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If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.



Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.


This story is my attempt to bring understanding to this painful, desperate and all too common experience in the life of a bulimic woman. It could be triggering.  I wrote this because articulating the extent of a bulimic episode in detail can help a woman know she can be understood and accepted. If she can feel known in her darkest hours, she may experience a new sense of hope and reach for her recovery.

Part 3 Dangerous Sexual Encounter - A Variation on the Previous Option

You’re in the car driving. You can’t think of anyone to call. You still are in the state where you want someone to be glad to be with you and match your energy. Where is this man?

You stop at a bar or a restaurant that has a bar. You walk in and measure the men who might be candidates for what you want. You might have a tiny flash of eye contact. You sit at the bar and don’t look at anyone.

A man or men come forward to talk. One sends you a drink from across the room. You like that. It feels caring and glamorous. You feel that someone has seen you and wants to find you.

You feel unlovable, clumsy, ugly, and awkward. You hope you can be seen as beautiful, desirable and lovable. You want to be held and cherished out of your pain.

Now what?

Depending on how lost you are in your bulimic episode – yes, this is still bulimia even though food is not in the picture right now – you will talk with him. Or you will make out with him in the car in the parking lot. Or you will drive with him to a secluded spot nearby and have sex in the car. Or you will go to a motel for sex.

Or you could go to one of these places and get raped by him or by more than just him if he’s the kind of man who would call his friends to join in. You could feel held while a group of others use you sexually.

If so, you feel hidden and lost by the fervor or grim determination of their actions, numb to any kind of eroticism and hopeful that somewhere in this experience, you will find the sensation you desperately believe you want and need.

You struggle to close down your mind when you feel isolated with these strangers whose voices, bodies and hands are unfamiliar. At the same time, you hope that somewhere in this chaotic, sensual, frightening and exciting mélange is the man who will know you, satisfy you, recognize you, love you and protect you forever. (You are very lucky if you don't get badly hurt.)

(Continued in Part 4)

Full Bulimia Episode Story Sections

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5 (conclusion)

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Written by Joanna Poppink, MFT. Joanna is a psychotherapist in private practice specializing in eating disorder recovery, stress, PTSD, and adult development.

She is licensed in CA, AZ, OR, FL, and UT. Author of the Book: Healing Your Hungry Heart: Recovering from Your Eating Disorder

Appointments are virtual.

For a free telephone consultation, e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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