bulimia (byoo-lim-ee-uh) an emotional disorder involving distortion of body image and an obsessive desire to lose weight, in which bouts of extreme overeating are followed by depression and self-induced vomiting, purging, or fasting.
My girlfriend suffers from bulimia. Over the last two months, I’ve had a roller coaster of feelings regarding her eating disorder. When she first told me, I was ignorant and naive, thinking that this was just a simple feeling to overcome in a few days. Then, after some research, I gained more perspective on how big of a deal it actually is and the amount of care I must have when speaking about this. As we got closer, I’ve encouraged her to eat to a normal extent even though she would still throw up when she has a chance and I’m not watching. Although it still hurts me to hear her throwing up, I now see it as motivation for me to do more for her to help her on the fight against her bulimia.
Today, she was starving after throwing up twice already. I wanted to help and I thought what the best would be for her is to eat something so that she isn’t starving and malnourished. I got mad at her and wouldn’t talk to her until she ate. She ate and then threw up twice again.
I feel terrible. Being her boyfriend, I was supposed to be there for her. To love her just way she was and to help her fight her eating disorder. But I was not. Instead, to her, I made her do something she didn’t want to do and was not there to support her. I realized that I still do not know enough to help her and feel hopeless that whenever she’s not with me, I cannot help instill healthier eating habits.
I started reading online and this one quote from a recovered bulimic resonated with me:
“[Eating disorders tell] us we are failures, we don’t deserve happiness and that no one should care about us because we are worthless. That’s why the positive approach works so well – it’s the opposite of what our EDs say to us. Try to remember that she is not her ED.”
What my actions today did was only to further that idea. What I should have done was to have been loving and encouraging instead of forcing it on her. What I don’t realize is that she’s in another environment now. Although she calls it home, she may not feel as much love and acceptance as when she is with me. It is my duty to make her feel safe and loved for who she is now. It is my job to help her on her fight against bulimia and make her realize she is not her bulimia, she is Robyn.