People who are purging tend to go to the bathroom immediately after eating, and use breath mints and bathroom spray to cover the odor of vomit. They get scarring on the finger they bite down on to do self-imposed vomiting and tend to develop dental problems as well. — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA
I didn’t know what to do back then. It was like I was in a state of shock with what I witnessed. I came inside my daughter’s room and there, I noticed that it reeked of puke. The room smelled of rotten food and vomit combined. It was the worst. No wonder she didn’t want me inside it every time I would ask to go in.
Like a typical nosy mother, I searched for the root of the outrageous smell. I searched her cabinets and drawers. None. Nothing out of the ordinary except for loads of chips and baked goodies. She had three or four liters of cola too. I went to her bed and looked under it. There were something under that I couldn’t quite see. It was dark. So, I turned on my phone’s torch light and there I saw, small jars under her bed.
I tried to reach for one and grabbed it from underneath. My back hurt, but it’s normal since I am already in my fifties. Still, my instincts told me to check those jars even if it meant my back would be aching. I just didn’t care at that time. My heart was pounding so hard because I knew that something was not right with this smell, these jars, and my darling daughter.
Weight loss sends the message “there is something wrong with me” and promotes a shame based lens for these impressionable teens. — Dawn Delgado LMFT, CEDS-S
To say that I am worried about my daughter at that point is an understatement. I was scared for her. She isolated herself from me, her dad, her friends, and even from her work. This is not her at all and it is scaring me to the highest level. I tried to talk to her, reach out and communicate – maybe she had a heartache or a boyfriend who hurt her. These things could explain her behavior, but her friends told me that she has no such man in her life. And they were also worried for her that she seemed to be distancing from them.
So, when I pulled out that jar, and saw what was inside, I had to compose myself and think. What is this? Why would Cathy do this? What is she going through right now? Why couldn’t she tell me about it? At that instant, I felt that I failed her. I failed as a mother. But God was guiding me and he whispered in my ear – Call Ginny.
Ginny was a guidance counselor at a local high school. She is a childhood friend of mine and I don’t know why, it was divine intervention that I just had to contact her. I told Ginny of what I saw, and she didn’t waste any time. She rushed to the house, good thing it was lunch break, and confirmed my suspicions. “Your daughter is purging. And looking at those food hidden in her drawers, it could be that she is doing the binge-purge cycle. It’s not my expertise, but she may have bulimia. I know a specialist who can help her. You have to bring her there today. Don’t delay this.”
Balancing serotonin levels with nutrition is central to managing the range of symptoms that occur along the eating disorders continuum. — Leslie E. Korn Ph.D., MPH, LMHC, ACS, NTP
I had to lie to my daughter that day and told her that I was very sick, and she needed to bring me to the doctor. It was a doctor, but she was for her. My baby was so angry at me, but I had to do something. She was ten pounds underweight, very haggard and dry, and so afflicted by this mental health disorder. I cannot just stand by and watch my daughter kill herself by vomiting the food she eats.
Right now, my daughter is three months in her cognitive-behavioral therapy treatment program. There are some changes, but I know that she is not completely healed yet on the inside. In time, I am sure, that she will fight her demons and love herself again.