Sunday, April 19, 2015

Diabulimia -- My Story

By Tressa, Health Guide Friday, January 18, 2008

There's a picture that I keep in a folder in my computer.


I take it out to look at time to time, and although I know the girl in the picture (me at 8th grade graduation), I don't recognize the face that stares back. My eyes are sunken in, collar bone protruding because I'm so emaciated -- I'm a walking skeleton.


And to think that when that picture was taken I thought I looked incredibly overweight. It was two days before my first of what would be six DKAs (diabetic ketoacidosis) in a course of two years


I hadn't planned to write about this just yet. I was going to wait and planned to write about this after a few more blogs -- but since it seems to be circulating around now on this site and in the media as well, I thought that maybe I should share some insight in the dark and twisted life of a diabulimic.


From what I've been reading, it doesn't seem that anyone has really experienced "diabulimia" firsthand -- and honestly this is the first time that I've ever sat down to write about the years that my life were affected by it.


I guess I can't really pinpoint when it all started; it's not like I woke up one morning and thought, "I'm not going to take my insulin today because I want to be thin." in fact I didn't even know that by not taking insulin you could lose weight.


At first I didn't even realize that I was losing weight. It was more like I would put off taking my insulin because I didn't want to inject myself at the lunch table or something like that, and then I'd forget. I didn't put two and two together until the doctors asked me if I was purposely missing insulin to lose weight.


Before that I was doing my best to remember every time, because that's just the way it always was: I just had to take my insulin. When I learned that the reason behind my losing weight was because I was missing insulin, I knew that meant that the moment I started taking the insulin I would gain the weight back. And so the "diabulimia" began.


I was never particularly thin. It's just the way my body is shaped. I carry virtually all my weight in my stomach -- since the day I was born it's been that way. I never really had that great of self-esteem growing up because of it.


Let's face it -- kids can be mean, and I was just an awkward kid so I was easy to make fun of.


So when I started losing the weight it was just too much of a temptation. I found a way where I could eat as much as I want and (so I thought) not have to worry about it. I guess I didn't realize what would happen to me because I had never been in DKA before.


I remember the night before my first DKA. I had to go watch my brother perform in a play and kept trying to eat strawberries, but I felt so sick. I was so thirsty and all I consumed was water and strawberries. I got home and went straight to sleep.


I awoke in the middle of the night and I felt just sick. I knew I needed insulin but I had to use the bathroom and I needed something to drink and I couldn't figure out which one needed to happen first because I felt everything so intensely. I just kept trying to tell myself not to throw up; but that didn't work.

By Tressa, Health Guide— Last Modified: 09/03/13, First Published: 01/18/08