My name is Deana and I am bulimic

Eating Cake on my second birthday.

There is a sentence I never thought I’d say or write, but it’s true. Looking back at my MIL’s photo album from the last 22 years, I can’t help but see it. My 5’4” frame has varied in weight from 127 – 210 pounds and back again since I was 13. Today, I am somewhere in the high end of the middle. My joints hurt, I tire easily, and my eating disorder has stolen more than I can even count right now.

 I read Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies while I was recovering from my hysterectomy this summer and while I cannot relate to her stories of alcoholism, I can relate to her chapter on bulimia. In that chapter she writes about learning how to feed herself. I read that and realized that I too do not know how to feed myself, physically, emotionally, or mentally. I can relate to her resentment over having anyone control her drinking because I feel the same way about my eating. I have refused groups like Overeaters Anonymous because I don’t want anyone telling me what to eat and when or where to exercise and how.  I’m like a two year old with a “Me do it” mentality. I have gone so far as to ask a friend in OA which “control freak” groups to stay away from so that I could stay in control of myself. I didn’t like his answer and I simply resolved to try harder. I’m failing at it miserably by the way – go figure.

 Seems I live that way a lot. Try harder and it’ll all work out. I’ve been a member of the Al-Anon Family Groups since 1977, you’d think I’d know better but apparently I don’t always.  God and I are working on that.

 Redemption’s Heart is still the main name of my blog.

 Isaiah 43  1 But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;  I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”

You may notice that I added the phrase “Confessions of a Spiritual Bulimic” to my title. I’ve done that because my bulimia has over time become a life mind set; it over flows into everything I do. I binge on whatever it is that feels good or fills me up at the moment only to find that it doesn’t sustain. Filled with shame and guilt, I purge my emotions, my calendar and sometimes my food and vow to do better next time. It simply fits my story.

 For those who’ve been with me since the beginning, you know that Redemption’s Heart does not follow a nice clean churchy path. It is one of starts and stops, highs and lows, mixed with moments of amazing clarity and foggy confusion. I have been rejected by more churches than accepted by; refused baptism by one priest and therefore baptized in a tradition I’ve never belonged to (Episcopal); I’ve met the Maharishi, offered unwitting prayers to Sova (transcendental meditation); met the King of Sweden; believed in the healing power of crystals; studied Wiccan; practiced Tai Chi; read tarot cards as if they were real; contemplated (and eventually rejected) the possibilities of reincarnation; prayed in tongues (yes, I have that gift and will write about it later); prayed with groans when nothing else sufficed; prayed scripture; prayed to saints, dead relatives, God and the Virgin Mary. I have even conversed with Mary in dreams and argued with the devil himself.

 Somewhere in there I married a Missouri Synod Lutheran.

My road has been well-traveled my friends, and I, like St Augustine, know that it is God who has called me by name. When I am tired of listening to my own voice, I remember to get still again and listen to his.

Most of my readers were Lutheran when I first started writing and as a result, mixed with a deep seeded desire to fit in and please, I try to keep my posts what I call “Lutheran Friendly.” Today my readership is mixed. Some of you are Catholic, Baptist, Buddhist, Charismatic, Muslim, Jewish, Wiccan, and even Agnostic. We are an eclectic community in this little slice of cyber space and I am thankful for each and every one of you. I simply ask that in our conversations we stay polite and kind with each other.

 There will be posts and thoughts about God and life that you can resonate with and there will be posts that will probably violate all sensibilities and make you think. I think that is a good thing.

 I’m not here to discuss politics – in or out of church – nor am I here to convince you that I’m correct in my assessments of life or of God. I don’t know all of the million dollar words that makes Christians sound so well-educated.  I’m a traveler in this world, just like you. I’m really here because, well – I’m growing my voice and this seems to be the best way to do that. I’m humbled by the reality that many of you have chosen to join me in this journey.

 I will still review books, offer resource recommendations and talk about my daily life – perhaps ad nauseam some times and in that mix I will share with you my steps, my stumbles, my neuroses, and my prayers.

 Thank you for joining me.

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. All rights reserved. August 12, 2010

6 thoughts on “My name is Deana and I am bulimic

  1. After reading Alexis’s comments, I reread your post. What a picture of the physical interconnecting with spiritual, especially with the symptom of bulimia.
    God has given you quite a ministry with the diverse readership on your platform. Many can relate to a real person who has struggled, especially those who have experimented and tried many things.
    God bless,


    • Thanks Susan — for the longest time I thought my eating disorder was just physical — I was wrong. It really has manifested in many areas. Don’t know that I can minister to anyone — not now anyway in regards to eating, but maybe God can use my sharing who knows.


  2. Thanks Rena — I’ve known about my eating issues for several years now. Most of my bulimia symptoms are overcome which is why I can write about it finally. Now just seemed like the right time. What got me was when I started inventorying it all against the screen of my life — the midset and behaviors really do carry over into other things, that surprised me.


  3. Admission to an issue is the first step to correcting a problem. Now I am off to put bandaids on my toes…your words stepped on them several times. Thank you for doing it.


  4. Deana….good writing kiddo. I was impressed. Loved the way you stated your bulimia has affected how you manage everything….binging on what feels good and then purging the guilt. Made me stop and think if I do that or not. I have decided I don’t. ha. But your article was very thought providing. I loved it. Alexis


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