A woman in America stands poised to release a very dark secret about American life, and she wants to save lives, she wants to speak up. But at the moment she must keep her identity anonymous as she has an 8 year old son she needs to protect from all this. Maybe later, when he is older, he can understand. For now, this story is for you, adult Americans, and it's about
We often think that only women suffer from that eating disorder known as bulimia. But this woman, let's call her Mrs. X for now, she has lived through male bulimia and she watched her husband die from it. Let's listen to her voice here:
"You see, my husband died of bulimia 8 years ago this summer. Our son was 7 months old and will never know the man whose genes so astonishingly shape his body and personality. Oh, the autopsy and his friends say he died of a heart attack -- but I know that his heart gave in to the distorted and disrupted electrolytes and dehydration of male bulimia. This is a hidden secret in America. We must bring it out into the open and try to heal lives."
Mrs X adds: "Just after our son was born, my husband's friends petitioned me to set up an intervention. He was drinking again and it went from a glass to a bottle within a month. With infant in hand, I scoured the internet for recovery centers. There was NOT ONE that would take a male with dual addictions of alcohol and bulimia. One would take women with alcoholism and bulimia, another men with bulimia but not alcohol and countless would take male alcoholics but not those with dual addiction."
"His bulimia was a secret and few if any of his friends knew. It was never discussed. Our attempts to intervene were all for naught and his untimely death would be the ultimate end to that devastating disease."
"Bulimia is shaming and shame-driven. Even more so for men than women. In the 12 years since I stepped into the world of male bulimia, the book "Born Round" by New York Times food critic and restaurant reviewer is the first public mention of the hidden disease. He apparently suffered from it, too."
Here is a man serving as a soldier with the US forces in the Middle East, Iraq in fact. He says:
"To anyone listening, I am currently deployed in Iraq with the army and I have an eating disorder. Bulimia to be exact. I have suffered for more years than I can count and I need help. Unfortunately, I can not tell anyone in the army because I would be discharged for having mental problems. I came into the army because I thought I could get away from the addiction of bulimia but to my dismay it has followed me here also. I have been researching self-help books, online chat groups, and so forth but unfortunately I have been restricted access to online chat groups for security reasons. And until now have not been able to contact anyone. If there is anyone in your organization that would be willing to help me just by contacting me and giving me direction considering my situation I would appreciate it. Anything would be helpful. Thank you."
Mrs X says: "We need to make it known to men suffering from bulimia and anorexia that they are not alone -- that there is a way out. We need to change the way the medical community addresses this disease."
If anyone out there is listening, in the vast vast blogosphere, do leave a comment and a contact address below.