I am currently sat – eating, ironically – and typing away on my train back to London, having spent my Wednesday evening at the ‘I’m Not Mental’ event in Bristol, hosted by the truly lovely Wes Hosie.
Last week I recorded a podcast with Wes, which detailed my experience with anxiety, depression and bulimia and how this transpired into the creation of Run Talk Run. As demonstrated in said podcast, I am now able to freely talk about my eating disorder, bulimia, with an air of flippance and acceptance… and it was a conversation that I had this evening that reminded me that I hadn’t always been able to speak about bulimia so openly.
I was approached by an incredibly brave woman, who shared with me that she really struggles to even say the word – bulimia – out loud. It still carries so much weight, so much stigma, and so much shame.
And that in itself, needs to change.
You see, bulimia is messy. In comparison to the widely known eating disorder, anorexia, I always feel like bulimia has been brushed over in conversation (comparatively). This is partly because the behavior is poorly understood. The act of eating, then purging, is a cycle that can be explained to a certain degree but (like most mental ill health) feels more complicated.
I wrote a whole blog post on my experience with bulimia right here if you wanna read more about my personal journey with it.
So I have a message to anyone experiencing, or recovering from, bulimia.
I hear you. Being sick is not fucking glamorous.
Throwing up your food is messy, yes.
But the word “bulimia”…? It is not a dirty word unless we allow it to be.
We need to stand together, support each other, and allow bulimia to be as understood as any other eating disorder.
I know that you’re likely feeling shame attached to your behavior. I felt it, I looked myself in the eye after every purge and hated myself to my core. So much shame.
But bulimia is not a dirty word.
Your illness is not a dirty word.
You are worthy of receiving help in the same way a person who starves themselves receives help. Your illness is not any more “shameful” than the next. Your bulimia is not YOU.
You are not dirty, and bulimia is not a dirty word.