B was winning. He had taken over and I was unable to stop him. At first, I thought we would just be friends. I thought we would talk occasionally and that I would call only when I really needed him. He could deliver consolation for the current set of woes, and maybe every once in a while he would drop by for a quick visit and then be on his way. I never imagined things could get so out of hand.
When B started visiting every day, I kind of liked it. There was a certain level of comfort I experienced when he was there. I felt empowered and strong. It seemed as though I had mastered my universe. I finally had control. I was looking pretty good, too – sixty pounds lost in five months and still losing. Everyone said I looked so good. They were all impressed with the transformation. People quizzed me about my secrets to success and praised me for my self-discipline.
I liked the attention. People finally acknowledged me. I no longer felt like just another mini-van mom who let herself go. I looked like my old self again. No baby bulge, a spring in my step, and nothing inside. Empty. The thin, pale shell on the outside reflected that truth, but no one could see it. I hid it with cute clothes and a fake smile. I hid behind chubby babies that clung to every part of me.
“Just watching what I eat and exercising,” I would say to people who asked for the secret of my success. Actually, that part was true. I was carefully recording my food intake and I was exercising. But these were concocted code words designed to hide the ugly truth. “Watching what I eat” really meant that I didn’t eat at all and if I did, I threw it all up within 30 minutes of consuming it. And just to be sure I got everything, I used laxatives, and not just one or two. My body became immune to their effects, requiring that I take more and more. I was up to 30 a day. “Exercising” really meant that I was obsessed. I worked out until I couldn’t move anymore.
I wanted B to leave. I asked B to leave. I prayed so hard every day that God would take B out of my life. What kind of Christian was I, anyway? Did God even hear me? Why would He help someone who was weak enough and sad enough and dumb enough to listen to B? I did it all to myself.
(This is part 2 of a six-part series on Bulimia; if you or someone you know struggles with this disease, please contact myself or Deidra, who wrote these gripping posts…)