Sunday, April 15, 2012

(Invisible) Signs of Bulimia

Bulimia is very hard to recognize, especially since those who have it try their hardest to cover it up from people they know. I tried not to say anything negative about my weight, because I thought that it could be a tip-off for people to recognize that I was leaving the table after dinner to vomit my guts out. I always made sure that no one was walking my the bathroom while I was throwing up, and if I threw up in the shower, I would hide the food in bunches of Kleenex and stick it in the bottom of the trash can.
There were times when I certainly could have gotten caught. The thing is, though, that NO ONE WILL BELIEVE YOU’RE BULIMIC unless faced with incontrovertible evidence. That’s the main reason I get away with it.
It’s nothing bad on their part. After all, less than 5% of people become bulimic, so why should they assume anything? And the disease doesn’t manifest itself in physical ways like with anorexia, so if people notice a detail you left out of place they will reason it away.
Sites have lists of signs to look for:
-       using diet pills
-       exercising all the time, even when hurt or tired 
-       going to the bathroom after eating all the time or showering right after dinner 
-       swollen cheeks from throwing up 
-       calluses or scrapes on the fingers from using them to induce vomiting 
-       teeth that look clear
-       broken blood vessel in the eyes 
(I exhibit all of these symptoms except I've never taken diet pills. Not because I didn't want to...)

And here are some things I would look for in addition:
-       someone restricting food intake
-       having a negative body image or thinking they’re too fat
-       being grouchy after eating a large meal
-       holding stomach after eating or just randomly
-       weighing oneself all the time

But again, people don’t see one of those signs and randomly start thinking you have bulimia. They won’t even think you have bulimia if you straight up tell them “I feel fat.” Or even if you obviously go to the bathroom right after dinner and come back with broken blood vessels bleeding out of the back of your hand. People are very good at not seeing what they don’t want to see. 

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