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Hi, I am a 18-year-old-girl, who is begining to relapse into bulima nervosa. I had it terribly 2 yrs ago, and now I have thrown myself on the other side of the world -trying to find out who I really am, and the stress and the pressure of where I am has re-induced it. I come from Australia and am in England for the year. I know that I am not fat, but like so many other girls I get caught up in comparing myself to other more beautiful and thinner girls. I need something, I don't know what to get over this paranoia. I have a very supportive boyfriend who I know is desperately trying to help me, but I need to be able to help myself as well. Please help me. Thanks, Charlie

Thanks for your note--and as with many of the notes that I receive, I really wish that you were writing under better circumstances. As I know you know, bulimia and the larger issue of body image is sooooo tough. No matter what we know is right--for instance, that what's inside matters the most--we can't ignore the fact that we want to fit into what we believe is the right thing to fit into. I know that I still find myself unfairly measuring myself against a friend who has really skinny legs (I'm a runner, so I always think that I have big legs.) However, the funny thing is that the friend whose legs I admire, admires my arms--so I think that one of the best ways for each of us to deal with our body image problems is to actually to think about what other people think. I know this sounds backwards, but we are our own worst critics and it's funny that when you take the time to share your vulnerabilities with other people, especially your friends, they often see these as your strengths. And vice versa, what we admire in our friends is something that they don't feel quite right about. So sharing is a great release.

As for the issue specifically of bulimia--again, I probably don't have to tell you this, but you are bulimic because you don't like your body, however, the worse thing you can do to your body is be bulimic--you are forcing your body to do something that it doesn't do naturally. A result could be stomach pains or swelling, as well as bloating in your face, etc.... You know all of this--and, therefore, you must also know that if you just let yourself be who you were meant to be, then you will inevitably be happy with yourself. Good luck and write back if you need to or feel like it - best wishes.



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