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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.

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 Bulimia episode: heading into a storm

Days One through Seven of a Ten Day Bulimia Episode

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

Bulimia before recovery work:    Trigger: Your roommate goes out of town for a week.

Day One
You are on your own. You like the freedom. The apartment is all yours at last. Yet you feel the apartment is less familiar. You feel you are somewhat of an intruder and are getting away with something. You eat dinner in the living room in front of the TV. You don't clean up. You binge and throw up your roommate's ice cream.

Day Two
You continue to eat in the living room while watching TV. You leave your dishes on the coffee table and food wrappers on the floor. You drop your clothes and papers where they fall. You leave food and open food packages scattered on the kitchen counter.

Day Three
You don’t notice that you avert your eyes to the mess that is building. You do not see the turmoil you are creating.

Days Four to Six
You feel lonely, disgusted, helpless and despairing. You eat to comfort yourself, and you feel fat and ugly. You binge and throw up more often throughout the days and nights.

Day 6 p.m. or Day 7 a.m.
The night before your roommate returns you clean up in a panic. Maybe you clean up the morning of the day she is returning. You scrub down the bathroom and wonder if you missed any evidence of your vomit on the walls or floor.


Day 7 continued Your roommate returns. You attempt to act like a normal person. You feel like a fraud. You feel anxious that she will notice something odd, something you missed in your clean up frenzy. If she makes a comment, like, “Oh, I’m so glad I have some ice cream,” you feel sick and relieved.

She doesn’t know you binged and purged her ice cream. She doesn't know you replaced the container. She certainly doesn’t know you meticulously ate just enough of that replacement container ice cream so it would appear to be the original. You feel sick and lonely.

You feel removed from her, this person you believe you can fool so easily. She becomes less real in your eyes. You become less real to yourself. You want to withdraw. You probably leave. You don’t ask her about her experiences while she was away.

Day 7 continued
You tell her you have to be someplace (anyplace) and head out the door. Once on your own you feel quick relief, then anger and then anxiety. You head for your nearest binge supplier: Chinese restaurant, fast food place, bakery, ice cream or frozen yogurt shop. All the while you are figuring where and how you can purge quickly after you binge because you are not ready to go home.

(Episode continues in Part II and leads to sexual encounters that could be dangerous.)


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


Joanna Poppink, MFT, is a psychotherapist in private practice specializing in eating disorder recovery, stress, PTSD and adult development.
She is licensed in CA, AZ, OR, FL, UT. Author of 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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