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Anorexia and bulimia information

Here are two accounts of people with bulimia and anorexia. Despite both being concerned with eating-related disorders, the two discourses are completely different. The account of the person with bulimia centres on the drive to eat and the guilt and discomfort associated with it. That of the person with anorexia focuses on wider issues, in particular, issues of revenge and control. The pathways to each disorder differ across people, so although these may be considered ‘typical’ accounts in some ways, the accounts of other people with the same disorder may differ markedly.

Bulimia

I think it’s easier not to drink or take drugs than to eat normally. You can either take them or not. If you don’t want to – you just avoid them. But eating is so different. You have to eat  .  .  .  and once you – well, I – start, it’s so diffi cult to stop. I want to be slim and look good. And I like my food. So I say to myself OK. Today you will not eat till 6 o’clock and you will eat a healthy meal. So I start the day with good intentions. But then I live for food. I can avoid eating at lunchtime – it’s almost easy with people around me. But as the day goes on, I want food!! I don’t feel hungry. But what happens when I get home, I just want to eat. It’s on my mind, and I know there’s food in the fridge – lovely ice cream  .  .  .  chocolate. God, I love chocolate! Why can’t I like something healthy and low calorie?! I sit and watch the TV, but I’m thinking of food. I am now! Anyway, some nights I can get by, cook myself something reasonable – nights when I’m busy or interested in what’s on TV or something. But other nights, I just go straight to the fridge and have a snack. Unfortunately, it’s never a small one – what does that do to you? A couple of biscuits just doesn’t work for me. So, I tend to snack on something big and calorifi c. Even that would be OK if I could stop there. But I tend to think, ‘I’ve blown it now  .  .  .  I’ve begun to eat, so what’s the point of stopping now?’ Once I’ve blown away my good intentions, then I just give in to eating I suppose. So I eat and eat. I don’t stop when I am full. I eat till I am bursting. I feel uncomfortable, and I know I’m bound to put on weight. I feel really guilty – another day when I haven’t kept my good intentions. So, I make myself sick. I’m good at it. It’s not diffi cult now. Then I feel better. At least I can relax and know that I won’t put on weight. It feels such a relief. But I also know that I shouldn’t have had to do it, so I feel guilty and vow that tomorrow I will control my eating and not need to do it. But, of course, tomorrow never comes  .  .  .

Anorexia

My anorexia kicked in at age 13. I battled food issues for years before that. Mum was always on a diet – and I was often hooked into being her dieting partner, and sometimes competitor. Both our food struggles – I see now – only diverted our and the family’s attention from the emotional turmoil permeating our household. I became the convenient whipping post of my parents’ outbursts of anger, insecurities  .  .  .  I was hit a lot and verbally abused. At age 13, my parents cracked down and tried to totally control my life – friends, boyfriends – everything. That control pushed me over the edge  .  .  .  Dieting became an obsession for me. I dropped two stone in a month! The hunger was still there. Some days, all I thought about was food. But I was determined to conquer it. I strove for complete control – perhaps the only control I had. I felt repulsed if I ate – I had let myself down, lost control. I wanted to look good, to fi t the ideal of womanhood. But a large part of the drive was revenge! I loved to see my parents’ reactions to me starving. Dieting was no longer good, something to do with my mother  .  .  .  it was a weapon. Turning her own behaviour on her. They were partly angry because they could not control this part of me, and partly fear and worry. But I had control. They ranted, they shouted, and tried to get me to eat. But I wouldn’t – not for them. I began to lose contact with my feelings. I wanted to starve to be in control, to prove I could do it, but also because I deserved to  .  .  .  because I hated myself.

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