Eating Disorder..

This is my first post here and the reason I am posting is because I feel really lost right now! I am suffering from an eating disorder!

A few years ago I attended dance school and danced with people who obsessed about their weight and were convinced to the core of their being that they were fat, and the were really not… but being around these people continuously who were extremely thin made me look fat and because of this I developed bulimia and suffered for many months. The only reason it stopped was because I left dance school to get away from it and I haven’t danced since… mainly for the fear of becoming sick again. Back then I didn’t go to Church and I had no faith, my parents never brought us and we never even spoke about God, however a year and a half ago God found me. I suddenly started praying once a week, then everyday, then going to Mass and until recently I had an extremely good prayer life.

This year has been an unusual year for me, I moved from England to America with my family to go to school (my parents moved here for my Dads work) so I have had to start my life over and also my Granddad passed away and I had to miss a couple of weeks of school as I went to his funeral which was back in England, so I had a lot of catching up to do when I returned. So I guess I have been in a more vulnerable state than before but my faith stayed strong throughout all of this, and I have been blessed with some good friends in America, even changed my major to Theology and have a fantastic boyfriend who is a strong Catholic and who is extremely prayerful and supportive of me… we even go to mass together many mornings before I go to college.

The problem is that over the last 2 months my obsession with food has been returning, and now it is at a point which is really bad again. I hate the thought of food and I make every excuse I can think of not to eat! If I do eat I don’t eat very much and I make myself throw up afterwards. Not after every meal but most. I also take laxatives and too many painkillers to help me get the food out of my system quicker so that I don’t have time to absorb it. It is making me lose weight definitely but its making my skin, lips and hair dry/cracked, giving me the worst stomach and headaches, and I barely sleep, as well as feeling like I am about to have a heart attack.

Logically I know I don’t want to be like this, or need to do it. I know I am not overweight… I weigh 124lbs and I am 5’4", yesterday I weighed 128.2…and tomorrow I know that if I stand on that scale and I’m not 122lbs I will cry, that’s how quickly I am losing weight.

I know it sounds stupid, immature and self obsessed and people keep telling me that… but that doesn’t stop the problem. I have told my boyfriend and he is trying to help, I have also confided in my best friend who lives in London and my two co-workers as they are also Catholic and good teachers (I still have so much to learn about our faith). These people as amazing and kind as they are is not helping. They too focus on it being a self-obsession and sinful and displeasing to God, and right now while I am feeling okay I know and understand this and completely agree and I KNOW that they are right, but it doesn’t help me to stop!

I have prayed about it but I have to stop praying half way through to throw up, as now my body does it automatically when I think of it. I feel as if it is pulling me away from God… I don’t understand why I suddenly have such a bad body image, or feel the need to do this… I was fine before hand. I’ve had such a good prayer life, going to Mass daily, going to confession, sinning as little as I can manage… yet it comes back when I’m closest to God than ever. Me not being able to understand that is most definitely pulling me away. I don’t want to be away.

I am now in a place where I don’t know what to do… I can’t tell my parents as they will just dismiss it like they did last time, I can’t go to the doctor as I am on my parents insurance and they won’t pay for it, I was thinking about going to my Priest but I don’t want to waste their time… I am fully aware that there are people in situations a million times worse than mine and that I am being selfish even complaining about this and I should be more grateful for what I have… but like I’ve said before even though I KNOW these things it doesn’t change my problem.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, take care.

Please go to your university student health clinic, if there is one. They usually operate on sliding fee scales so even if your parents’ insurance won’t cover this, the fee should be manageable for you. Also, if you are covered under your parents’ insurance, I don’t think you have to ask their permission for treatment. I’m pretty sure you can just take your card in to the clinic.

Please don’t wait. Go tomorrow. This is not stupid, immature, sinful, or self-obsessed (or any of the other unhelpful things people have said to you). This is a dangerous disease and you need treatment. God gave us prayer but He also gave us doctors and mental health professionals. Please make use of them. Don’t hesitate to talk to the priest, either. They’ve heard it all. Perhaps you can receive the Sacrament of the Sick.

praying for you

You may not be able to talk to your parents - but is there another trusted adult you can talk to - another relative, a teacher or counsellor at school? Are you close enough to your boyfriend’s family that you could confide in them perhaps?

Your parents won’t pay for you to see the doctor even though you are sick? Good grief! Maybe get your trusted adult to help you talk to your parents?

In any event if you simply tell them you’ve been vomiting and don’t know why (that’s the truth, anyway), do you think they would take you to the doctor?

My prayers for you in any event.

This is really useful… I don’t know very much about how American schools or doctors work but I will definately go tomorrow and find out… thank you! Also I don’t think the people are trying to be unhelpful… they just don’t understand!

There really is nobody else who I can talk to, hence why I’m here… I do have great people around me though.

I just don’t want this to come between me and God, but it is!

**You are not selfish or sinful!!! Eating disorders are a psychological (or psychiatric?) condition. I have someone in my family who battles anorexia and it is terrible. She, like you, understands intellectually that it is wrong and harmful and could lead to her death. But it’s not about what you know and understand. You need help.

Also, on the faith issue, Satan HATES when we get close to God so he attacks us where we are most vulnerable. If you look at this from that perspective then it makes a lot of sense that it would come back so forcefully now. So, on top of medical help, please find a good spiritual advisor that can guide you through this (and not just tell you how you are “offending” God with your “behavior”).

Feel free to PM me if you would like to speak more personally…

Malia
**

I guess you could say people could be in worse situations, but if you continue on from a physiological stand point you could be in critical danger. I don’t know really where your body is at this point in time, or to what point you could get by the time you get back to a good place; but as you say you feel you could have a heart attack, thing is you could have a heart attack. Lack of food, laxatives, and painkillers can knock your physiological homeostasis into a danger area. If your not there at that point now, you could be soon enough. When you take laxatives and throw up, you can throw your electrolytes out of balance. If your potassium levels get out of whack enough, that’s when your heart can get into irregular rhythems.

Go find yourself some help. Try to get to the university clinic, where they should take you seriously. If no one takes you seriously, don’t stop until you find someone. The fact that you know the problem logically, but cannot help yourself is a red flag that you need help beyond yourself. Don’t worry right now if it’s sinful, right now you are trying to turn from it. Sometimes you need help, it is good you are trying to get it.

We will be praying for you.

All the posts on this thread have said the same as this one and I am just going to agree with it and urge you to follow this advise.

I did see in another post that you said that you were going to go to the clinic, good, that is a step in the right direction!

Eating disorders are so hard to deal with but with the right treatment - note someone who is experienced in treating people with eating disorders, you can overcome them and as you have noticed, they can come back so be prepared to work on this often :).

My prayers are with you as you find the right help for your specific disorder and for the clinic where you will go that they will be able to help you.

Brenda V.

Thank you for all your suggestions, I have just one more question, sorry, does it matter if I see a non- Christian counciller?

Don’t worry about it, your not exactly dealing right now with a moral problem. You want a counciller who has an understanding of eating disorders; if they just want to blow it off, keep looking. It’s not like it’s a counciller who is going to tell you to go ahead with a divorce, which would be wrong from a Catholic perspective.

Maybe once things getting back to normal trying to find a Christian/Catholic might help you by understanding your moral point of view, but right now it’s not important.

I really thing your going on the right track, so even though it is difficult right now, I’m hopeful you’ll get to where you want to be. Pray for God’s grace to see you through, regardless of if it’s sinful or immature, right now you are doing what’s good. To pray to God I’m sure is pleasing to God.

With your grandfather passing away, getting behind in your studies…it was out of your control…but your eating, you can control…

Anyway, yes, you do need to seek attention of professionals…get a doctor to suggest a counselor, and it probably wouldn’t hurt at all for her to be a Christian.

Please drink water.

I will pray for you!

I agree with jman on this one. You are dealing with an eating disorder, you really need to find someone who knows what they are doing with this and the person has to “click” with you, true of any counceler you go to. I am speaking from experience in talking with my daughter.

More prayers for you coming your way :gopray:

Brenda V.

You might like this article:

sojo.net/index.cfm?action=magazine.article&issue=soj0707&article=070722

Hi Dublin,

I just wanted to let you know that if you ever need to talk to someone who understands, please feel free to PM me. I have struggled with anorexia for several years, and while it is more managable at times, it is something I don’t think you can ever fully recover from. Like you, I know intellectually that I’m not fat… I’m 5’5" and only 114 pounds, but the thought never really goes away completely.

Everyone here has given you great advice, and I only have one thing to add. If it is at all possible, get rid of your scale so you CAN NOT check your weight. It will be incredibly hard… I cried so much when my (at that time) boyfriend threw mine out, but it has helped me more than anything. It will help keep you from obsessing over that number, and without the number to worry about, you will hopefully start to notice how bad you feel and start taking better care of yourself. You will be in my prayers! :gopray2: :signofcross:

What I’ve bolded is great advice. I don’t keep a scale in the house for this very reason. I know I will be on it three times daily, keeping track of that number, and that starts off a spiral of other things. If you’re healthy and the clothes you’ve purchased when healthy still fit you, there’s no need IMO to stress about the number.

hugs I understand where you are coming from, as I am bulimic and struggling very hard with both talking to my parents and getting the help I need. I went to treatment a year ago and I HIGHLY recommend it. Please PM me if you need someone to talk to.

I agree with getting rid of the scale. Not hiding it, not storing it, getting rid of it. Trash it if necessary.

Also, I agree with seeing a counselor. This is a psychological illness that needs professional treatment. If you are really bad off, you may need to be admitted to a clinic for treatment and re hydration.

Go through every single food item in your house. Cut away all nutrition facts. If this ruins the original box/package, use tupperware. Never EVER read these again.

Throw away all laxatives from your home. If you want the same effect EAT your fiber. Eat lots and lots of raisin bran, shredded wheat, whole grains, fruits and veggies. These help you loose weight naturally and healthily, while supplying your body with necessary nutrients and minimal calories.

If you are to the point you don’t/can’t even eat…DRINK! Don’t stop drinking. Water, soda, juice, milk, koolaid. Anything. Get medical help NOW if you are at this point. I know, I have been at this point!

Get NEW friends. If your friends are causing you to think you are fat, get NEW friends. If your friends are affecting your self image, then they are not really friends…are they?

Get rid of (or severely limit) media in your home. Stop watching t.v, reading magazines, surfing the internet. The models, actors/actresses can lead negative self image problems.

Certainly keep that beautiful faith! I wish I was so strong in faith when I went through this.

Finally, if you ever need someone to talk to, feel free to PM me. I have been through this before, big time, and know others who have too. It’s not a sin, it is a serious, life threatening illness that needs treated NOW, before it gets worse.

I’ve been worse. 94 pounds and 5 foot 7. Don’t let yourself get there. Stop it while you are still in control. You show control by posting here. :thumbsup:

Wow, sounds like your friends were kind of harsh. Perhaps they were wanted you to get help. In any case, this too shall pass. You’ve already taken a most important first step, which is admitting that you have a problem and seeking help from others. Keep it up! :thumbsup:

Wow, this is such a wonderful idea! Dublin87, please ask your priest for this awesome sacrament. You are suffering from a life-threatening illness and the graces from this sacrament will be a tremendous help to you in your journey to health. :hug1:

Hello all, I do not even know how long ago this thread started but I have a question for anyone who sees this. I am a registered dietitian and truly believe MANY people in our culture are going about “healthy eating” in the wrong way. Not that they mean to, but we are surrounded by a culture that constantly bombards us with ways WE can “eat better, lose weight for good, etc, etc”. We take these tools of making temples of our bodies without consulting God on how we are to use these tools. What about running straight to God about all of this? Do we really think magazines, TV, and books have advice that we can’t discover in God and in his teachings through the Church?

Why do we remove this human act as we many times do with other human acts from the One who created them? We are to live lives pleasing to God and to seek the path that he built for each of us. These paths we so often muck up with addictions to food, sex, and other areas of life that God originally created to bless us with. We take advantage of these blessings unknowingly and knowingly and turn them into something God never meant them to be. Then, for many, we get stuck in a rut of addiction, whether mild or very deep, and we cannot seem to get back to the place before this behavior began. Soon, our blessings from God become out worst nightmares and we try to take these struggles into our own hands. Quite possibly we fail to realize that God is with us through these struggles and wants us to be freed of our bondage and to once again be able to participate FULLY and with thanksgiving in the blessings that He originally created for us. Our culture so often shows us how to take the matters into our own hands and even justifies these acts that are separating us from diving deeper into Christ’s abundant love He desires to bestow upon us.

I feel called to bring others closer to Jesus through their struggles with food. I am in search of programs bringing God and food addictions together. I am seeking Theology of The Body (TOB) teaching to learn more about the blessing that God meant our sexuality to be. If you listen to TOB audio, you will soon see how connected these two struggles are in our society today. I seek to network with others who have reached success by clinging to Jesus and I want to build a program to help those in my local faith community. Please let me know if you know anyone who offers a program or literature like this or if you have any other ideas for me.

Thank you so much!!!

Kimberly

Dublin,

I, too, struggle with an eating disorder… I think the official diagnosis is EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified) since I wasn’t “skinny enough” to be anorexic, but I didn’t purge enough to be bulimic… with that said, I went several months just drinking a few Ensures a week (which, if you have been restricting alot recently and food is making you sick, I recommend you try to drink at least one a day until you can see a counselor and/or a dietician for the nutrition). I struggle daily with the desires to go back to my old behavior patterns, and there have been times that I have been thisclose (space omitted on purpose) to purging the past few months.

Please don’t feel like you’re a bother to your priest!! That is his job, to care for the spiritual welfare of his flock. Even if he can’t give any advise on how to manage this illness, he will give you the sacrament of the sick (if you ask him) and he will pray for you. He might even be able to refer you to a good counselor that you can go to for help in overcoming this acute phase of your illness. I also second the advise, when you are stronger, to go to Spiritual Direction to work on the spiritual aspects of this disease… but right now, your focus should be on the physical and emotional aspects.

I don’t know of any specific patron saint of those suffering with Eating Disorders, but St. Dympna is the patron saint for those with mental disorders. Please know that I am entrusting you to her intercessions. The next time I attend Mass, I will light a candle for you.

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