I promised my therapist that I would go through my old journals to find out exactly when I mentioned “bulimia” for the first time. I don’t really remember my first encounters with this disorder. There have been SO. MANY.
I used to be a fanatic journaler. I would write pages upon pages nearly every day. It is embarrassing stuff—horrendous poetry, corny lines from songs, a confusing stint where I used the word “shall” indiscriminately. I cut clippings from magazines and saved every semi-sentimental card or email. I cultivated my journal and drew artwork; it was my shrine.
Over the last few months of therapy, I’ve brought these old journals out a handful of times. I remember nearly nothing of the events and emotions I wrote about. I find it hard to trust my own words: was I a reliable narrator?
Regardless, my task today was clear: find the first reference to my ED. It was in 2000, and I wrote that I’d struggled with it for 4 years, but, of course–OF COURSE–that day in March 2000 was going to be my LAST day. While I hadn’t admitted it earlier in print, that entry confirms that I began my foray into this wicked disorder in 1998.
1998. That seems so long ago. I have students who were born that year–I’ve been throwing up for their entire lifetimes. I’ve been in bulimia’s grip for 25 years, more than half my life. It’s consumed 62.5% of my days.