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Bulimia and Ipecac Syrup


Hello Iggy and everyone,
I'm getting my back up about the tone of some of the responses to Iggy ("Be responsible" and "You're being very childish", etc.). Here's the thing: we're all on this site because we're struggling. If a pain-pill head on this site got that sort of chiding, that sort of judgmental "Why do you keep doing something stupid to yourself?" stuff, they'd probably look elsewhere for help, and I for one am still glad, still grateful, that Iggy chooses to continue posting.
They are insidious. They are baffling. They will hurt us, and the people around us.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I hope we can all...well...rally to help. Most of us understand the logic-defying compulsion to pop pills, even when they are making us physically sick...and any other self-destructive compulsion is the same. The same. Whether it's cutting oneself or being a sex-addict or an alcoholic or an anorexic...the choice of substance/focus for an addiction simply, and in the end, doesn't matter. What's important, at least in my humble opinion, is wanting to understand, heartfully and with sympathy, the *compulsion* *itself*.
Arrggh. I'm a little upset, though I shouldn't be. Iggy, I'm worried about you, as is everyone else who reads your postings. If our responses sound angry or chiding, it's because we are worried, but don't yet know enough about anorexia and bulimia to understand it, and I guess that's the first step. We want to understand; I know I do. Maybe it is just that anger is a secondary emotion, one that masks the more basic and helpless emotion (fear). Reading your posts, I (like others I suspect), feel afraid, and so we get mad! I want to help you and I don't know how.
Even as I type, there's a book next to me-- Caroline Knapp's, "The Merry Recluse," in which there's an essay entitled "Food as Enemy: The Anatomy of an Eating Disorder"...I wish you'd check it out. She says, among other things, "Normal eating came to mean guilt, failure. It ceased to be an option. So I clamped down, stopped eating altogether, or tried to. And in the process, I stopped having people in my life-- and the risks associated with them-- too. Trying to keep food at a distance was a metaphor for trying to keep other things at a distance: people, feelings, vulnerability."
As a recovering opiate-head, that really rings true to me. If you spend all your time focusing on an addiction, it crowds out all the time you have for other things, and that isn't altogether unpleasant. In fact, for me, that was part of the appeal: knowing that my addiction defined me, gave me things to do in a day, y'know? It was only when I looked back at the last few years of my life, and realized how unhappy I was, that I sat up one day and realized that I no longer wanted to be defined by my addiction. And that was key. That was key. I don't know whether that helps at all...
I do know that a food addiction must be so very different from another kind of compulsion. I mean, I can avoid liquor stores, and I can throw out pills and not buy anymore. You walk in a house, any house, and there it is. All this by way of saying that I respect your struggle. It must be so hard.
Now, onto the tylenol. If you understand it correctly, you take it just to have something to take? That reminds me of the part in Augusten Burrough's memoir about quitting drinking (and drugging) where he said that he was taking three of four Advil at a time because "It was the only thing I *could* take." I felt the same way the first week off opium, where I was taking handfuls of Kava Kava, just because I *could*! Is all this making sense? Also, you take tylenol because your stomach hurts. Is that because you're hungry? It's just....well tylenol is the very worst sort of replacement. I'm hoping that in the long run, you'll take your problem very seriously and replace a bad compulsion (tylenol-taking) with a good one (telling s friend what's going on, watching a good movie...just something healthy). But in the meantime, at the very least, can you pop something less damaging to your liver? Kava Kava?

I did just read today, in the local (SLC) paper, about a women who died as a result of anorexia. I also read that the average time to recuperate from the disease is seven years. And I think of my old babysitter, who was such a sweetheart and friend for many years...she's thirty now, and has battled anorexia since she was sixteen. As of today, she weighs about 75 lbs, and it got to where I was afraid she'd have a stroke while driving my kids to the park. She quit working for me a few years ago, and I have to say I was relieved. It had just gotten so bad...I never knew how to help, at all. She was just in the grip of her demon. Then you have Caroline Knapp, along with countless others, who beat her addiction, who lived to tell about it.
Man I talk a lot.
Please keep posting; you're safe here.




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