Eating disorders

David

Male
Age at interview: 22
Age at diagnosis: 19

Brief outline: David has experienced bulimia for the past eight years. He has learnt to manage his eating and bingeing and purging is no longer a habit. He feels seeking help for men with eating disorders should be made easier; with more specific information available for them.

Background: David is 22 and works as personnel coordinator. He is single and lives with his parents.

Audio & video

When David was growing up, big family meals were an important part of family life. David says he always had a good appetite but being sporty and active, he “used to get away with” eating a lot. During teenage years, he got less interested in doing sport and started eating more unhealthy foods. After a while, he became conscious of having become “chubby” and decided to go on a diet. The positive comments he was getting about his weight loss and appearance spurred him on to lose more weight.
 
After a one-off incident of making himself sick, David stopped dieting and instead, made himself sick, “gorging and purging” then became a daily habit. David found it easy to hide it from his family and in the workplace. Gradually bulimia became a part of his routine; he would eat similar foods at similar times every day. He was racked with guilt but being able to eat his favourite foods without putting on weight kept the habit going. After a couple of years, David started thinking the behavior was not right and went to see his GP. The GP was great, giving him information and offering to refer him but David decided not to pursue it further.
 
David says he doesn’t want to feel like “a burden” on others which has made it difficult for him to seek help over the years. He also says that there is so little information and awareness about eating disorders in men that it is hard to bring up the topic. He says most of the information is geared at women and girls and it is not similarly socially acceptable to talk about eating disorders in men.
 
David has suffered from physical and emotional effects of bulimia. He has come to realise how damaging bingeing and purging can be on the body and he is now at a point where he wants to stop the cycle. When people close to him started saying that he had “gone too far” and was looking ill, it made him stop and take a step back. He realised that it was not a life he wanted. David his good days and bad but purging is not a habit anymore. David says it is essential to be open about your experiences and trust that people close to you really do care.
 

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