Movie - A Secret Between Friends [Questions about Bulimia]

Although this post is about a movie, I’m really asking a health question that should have a factual answer, so I hope this is the correct forum.

This must be one of the most inaccurate movies ever made about bulimia (unless I am just completely wrong!) Average sized girl learns about bulimia from her friend, starts doing it herself and within months is losing hair, looks like shit, is throwing up blood, is hospitalized. Magically, the movie ends with her being all giggly with her little sister and licking cake/brownie mix out of the bowl. What?!
I know 2 women who have been bulimic: one for 15 years and the other almost 20 years. They are very open (with me) about their conditions and are slowly recovering. Neither one has ever had any of these things happen to them and I just can’t believe that all these things could happen to someone in such a short period of time. Did they just do this to emphasize what could eventually happen or how bad the disease really is? Or are there actual cases where all of these things happened this fast to a bulimic? Even so, the “Lifetime” movie ending negated all of that by falsely (I feel) wrapping it all up and having her recover so quickly and easily. Does anyone have any factual or anecdotal info?

I have edited the title to make the subject clearer.

General Questions Moderator

I know someone personally who died directly from Bulimia as a result of increased potasium (otherwise health 21 year old girl who dropped dead from heart faliure). So yes it can be very serious.

Of course she was otherwise healthy and did not have any of those other symptoms. As with all such things every person’s body reacts differently, it wouldn’t suprise me if there are extreme cases where someones body reacts very badly, in a short period of time.

As to the hollywood ending, thats kinda a given, that any insurmountable, long term, problem that in real life takes years to recover from (if at all), can be over come in time it takes to finish the movie, and everyones lives happily ever after.

Wow, someone else saw this movie? I remember watching it when I was eleven or so and had only just learned about eating disorders. So of course it seemed kind of cool and forbidden. But I thought the main character had anorexia, and it was just the friend who had bulimia? Or am I misremembering?

I thought bulimia caused a decrease in potassium and electrolytes.

Also, the people I know eat regular meals, but smaller than what most people eat (and don’t purge them), but then, at other times, secretly, binge on a ton of food and then throw that up. So, they’re still getting (and keeping) a lot of what they need, they just also overconsume and purge later on. I think bulimia gets life-threating when the person throws up everything he/she eats and is retaining no nutrients whatsoever. Maybe that’s where I got confused.

The sad thing is, is that this was my third time watching it. Jesus God! The character who died had taught her friend how to puke. They were both bulemic and anorexic. It always freaks me out to watch these movies (especially "The Best Little Girl in the World, with Jennifer Jason Lee! Anyone…) because I’m always aware of how many actresses/actors will probably actually lose all of that weight to make the part authentic. Jesus, look at Christian Bale in “The Machinist.” I’m always afraid they’ll never recover. I think that Dennis Quaid actually developed an eating disorder at one point, as a result of prepping for a movie.

Yeah, that sounds right. I remember there are scenes where the girl is just not eating, like when she’s with her (divorced) father and his new girlfriend and she only orders salad. I also vaguely have a memory (could’ve been another movie) of a girl vomiting and then wiping her mouth on the towel and seeing blood–that scared me so bad as a kid. There was another movie (I’m pretty sure not this one) that we saw in Health class about a girl who was vomiting into little plastic containers and then throwing them away, and then her mom walked into her closet one day and saw a whole bunch of the vomit containers.

The things that stay with us, hm?

I think this was probably an episode of HBO’s Lifestories: Families in Crisis–The Secret Life of Mary Margaret: Portrait of a Bulimic. The star was none other than a young Calista Flockhart.