The Shame Of Hiding It

For some reason, I am glad that I have this group to post openly about being bulimic. I've hidden this from everyone in my life for as long as possible because of a deep sense of shame. I've always prided myself on being strong, self-reliant, independent. But behind my facade of competence, I have my dirty little secret and the misplaced pride to think that I don't need help or that I can't show people that I'm weak or flawed or disgusting or shameful. I still feel that way. I don't think I could ever tell the people I work with, the person I've been dating, the people I work out with, or my family about my eating disorder.

I come from an immigrant family where the concept of an eating disorder is completely alien. I know it's not my parents' fault, but it still makes it hard and I know that if I ever told them about it, I would get blank stares. More likely, I know that they would inadvertently say hurtful things that could prompt a b+p session or three. And it's not like my older sibling is the caring and concerned type anyway what with our history of a chilly childhood and adult relationship. She's got her own life and I have my own.

My personality has always been one of "I'm not good enough". I obviously lack self-confidence and short-change myself often. It's something my boss has brought up in reviews (not in a bad way, he is great with positive feedback and encourages me to own myself and step up to the plate). I also have a deep-seated need to please and when I don't please someone, while I don't show it, I internalize it. Or when I disappoint myself, I internalize it. It all circles back to some vicious cycle and when I developed bulimia...well, we all know how that story goes.

And top it all off with a healthy dose of having never liked my body and it's no surprise I find myself here. Growing up in the US, surrounded by images of tall skinny white women, I remember wanting to be tall, white, and blonde. Instead, I'm 5'2", athletic build, and most definitely Asian. I'm not fat and am probably more fit than 99% of the population - I ran my first marathon in 4 hours and 10 minutes, have 9 amateur fights, can punch harder than most of the guys at my gym, and can move more weight than most guys 50-60 pounds heavier than me. But I still hate my body. Even more stupid, given my propensity to binge and purge, is my involvement in a sport that is dictated by weight, fighting. My healthy, average, menstruating weight is 125 or so. My fighting weight is 115-118. Even though the rational part of me knows that 115-118 is a below normal weight for me, I feel so wonderful and so strong and skinny at that weight. But I can never stay there (I stopped getting my period for 6 months once and 8 months another time) and I feel "fat" at my normal body weight. Which just triggers more feelings of guilt for being a fat and disgusting pig. And in the world of fighting, non-fight weight is considered fat and all the women who fight make light of the body dysmorphia and messed up relationship with ourselves, our weight, and food. But no one else seems to have an eating disorder and it makes me wonder why I am the weak one. But I hide it from everyone. And I'm deeply ashamed when I skip the gym for a while and come back knowing my coaches can see how heavy I've gotten. On some occasions in the past, I've even purposefully put myself in a vinyl sweatsuit to lose a few pounds of water weight before going to the gym so the coaches don't think I look fat. Keep in mind, this is all in my head....I know the coaches would never tell me to my face that it looks like I gained weight, but in a sport where competing means you have to make weight just to get in the ring, the eyes are sharp.

What makes everything even more ridiculous, now that I'm writing it, is that I'm not even a fitness professional. I know I am a skilled athlete and I know I want to eventually get involved in teaching the sport, but I am a white collar desk jockey by day. I have a bachelor's degree in molecular biology and a PharmD. I work at a desk with 2 screens, interact with some of the top cardiologists in the world, work with two of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world, and travel to places like Amsterdam, Paris, Milan, Rome and Miami for 1.5 day meetings costing over $100,000. I make a tidy living, live in a major metropolitan area, have an apartment in a new construction modern apartment building with a doorman.

And yet I hide at home. I know that bulimia is an irrational act and I am a rational person. But here I am and here we are. Go figure. Life is a funny thing. So is the human brain.
vitatwinkie vitatwinkie
31-35, F
1 Response Feb 13, 2011

hey there,<br />
<br />
i have been where you are. i was bulimic for 6 years and loved it. i had once been a healthy young girl who worked out for about an hour a day and then i suddenly turned into this sick person who forced herself to vomit up to 6 times a day.<br />
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who wouldn't? i was always really competitive and while all of my friends complained about having to diet or workout, i could eat whatever i wanted and just get rid of it, seeming to stay effortlessly skinny.<br />
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i couldn't workout anymore. i was afraid my heart would stop. i would sit on the floor after purging feeling my strained heart pounding in my chest, telling myself this would be the last time, again and again and again.<br />
<br />
4 years ago i finally did stop. i just knew i would die and i made myself quit. it was like lifting a veil. after hiding and being a monster to myself for so long i could now see. i love food now, i love feeding myself and giving myself energy after those workouts i couldn't do for so long.<br />
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you can read my full story hear if you want. <br />
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<a href="http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Have-Bulimia/1399455" target="ep_blank">EP Link</a><br />
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i joined this site to help people turn away from this slow death.