Girl Holding Her Knees

Let's Talk About Bulimia

 

Content warning: This article talks about eating disorders and mental health conditions that may be sensitive to some readers.

 

Eating disorders can be such a taboo topic. Even now, as I type this, I feel uncomfortable and ashamed of the fact that I have bulimia. However, I am also aware that admitting I had a problem, has been by far the most effective form of awareness for my mental health and taking steps to improve. 

My bulimia started when I was about 15 years old. After, I had a tonsillectomy and lost a significant amount of weight, as the compliments rolled in, so did my desire to continue losing weight. I always struggled with my weight and wanted to be as thin as a ‘Victoria Secret model’ and would religiously look up their weights and heights, striving for a ‘thigh gap’ and the beautiful, long, thin legs. Yet, as I have grown up, the aesthetic goal for young women is constantly changing. Nowadays, there is a huge emphasis on strength, breeding a rise in cases of orthorexia. Women are consistently forced into a corner and told they must look and behave a certain way, and if they don’t, they will be discounted or passed over. For me, I felt an enormous amount of pressure to be slim, and if I was not, I would not be worthy of people’s attention and would feel shocking about my body. 

This truly spiralled out of control for me when I got to university and realised, I could not binge and purge every day, as I was too busy keeping up with work or friends to go and induce vomiting. Even then, the prospect of gaining weight or having to go clubbing with my friends made me feel uncomfortable. Looking back on my first year, my mentality was very toxic. I was unaware of my body weight, as I couldn’t weigh myself and felt I looked ‘bloated’ despite having a completely ‘normal’ BMI. This meant that I would frequently get so drunk at ‘pre’s’ that I wouldn’t have to go out, as I felt ashamed of my body. Ultimately, bulimia has ruined what should have been one of the best years of my life. 

However, as I start to pick up the pieces from this destructive cycle, I have learnt a lot about myself. People have told me many times, that whilst I wholly regret everything that happened to me, that I brought upon myself, it is now just part of my past, and something that makes me who I am today.  To get better, I primarily had to acknowledge I had a problem, and talk it through with family and friends who were concerned for me. Next, I had to stop weighing myself every day and berating myself if I put on ½ a pound. Gradually, I began eating more normal-sized portions that I was comfortable with. For me, a large element of my bulimia was not understanding portion control and having an irrational fear of calories- even though we need them to fuel our bodies! Lastly, I have begun to respect my body a lot more. I truly appreciate that I am so lucky to be here right now when there could be loads of other people in my position. By having a positive outlook and taking time out of my day to paint my nails, go for a run, or just do some makeup and feel good about myself, I finally am beginning to see what other people tell me they see in me. 

Ultimately, having bulimia has been a nightmare. However, I hope by sharing some of my experiences this may help others to understand they are not alone, and by understanding where my bulimia stemmed from, it can help people who may be in a similar position. The habit of making yourself sick is incredibly hard to break and of course, also dangerous. Hence, I would encourage anyone who feels as though they are struggling to seek help.

Always remember that you can achieve anything you want, and things like this are road bumps, on the path to your success. I am always free to message on Instagram or I know services such as BEAT can be very useful. There are also many counselling services offered by universities, tailored to students.