eating disordered nurses

  1. I am not exactly sure what I want to say, but I was wondering if there is anyone else out there that struggles in this area.

    I am a nursing student with one year completed. I have struggled for the past 10 years with an eating disorder, anorexia and bulimia. This is not something I want to continue. I hate the comments from people regarding my size (have a BMI of 16), and yes I do want to gain weight/get stronger. I am not actually physically compromised, lab results are fine and such. But I do realize it may just be a matter of time if I don't stop before my K+ drops too low.

    I do not talk about this with anyone in my program, although they may suspect. I do very well in school this issue has somewhat hindered my study habits, but not to the point of being in danger of not passing.

    I guess I am just afraid, I thought that I would have gotten things under wraps by this time. I don't want to go to my pinning knowing I am a fraud, about to embark on a career where I will be providing care for others and am not giving that to myself.

    So again, I don't know what my point really was other than to reach out and see if there was anyone out there that relates or has some advice. I apologize for using the forum as a sounding board, but I feel so alone in this.
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    About freetobeme

    Joined: Sep '06; Posts: 2

    13 Comments

  3. by   TheCommuter
    I actually have a problem that's opposite of yours, as I have Compulsive Eating Disorder. I eat for reasons other than hunger.....and I feel for you.

    Compulsive Eating Disorder is much more common than anorexia and bulimia, yet it doesn't get the attention it deserves.
  4. by   freetobeme
    Quote from TheCommuter
    I actually have a problem that's opposite of yours, as I have Compulsive Eating Disorder. I eat for reasons other than hunger.....and I feel for you.

    Compulsive Eating Disorder is much more common than anorexia and bulimia, yet it doesn't get the attention it deserves.
    Oh but it is exactly the same. It just manifests itself in different ways. It is the feeling of being out of control, about the insanity in our head that drives it. The unexpressed emotions, the old pain, everything. We are the same, just wearing different outfits.
  5. by   Sassybottom
    It does seem as though there are a lot of nurses who fall prey to eating disorders - be it anorexia, bulimia, or compulsive eating. I remember when I was going to school there were a couple of girls who were suspected of suffering from eating disorders.

    I wonder why this is ...
  6. by   emllpn2006
    I to suffer from a range of eating disorders. I say range becouse when things in my life are going well and I feel in control I am anorexic. I will go for days maybe eating a slice of cheese. When things are bad in my life I will eat and eat constantly. I have done this my whole life. When I was young I refused to eat for days and the doctor told my mom not to worry about it I would eat when I got hungry. Then after high school I quit eating almost all together and my weight dropped to about 100 lbs. After my first wedding and a miscarriage I started eating and did not stop and my weight blooned to almost 250lbs. During nurrsing school I stopped eating and lost over 50 lbs in less than a year. Now that school is over and I am having trouble finding a job I have gained almost 50lbs in the last 2 months.
  7. by   Chopchop11
    I spent 45 minutes writing a response to your post, and kept reading and re-reading and then I realized that my reply was way too complicated. Whatever your disorder is, anorexia, bulimia, CED, BED, etc. it doesn't matter.

    I'm also a second year nursing student who suffered from anorexia from the ages of 15-22. (I'm now 36). I think the most important thing to realize is you are NOT alone!!! I was in two inpatient programs for anorexia when I was a teenager, and while the staff was amazing, what I remember was the feeling that all of the really isolating feelings I was having weren't unusual.

    You wrote in your post that "I feel so alone in this", and I don't think it has to be that way. Look for support groups- they sound cheesy, but it's amazing the strength you get from listening to people who had the same seemingly debilitating issues during the week that you did. As far as your role as a nurse, the argument can be made that since your health has not yet been compromised, the care will not be compromised. What I'll say is, that you're going to be an amazing nurse, because just in posting your thread you've shown amazing care and commitment to your profession. Please, don't let the irony be that you care so much for others and so little for yourself. The issues of control and the feeling of "voidness" need to be addressed, and I would say fixed, because you, like so many people battling various eating disorders, are complex, intelligent and remarkable people that deserve to give themselves a chance to be happy.

    You spend a lot of time in class figuring out how to teach and advocate for your patients, so try and take time to do that for yourself. You deserve to be 100% for both yourself and them.
    I hope the very best for you, and I hope that you're able to heal yourself the way you'll heal others!!:kiss
  8. by   twinmommy+2
    Oh hunny, you're not a fraud in any way. Nurses are well known for taking care of others and not themselves. Some smoke, drink, addictions, over or under eating, stress, you name it. Thats not downplaying your illness at all, its just a fact. Medical professionals are some of the worst patients lol.

    I hope and pray you seek help for this because it doesn't seem like somehting you can tackle on your own. Good luck to you!
  9. by   Jolie
    I suffered from anorexia as a teen, long before most people even knew what the word meant.

    Fortunately, I was able overcome my disorder, and now lead a healthy life.

    I IMPLORE you to seek treatment from your family physician, school health center, or local health department. All have excellent resources that can help you to overcome this so that you may avoid potentially serious health problems in the long term.

    You sound like a wonderful young woman with so much potential to help others. Please do the same for yourself!

    As a side note, my mom and both of my sisters have also battled eating disorders. I firmly believe that there are both genetic predispositions, and environmental issues that contribute to their development, and I'm doing my best to help my own girls develop healthy eating habits, and positive self-images.

    Best to you!
  10. by   Coloradogrl
    DONT FEEL LIKE A FRAUD!
    I have suffered from a ED since I was 12 & that is 1 thing I really battled with when I decided I wanted a career as a nurse I tell myself atleast every other day that I am going to tell people to "live a healthly lifestyle" when I have never maintained one!

    I have fond that people that suffer from ED's tend to be the best at taking care of other people...its ourselves that we let fall beside the roadside.

    I will keep you in my thoughts and if you ever need to talk feel free to PM!
  11. by   adrienurse
    As a nurse with a mental illness, I'll tell you you're not alone. It does make our job more challenging, but there are many nurses with many different problems that do fine. Find your strength in them. Take care of yourself
  12. by   meownsmile
    YOu got it twinmommy,, exacctly what i was thinking.
  13. by   mixyRN
    Quote from twinmommy+1
    Oh hunny, you're not a fraud in any way. Nurses are well known for taking care of others and not themselves. Some smoke, drink, addictions, over or under eating, stress, you name it. Thats not downplaying your illness at all, its just a fact. Medical professionals are some of the worst patients lol.

    I hope and pray you seek help for this because it doesn't seem like somehting you can tackle on your own. Good luck to you!
    So true! My primary care doc knows all about my past issues and when I asked him, in his opinion should I not pursue nursing b/c of my past problems and he said to the contrary, it will make me a better nurse b/c I can empathize with the patient!
    Hang in there hon, you are NOT alone! :icon_hug:
  14. by   royr
    I feel that you can indeed give excellent care to others. Who knows a heath problem better than someone who lives with it day by day? I did not even realise that I myself have an eating disorder until I became a nursing student. It seems that, according to one of my teachers, getting up in the middle of the night, leaving the house and "sleep eating" and returning home to bed non the wiser is in fact an eating disorder. I have been doing this for years and never realized it until my wife, helping me study for a midterm exam said - hey - you do that when you are stressed out - and I follow you around to keep you safe. She said she never realized that I was asleep when I do that until about 10 years ago, about a year after our marriage, she was helping me get undressed and back into bed and I said - leave me alone lady - I'm married now! and I went to bed with my pants on. I was so surprised - I never knew this until last week. Go figure. Nursing school really teaches you about yourself, no matter how late in life you start.

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