• Quote of the Day
    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."
    Nelson Mandela, posted by Daniel

Eunoia

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quick set of questions:
after years of eating disorders as in binging, purging, and starving mostly there are no "noticable" signs... but can dry skin result from the acid when purging? or due to a lack of a vitamin/mineral? I mean severely dry skin on the hands. and what about having a low immune system? as in getting sick a lot due to stress but also could it be due to the above once again and maybe low iron? I don't know. I'm asking b/c I don't really know who else to ask; it's kinda hard if people don't know. you know, not to be mean or anything, but doctors cannot tell a sore throat after purging b/c they always say it's b/c of a cold...take some advil etc. don't get me wrong I don't want people to know, but it is quite ironic how long you can live w/ this shit and noone ever has the slightests clue...
I do know the physical consequences/side effects (teeth, potassium/sodium levels, heart etc.).
I guess what I am asking is if anyone has experienced the above, knows any more info about them or has any other comments... sorry I haven't posted so long...
 

David Baxter

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Yes. All of those things could result from a chronic eating disorder.

Chronic dehydration. Metabolic disturbances, imbalances, and deficiencies. Impaired immune system response.
 

Diana

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Hey Euonia! Does anyone know that you have an eating disorder? Even when I first decided that I needed to recover from anorexia, I went and saw a doctor. She had no clue that I had an eating disorder until I told her. A therapist had recomended me to her, but my mistake was that I thought she had already informed her about my problem. Often doctors really have no idea. In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with seeing a medical doctor, but often you have to point out to them exactly what's wrong. I realize that sounds kind of funny. Thay should know, right? I was never bulimic, and I don't know about dry skin, however I 've heard that self induced vomiting can dehydrate you. When I first started to lose a lot of weight, I would wake up with hives (I know it's not the same thing). I figure that of course it's going to mess around with your immune system. I've been lucky in that respect, however I was told once that my blood pressure was low. Also, I'm only 28 years old and I'm noticing white hairs popping up. Not enough yet to be noticeable to the public. However, this could be an effect of lack of nutrition, years of smoking (although now I've quit), added stress. Anyway, my point is that a doctor might not be able to detect that you have an eating disorder. I'm just wondering if you have looked for help from a therapist or phychologist.
 

Sea Swirl

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Eunoia said:
I mean severely dry skin on the hands
I don't know if there's a relation to eating disorders with this, but it's often a side effect of Keratosis. Do do you have any other skin problems? People with keratosis pilaris (myself included) often specifically have abnormally dry hands, to the point where the backs of the hands especially are very lined and scale-patterned, almost wrinkled-looking, and KP is a very common skin problem.
http://www.drgreene.com/21_92.html
Or do you have a habit that would cause it? Like washing your hands a lot?
as in getting sick a lot due to stress but also could it be due to the above once again
An eating disorder certainly doesn't help your immune system. Also you could be under a lot more stress than you realize - Keeping your illness a secret and pressuring yourself to stay thin are all extra stressors. (And do you stress a lot about school, parents, work, friends, etc?) Are you taking vitamins at least? I would imagine that if you're vomiting a lot and having a sore throat afterward, that would make you more likely to catch colds and flus. Those viruses often get into your body through breathing or swallowing, so the throat has these mucus layers to keep them from getting to the tissues underneath. I think if stomach acid can dissolve tooth enamel, then surely it can strip your throat of this defense.
Purging is really stressful on the body generally, too. I think you would be more likely to get sick just because you're taxing your body in so many ways when you put it through this...
 

Eunoia

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no one knows about this, thus partly my reluctance to go to a doctor and ask about the dry skin, immune system etc... I do wash my hands a lot, but not more than needed, I have used lotion to help them heal which doesn't seem to help... I don't take vitamins and never have.
I have always told myself that I would never get help from a psychologist/ therapist etc. b/c that would be admitting to a problem (which I still don't really believe there is besides from soem side effects), giving up my hopes/dreams for the future (complicated story), and b/c I don't look bad b/c of it and I am so afraid- deathly afraid- of gaining weight but I mean I'm still here, so it seems kind of pathetic for me to "burden" others if I don't have any real issues. In my mind people would laugh in my face b/c I am ok, I am living a successful life, and I look fine so noone could ever understand what this is like b/c there is no "evidence".

sea swirl- I've never thought of Keratosis, I should check that out.
I do stress a lot, but it seems unpreventable.... there's just A LOT going on all the time. I do take time out, I do drink lots of water etc but I can't eliminate the stress. I don't purge a lot, at least not nearly the amount I used to. I just don't eat right/enough but again there isn't much I can change about that at the moment.. I try to eat very healthy foods so it shouldn't be a lack of vitamins really...?

thanks for all your responses
 

Diana

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Do you feel that not eating enough is a necessity? You're not burdening anybody. Issues are issues no matter how big or small. Don't count them as not being "real".
 

David Baxter

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Eunoia said:
I have always told myself that I would never get help from a psychologist/ therapist etc. b/c that would be admitting to a problem (which I still don't really believe there is besides from soem side effects), giving up my hopes/dreams for the future (complicated story), and b/c I don't look bad b/c of it and I am so afraid- deathly afraid- of gaining weight but I mean I'm still here, so it seems kind of pathetic for me to "burden" others if I don't have any real issues. In my mind people would laugh in my face b/c I am ok, I am living a successful life, and I look fine so noone could ever understand what this is like b/c there is no "evidence".
I don't mean to be rude or offensive, Eunoia, but frankly all that sounds to me exactly like rationalization -- someone who at some level realizes she needs help but is trying to create "good reasons" for avoiding the anxiety and effort associated with actually going out and seeking that help.

Or somebody who fears having to change...
 

Diana

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Even if you look good and feel physically OK, you still have to deal with what's going on in your mind and with your emotions. Therapists aren't trained to laugh in your face if you come to them with a problem. Sometimes, others don't understand and pass off your seeking help as looking for attention. However, you know what's right for you and you can't worry about that. Also, I bet that many people won't do this. They might be surprised, and then praise you for seeking help.
 

Sea Swirl

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b/c that would be admitting to a problem (which I still don't really believe there is besides from soem side effects),
I know what you mean. When you're in it, it can feel more like just a funky lifestyle or something than an actual disease. Sometimes people have to have very bad side effects/problems before they are willing to get help, or even see that they need help.
It's always best to get help, but... I understand what you're saying. If it isn't causing distinct problems in your life at home, school, etc, it may not feel like a problem at all, and people on the outside may have no idea. (On the other hand, some people may be totally aware of what you're doing and just won't say anything.)
However, this is one of those odd problems where YOU *personally* absorb all the bad effects.
They may not seem that serious now, but over time it will affect your health a lot. You know about the risks and consequences already, as you said, and... well... those things supposed to bother you LOL. :eek:D
If people really like themselves and care about their health, they don't think of maintaining their health as being a "burden" on others. They take care of these things because they feel they are worth the care and attention. And... yeah, dieting is one thing (a lot of women do that constantly), but if you're starving or purging, that isn't healthy or normal. It means you have an eating disorder. End o' story.
my reluctance to go to a doctor and ask about the dry skin, immune system etc...I just don't eat right/enough but again there isn't much I can change about that at the moment.. I try to eat very healthy foods so it shouldn't be a lack of vitamins really...?
Well, that's good that you eat nutritious things rather than junk, at least. :eek:) Your body might be starving for nutrients, though. Even people without eating disorders have a hard time getting their RDAs of everything, so if you're not eating much, and purging sometimes, you're probably not getting the vitamins you need.
Also, think of how much energy your body and immune system have to put toward repairing the damage you're doing. Every time you purge, you put your body through violent stress, and the acid damages your esophagus and other tissues, and your body has to go fix that. Depending on how often you do it, it may not even have time to heal. So you may be keeping yourself in a constant state of injury, and your systems are spending extra calories and nutrients just to keep you functioning, and they have to keep up with wear and tear from all your normal activities, too. Your immune system probably has little left over to handle external threats like diseases that are constantly trying to get in.
Even if you look good and feel physically OK, you still have to deal with what's going on in your mind
Yeah, that is exactly it. For instance, people with OCD may look fine and feel physically ok, but that does not mean they are healthy. They are still locking the door 42 times a day and counting all their socks. Eating disorders are no different. They really shouldn't even be called Eating Disorders, because they are not about food at all. The eating problems are just the *visible* symptom of the actual disease.
So it's almost irrelevant to say there isn't really a problem because you still look ok and can function. The actual disease happens in your head, in your thoughts and emotions about yourself. As soon as you start starving or purging, that's just a symptom that the illness is already there (and probably has been for a while.)
 

Diana

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When I became anorexic it did become noticeable to people and they approached me about it. I "still" was convinced that everything would be OK. I told them not to worry. I didn't believe that I would let it get so bad. I could pull myself out of it if need be. I'm serious. I mean a whole group of my friends confronting me - one of them crying. But, I was getting good grades in school, etc. So, I can understand how hard it is for someone with no physical symptoms that are noticeable to the public. Just a "funky lifestyle". But, I think you know that you should get help. It can get out of your control and do some real damage. I hope for you that it doesn't, but it still can't hurt to deal with the feelings that have made you begin ed behaviour in the first place.
 

Eunoia

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no offense taken David- and yes you're right, it's rationalization to make it be ok. I don't know how else I can explain all these years w/ ed's otheriwise. I'd go insane. I mean how can something be wrong if everything is so "ok" right now, right? do I fear change? hell yes. I don't know how to live a life w/out this. I really truly don't remember being ok w/ food, not feeling this way, liking myself for who I am. I'm not trying to not put in the effort in going and gfinding help, but it's so much more than effort if all I can remember is this, if all I can turn back to is this, if I don't know how else to live. And why create a mess if noone knows, if things are ok to some extent.
I'm not so much afraid that people will laugh in my face, than that they either won't understand but most importantly that they will loose hope in me. that they will look at the past and see it all as a lie. b/c that's what I see it as. so I don't know how I could expect people to "understand" if they have to question who they know as the me. dealing w/ the feelings that got me here in the 1st place- I totally know what you mean Dianna. that's what's the never ending cycle. coming back to those feelings/issues and not being able to deal w/ them.
sea swirl- funky lifestyle. interesting way of putting it but true. not desirable but no other way (or so it seems). feeling that sense of accompishment after going w/out food or purging. being able to control things one way or the other. I think over time this has taken a toll in the way that I don't know who the real me is anymore, what's normal and what's not and it's scary. "feeling worth the care and attention" deep down is difficult. If I were happy w/ myself I wouldn't be at this point, right?
 

Sea Swirl

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Eunoia said:
I don't know how to live a life w/out this.
I really truly don't remember being ok w/ food,
Yeah, I hear that. Me too. My personal belief is that when you have a background like that and once you have an ed, you never really become normal and "ok" with food. You just get help, deal with the issues as much as you can, and recover as much as you can. You learn to live by healthier behaviors, and hopefully feel better about yourself. So I guess you *strive* for normal and ok, but if you've never had a normal relationship with food in your life (and I gather a lot of people with EDs haven't. I sure haven't), you have no normal to get back to or even to compare your life to.
So... I hope you won't equate getting help with being turned into Susie Lollipop Normal, because you don't have to be her to be healthy. You can be yourself, actually learn a lot more about who you really are, and just channel your ED energy into something more productive.
Keep in mind, too, that worrying about staying in shape and watching what you eat is not actually a "bad" behavior. It's something almost all people, especially women, do, and there is a way to do it in moderation that does not hurt your body. Like a lot of disorders, EDs just take regular behaviors and pull them way out of proportion. So getting help doesn't mean that you'll have to be abandoning everything you do now and becoming fat or something. You can be in shape, be a healthy weight, and look good and LIKE the way you look, *without* having an eating disorder.
You just need to learn how, and the best way to do that is to get an objective party (like a therapist) involved.
that they will look at the past and see it all as a lie. b/c that's what I see it as. so I don't know how I could expect people to "understand" if they have to question who they know as the me.
Yeah... that is one of the harder things to deal with, that people won't look at you the same. Maybe it would help to look at it from the outside. Think of someone you've really liked and respected for many years, like a parent, teacher, coworker, or close friend, and then imagine how you would feel if you found out that person had an eating disorder. (Or some other similar, self destructive issue. Cutting, maybe.)
If you really cared about the person, would you really view him/her as having lived a lie? Would you feel personally betrayed in some way? Maybe you would feel somewhat relieved because you finally know the truth about the person..? Or perhaps it finally puts an *end* to the "lie"?
There is a great saying that goes:
"No matter how far you have traveled on the wrong road... Turn back."
It's one thing to have lived a lie in the past, because you can't change that, but the future can be truth if you want it to be.
Also, remember that there are probably a LOT of people in our lives that have eating disorders and other issues happening right now. I'd bet there are people you know who have bulimia (or have had it in the past) and they've just hidden it from you. You may find that once you get help, you'll discover "the truth" about other people, too. Many people just don't want to be the first one to admit it.
feeling that sense of accompishment after going w/out food or purging. being able to control things one way or the other.
Yeah... See, that is really useful energy that could be put toward making a better life for yourself. You don't have to trade it in or "lose" your sense of control - just learn to invest it into something healthy. If you can have the discipline to have an eating disorder, then therapy should be a snap. (I always thought therapy was WAY easier than starving, purging, etc.)
I think over time this has taken a toll in the way that I don't know who the real me is anymore, what's normal and what's not and it's scary. "feeling worth the care and attention" deep down is difficult. If I were happy w/ myself I wouldn't be at this point, right?

Yes, ed will do that to you. Before you know it, all you are is your anorexia or bulimia, and you become obsessed with it. Getting help can allow you to start exploring who you really are, who you want to be, and why you feel the things you do. It's a start that at least you know that your self image is not very good, and how can you ever be happy when that's the case?
I think you might be at good place now to think about getting some help. As you said, you are still "Ok to some extent," and you haven't done that much damage to your body. It sounds like you're also having some doubts about your eating disorder (Else you wouldn't have come to a forum like this... right?).
All that would happen would be that the person would ask you some questions about how you feel about things, and your family and stuff. That's not too hard, eh?
 

Diana

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"No matter how far you've travelled on the wrong road...turn back." Nice, Sea Swirl. I really like that saying.
Yes, Eunoia considering what you put yourself through every day, it's not too hard to answer a few questions. Then you can consider if you want to continue with therapy or not. When I first went, they had me answer a questionnair by myself. It was really long, and some of it was on a computer, but I kind of like doing questionnairs. I find them interesting. And after that, they didn't pigeon hole me or put any labels on me. They just talked to me about my answers and asked me a few more questions -said it looks as though I have an ed, that I've been depressed in the past, etc. Then, they told me what kind of help was available and asked me if I was interested in setting up an appointment. This was at a university clinic, and I'm not sure about every therapist's method, but I think you'll find that they won't pressure you. You just have to talk, which can be hard enough, but a therapist understands how hard that can be.
 

Eunoia

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I read this quote once by a drug addict- it was something along the lines of "If one wants to stop, you have to know for what."

If you don't have a reason to change then any effort to do so is wasted. If you don't know why you're actually trying to stop and you don't know for whom you're trying to do so, and everything in the future seems unknown- then how can you truly try to get better. I know all of you are probably screaming out all the negative side effects of ed's...and I am not blind to those or oblivious. Nor do I mean to be stubborn. But this is a comment for everyone, that there is a point in your life where you somehow find enough courage, motivation, and willpower to change your habits (no matter what they are) b/c you have a reason. There has to be a reason. If it would only be a matter of knowledge then any anorexic or bulimic w/ knoweldge about their ed would change, if it were only a matter of effort- then what about all the effort it takes out of you to do what you do when you have an ed. If it is a matter of being scared of the unknown then how could that really be if you're taking your life in your own hands and making a change, you know what will happen. Is it fear? Shouldn't one be scared of starving or binging or purging? Those aren't normal, so what is there to fear about returning or finding "normal". I guess this is a general comment about finding the reason to change. If anyone has any answer to that from their own personal experiences or general insight please feel free to say so.
 

Diana

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That's a tough one for me to answer, Eunoia. Some people try to change their habits because of their children, family memebers, spouses, parents, friends, etc. I think that the most change happens when you really want it for yourself. But, I guess you're asking why someone would want that change. What is the motivation? I'm not sure exactly, but I remember when it finally hit me that I had a real problem. I looked at myslef in the mirror before I took a shower, and it just hit me like a ton of bricks. Of course, this was after being told by my parents and friends that I needed help, and I agreed to seek help, but I still didn't see it as much as they did until this moment. I don't think you need a specific, one answer reason to really want to change. I think that deep down inside all of us as human beings we know when we are doing something wrong to oursleves. Unfortunately, many of us have to hit close to the bottom before we can shock ourselves into realizing this. It sounds to me like you have a wonderful and fortunate opportunity to help yourself before you go that far "down the road". Perhaps it's more difficult to convince yourself to get help when you still look fine, and other people aren't aware of your problems. However, it seems to me that you are aware that there is a problem and you're already asking for advice about how to solve it. You should be proud of yourself, because denial is a huge part of ed's and it's easy to disguise things from yourself and sometimes from others. For example, in my case I wasn't a binger or purger, and I did eat something every day. Maybe this is why it was easier to convince myself that I would be OK. But, at 85 pounds I obviously wasn't.
Sorry, this is getting long so I'll try to sum this up. In the relationships forum, there's an interesting conversation going on over what "happiness" is. People want to be happy, and maybe that is enough motivation to want to change. But, change for whoever you want - your family, friends, etc - as long as you're also truly changing for yourself. I know this doesn't give you a clear cut answer. Sorry for rambling with my thoughts.
 

Eunoia

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I don't think change will happen unless it is for oneself. you can try and change for other people, but I at least feel like I am living this life in a lot of ways b/c of other people- one reason why it seems so "wrong" to get help is b/c then others would be upset, disappointed etc. and that's not what all of this is for. I understand that maybe I am not 100% content but then again who is? I am happy w/ the way things are going b/c it's been such a long time that another life doesn't even seem a possibility. yes I may lack energy or have other side effects, but you guys know what it feels like not to eat, or to purge, or to go for that run and run away forever and ever until you're out of breath. or seeing your bones in the mirror. how a comment about the way you look can elevate you to cloud 9 and then right away you're asking: so what did I look like before? fat? people don't want to call this a lifestyle, it may not be such a conscious decision but I think after some time that's exactly what it becomes. yes, it's a problem in general, I agree w/ that, but that doesn't mean that one can't find some kind of balance in this craziness.

do I really look fine? if I can't even understand what I truly look like (b/c all I see is fat and disgust) how can I judge whether I look fine or not? am I oblivious to the ever dropping #'s on the scale, bones sticking out, discoloration of teeth (coffee must be the reason why), low energy, lethargic behaviour, mental hell that I go through every time I see food, sit down to look at the way I look, fear being looked at b/c all they can see is fat. are people aware of problems? don't I just ignore their comments about what I am eating/not eating/will have for lunch/had to eat etc... yes, obviously there's comments but after years of ed's you learn to come up w/ a "right" response. and that's what I mean: I can't see that other end. I can't even imagine not living a life like this.
People may call this a problem, but even though I may know realistically what's normal and what's not, for myself this is normal. I can be objective and tell you what's ok and what's not but those standards are not the ones I measure myself w/.

I am lost. I admit that. I know things are "different". But I am not at that point to go get help, b/c I see it as ok in the long run. I see this as me and that's all I can see when I look at the past. I live w/ the consequences but also w/ the fulfillment of accomplishments and sucesses that are sucesses to me. I never came to these boards to ask to change all of this...but that doesn't mean I don't have questions or am not pondering about ed's in general. Seriously,
what does it take for people to understand and see what others see b/c I don't see it. (previous post of mine- ie. quote I once read). pls don't think that I am trying to rationalize this or don't want to put in the effort of recovery....but I am not even at that point of understanding what's going on, I am not willing to loose all of this. I'm not. This is all I have.
 

Sea Swirl

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I understand that maybe I am not 100% content but then again who is? I am happy w/ the way things are going b/c it's been such a long time that another life doesn't even seem a possibility...
I agree w/ that, but that doesn't mean that one can't find some kind of balance in this craziness.
Yeah, I understand what you mean. Nobody is perfect - a lot of people aren't even close to "happy," and it's easy to point out their problems and not have to be the one to deal with it. A lot of people do have "bad habits" or what might be considered an unhealthy lifestyle, and they live and survive, sometimes longer than the "healthy and happy" people, even.
I mean, 25% of people smoke, and that is substance addiction and intentional poisoning of your own body on a daily basis. (Sometimes an hourly basis !) Compared to a person who is underweight, and purges once or twice a week and exercises a lot, smoking seems "worse." I'm not saying it's good to have an ed, but I must agree with you on the lifestyle aspect of it, that we all have a particular lifestyle that may often include unhealthy behaviors. For instance, a lot of us know people who drink every day, get vomiting drunk on the weekends, and still manage to keep jobs and support themselves and maybe even have successful marriages. This is not absolutely healthy behavior, but it's the choice people have made, and if they can find the "balance" you mention, they can survive it. It's always best to change for the better, make the healthy choice, be the best you can be... but who actually does everything right? And isn't it ultimately about freedom to choose how you want to live. And is one form of "bad" behavior any more deserving of critique than another?
I say NO.
And you are right, it has to be your choice to get help, no matter what the problem is.
do I really look fine? if I can't even understand what I truly look like (b/c all I see is fat and disgust) how can I judge whether I look fine or not?
I think Diana made a great point earlier, that "it" just never hit her until one random day. It probably took me about 10 years to realize how thin I had been. I had got down to about 105 (I am 5'7") and at the time I really didn't see myself as thin. I just felt average - not fat or thin. It's only been in the years since that my weight has fluctuated so much and I've been able to compare myself at different weights and see what I think is thin or fat.
I've realized that people have vastly different ideas about what "fat" and "thin" mean, things that are impossible to make sense of, and so I have to ignore them and make my own decisions about what I want to look like, and what I think looks good. BUT... this is something I never could have done 5 or 10 years ago - it had to happen in its own time, and all the harassment from my family and peers turned out to be counterproductive, if not totally useless. I think now that only *acceptance* from them really would have made a positive difference.
But I am not at that point to go get help, b/c I see it as ok in the long run. I see this as me and that's all I can see when I look at the past... I never came to these boards to ask to change all of this
eghh... Ok, so I need to apologize and eat some crow here. I did drop that idea in first. I did not mean to put words in your mouth. I really overstepped. I'm sorry. (What was I thinkin'? Everybody bonk me on the head, please.)
I guess the best thing I can say would be... If you're not ready now, that's ok. It's dumb if people to think they can convince you to get help.
It could be that sometime in the future your life will change, or something will happen that may encourage you to seek help, and I hope that will be the case. But if not - yeah, most people really aren't happy (actually most people I know are miserable and can't admit it) and most people do have problems and just obsess about one thing instead of another. It's a pretty high standand you must set for yourself to go above "the crowd"... Not easy. I read it in the quote sticky, that you have to want to fly badly enough to give up being a caterpillar forever.

In short ... I agree ! No matter the controversy that may result !

(Waving down waitress.)
"Another piece of crow pie here !!"
 

Eunoia

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ok so I wanted to edit this post but I couldn't b/c you can't once a reply is posted. lol. ok, so basically what I wanted to add was this:

-I am not trying to encourage this behaviour
- I see this as me and that's all I can see when I look at the past- (continuation): I used to be bulimic 24/7- that is all who I was. Then I somehow stopped but I hated the way I looked and felt- the void was still there. And then I went into anorexia. And now I am in a state where I don't eat a lot or enough and if I do eat (a lot) I will purge it. I have lived like this since so long, too long to understand what normal is. So I created my own. I can't think of what it may be like not to live like this, b/c I am hopeless that there is any other way b/c I've tried. And I've suceeded and then before I knew it I was back at the same point. It's never ending. It's the only thing that sticks w/ you. I am obsessed w/ anything that is related w/ food. It changes every aspect of your life.
 

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