Irochka's picture
Sometimes I catch myself

Sometimes I catch myself staring at people's hands on the bus... Even though I rarely had sars on my hands.

A few weeks ago I found a pack of laxatives in my grandma's cupboard. I know she eats a lot and want to lose weight... You can never know.

"If you want it... so you should."

punkrocklibrarian's picture

I've never stuck my fingers down my throat to make myself sick. Well, once or twice when i was way younger, but it just didn't work. I won't tell you how i do it - that's a bit inappropriate here! And i don't tend to look at other people's hands or look for or notice things about other people like you all mention. I wonder why.

I DO notice very thin/fat people and rather than think "fat/skinny bitch!" i just want to talk to them and be friends with them and somehow help them feel better or something. (Must admit i do sometimes envy the thin ones, a bit - who doesn't - but then i remember how miserable an existence it all is.) I also notice when people eat really slowly (as i used to and to an extent want to get used to doing again) and i notice self-harm.

Maybe you notice the things that you have on yourself, like scars on your knuckles or swollen hands, or that your mates or people you've known have and you've seen often have, but not the things you don't have or see much?

~Solidarity is strength~

punkrocklibrarian's picture
Sorry, that went all

Sorry, that went all ramblingly off topic, tut

~Solidarity is strength~

Coach Jen
Coach Jen's picture
Yes, I definately notice my

Yes, I definately notice my sister-in-law has fluctuating weight, and some girls I work with are constantly dieting and talking about body image. I never had scars on my knuckles either, though so I rarely look for that. I think its way more common than people realize for sure.

lpgh's picture
Honestly I think I've always

Honestly I think I've always felt pretty alone in my ED; bulimia can be hard to pin point in people really. I've always worn hair ties even before I started with an ED. I usually have multiples of the cheap ones on my wrists just for general convenience---and because women are always asking each other for hair bands that they'll never return.

I've also never had a scar on my knuckles---with the exception of a couple of burn scars from being a klutz when taking food out of the oven.

I do, however, notice ED traits in girls through their conversations and actions. I think it's more obvious when you watch someone eat---like the mechanical eating or whatnot that people were discussing earlier. Or when you see a very thin girl who speaks a great deal about her weight or agonizes over the least fattening thing on a menu.

Whenever I feel like I've spotted one, I grimace. I so wish that others weren't inflicted with this crap that I'm dealing with every day, and I hate to think of how common it really is. As much as it makes me feel isolated when I think that I'm the only person I know with these issues, it makes me feel much worse to consider how truly common EDs are. I hope we can all get help!

linden1228's picture
You really can't tell at first

I really don't think you can tell at first or without knowing the person for a little while, because otherwise you may be jumping to conclusions. A lot of people go to the bathroom after they eat to freshen up anyway, and this has nothing to do with purging. I've always purged secretly and could never do it in a public place/bathroom (like at a restaurant) unless I had been heavily drinking, in which case I can blame the alcohol. I hate eating in front of people and would sooner just avoid a meal with friends, family, etc. instead of having to eat 'normally' for their sake. It's not things like going to the bathroom a lot, but more so just bizarre eating patterns in general. People always tell me they "never see me eat". Ha, they have no idea.

I tell some people about my problem, but try my best to hide it, obviously. My roomate could always tell when I had purged because the toilets would be "abnormally clean". (He was right - I always clean the toilets throughly after purging.)

As for scars, again, not everyone gets them. I have horrible scars on my index and middle knuckles, but it actually just looks like I punched a wall of something. It depends on how hard you bite down as you're purging. When I first started doing it, I wasn't very good. You definitely have to figure out what exactly works to trigger your own gag reflex.

Everyone is different, which is why it's ineffective to look for universal signs of bulimia and then apply them to everyone. Each individual has to be examined separately. Finally, even if someone you know is bulimic, why the hell would you say something? I'm bulimic, and I don't want someone asking me about it. If I want to talk about it, I will - but if you try to ask me something, I'll get defensive.

Such is the life of an eating disorder victim...

laceylane88's picture
As far as I know, Im the only one I know

If there are people I know that are bulimic, theyre doing a great job of hiding it. I thought I have done a great job of hiding it, but now I realize how obvious it is. It seems the few people that Ive told just already knew... It would be kind of nice to know someone who is living in this hell, but I really think Im alone when it comes to my circle of friends.

Catherine Liberty
Catherine Liberty's picture
Yes I always wonder this

I had a friend in high school who was bulimic but I never shared my problem with her. And my best friend now once confided in me that she "used to be bulimic" - I worry she still is. Also a guy who is more of a friend of friends I really really think is bulimic. All he ever talks about is food, junk food, how he needs chocolate etc like obsessively. This is something I used to do a lot in the past, sometimes I think the signs are obvious but then again we have to take a step back because we could just be jumping to conclusions.

Id love a time when Im not so secretive about my ed history, and I do see that happening in the future mainly because I think a lot more people in our immediate lives will be dealing with something similar, and if by coming out so to speak, we can help them, well for me that seems like something I will want to do.

Scarlet Bones
Scarlet Bones's picture
I dont have scars either and

I dont have scars either and have always been able to purge on command. I have the puffy face and abnormally large face thing though. Ive always tied my hair back for convienience, nothing else. Always dread seeing people I know in the supermarket and often alternate stores. I eat a massive amount of sweets (not choc though)

♥ ♥ 'To be Perfect is to be Imperfect' ♥ ♥

katelyn2010's picture
hair ties

I always have a hair tie on my wrist for various reasons, but my friends that know about my ed can always tell be I pull my hair up when I do it so if i return from the bathroom with my hair up its a bit obvious. I also wonder who else I know struggles with this. I know my best friend who I came out to first struggled with this too. I found out when we drank together which then gave me the courage to tell them about mine.

optimus's picture
my cousin suffers

I just found out a year ago that my cousin was bulimic too. In high school I remember spending the night at her house and she always had a tooth brush in her bedroom. She took it with her wherever she went. I never really gave it much thought though until I found out about her ED. She would also take multiple "showers" a day and come out of the bathroom with a towel on her hair. Her hair always seemed to dry rather quickly in that towel. I see so many signs now that I never would have recognized without suffering this ED myself.

You're worth it:}

sugarcoated's picture
i always wondered this

when i see people certain people i do wonder by the things they do or say

at work i do notice alot of vomit around edges of toilets,or that wierd coverin the water still has after its been flushed after throwing up and flushing, that bit of evidence is always there
i always drop a few squares on tissue on top to hide the evidence

i do notice other tiolets have alittle bit in and i do wonder if its the same reason.

my friend at uni def had issuse but never spoke of it but niether did i!
this lady at work is so thin but while we were eating dinner she was going on about being a dress size bigger and feeling so fat, then times i was gone to the loo someone has been gipping and stuff in the toilet and later she appears.

i do worry about my little sister lately she has been asking my mum to make her stirfrys nearly every night, and at one point she was doing that ceral diet where you have two bowls of that instead of anything else 9yeah she bloated, don't try it )

i'm also sure my older sister used to abuse laxatives, and more so that she refuses to take them when she is constipated now she won't take any, but for alot of years she was always letting off bad smalls, had really bad cramp and sprinting to the loo at the drop of a hat, (i had these symtomps when i used laxative on and off for a years before i realised the only reason i lost any fat was because i felt too ill to eat for most of the day!
definatly wasnt worth and the pain and dehydration and bad smells

i am paranoid, my mum has always had a problem with how she looks and i think that really rubbed off on us, sometimes she will cook tea but not have any and she is always complaining about how fat she is, she always been like that, its rubbed off on us.

sorry i've kinda of lost my train of though here abit!

xoxmandeex3's picture
what does scars on your

what does scars on your knuckles mean?? ive never heard this before???

sam95's picture
yes, i once suspected one of

yes, i once suspected one of my close friends was bulimic or had some kind of eating disorder, because she was pretty skinny and self concious anyway, and whenever she ate, it was in tiny portions and bites, and she was pretty fussy about it. also whenever the subject of eating disorders came up in a conversation, she would get all quiet and sometimes defensive.

one time i broke down into tears and told her about my bulimia. then next thing she said to me was "if it helps, i was bulimic too."

can't say i was surprised but it made me feel kind of better, knowing there was someone close to me who knew what thoughts were going through my brain, and knew the struggle i had with food, and with myself.

the secret has still stayed between us and i think we can both say we have the most unique conversations about food and bulimia and binging and purging, and we can talk freely about it without feeling like freaks. it's nice that way :)

and xoxmandeex3, sometimes bulimics get scars on their knuckes because when they purging they graze their knuckles on their teeth in the process, and sometimes they bleed. i always get so embarassed when this happens, because it's a sign to people who know about my problem what i have been doing :S

beatin4u's picture
Yes, Sadly i think it is

Yes, Sadly i think it is extremely common.

I found out my best friend had bulimia as well, and my other high school friend too.

Luckily, my best friend has recovered, or, at least, I think she has. She still goes to the bathroom after every meal, which worries me...But I dont know what to do besides trust her.

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