I spent ten years hiding in the shadows of my eating disorder and another three years insecure in my recovery. My eating disorder was a blanket of fear holding me tight. It told me I was disgusting, unworthily, and weak. The one feeling that kept me from being more open about my recovery was SHAME. The first time I admitted to being bulimic was the day I woke up from being in a coma. The exact words I wrote down to the doctor (I could not speak after being intubated for a week) was, “I need help, I am bulimic.” Writing those words and admitting my truth was my first step in healing.
I found this quote months ago and today I am going to share it as it speaks a truth that needs to be voiced again and again.
I had no issues talking about the days where I was anorexia, restricting food and over exercising. Those were actions my eating disorder was proud of actions I felt were acceptable and understood in our society. My Confession of being a bulimic was the hardest thing for me to do.
I was bulimic and bulimia is what almost killed me, so why was it so hard for me to talk about it?
Judgment, shame, and fear a bundle of emotions to keep me in my darkness.
While I was sick I spent more than four months in and out of inpatient, six months in outpatient, and countless hours in therapy and, what I’ve learned is in order to heal I had to remove all judgment and guilt. I would have never found my recovery if I had continued to let my insecurity of being bulimic dominate my life. The moment I stopped judging myself and let that shit go I was able to start to healing.
The first step to creating any change is to talk about it. So lets start up the conversation. Lets banish the stigma that bulimics are “gross”. The idea that bulimics are not as sick because they might not be thin… The concept that bulimia is not life threatening. All these perspectives (wherever they came from) need to be address.
- Bulimia affects 2% of the population in the United States. 1.5% being female and .5% being male, equating to 4,783,500 females and 1,594,500 males. Yep, I am definitely not alone in this process…
- Most people with bulimia are often a normal weight or overweight. *** This is something that needs to be continuously addressed. Just because you do not look a certain way or because you don’t think you look “sick” enough does not mean you do not deserve help!
- 30-70% of those with bulimia also have an addictive disorder
- 10-66% of those with bulimia suffer sialadenosis – swelling of the parotid gland. I know that my face and tonsils were always swollen.
- Electrolyte imbalances are common with bulimia – My biggest threat was the issues I had with potassium. My potassium was dangerously low and ultimately what cause me to go into cardiac arrest.
- Approximately 1 in 10 people with bulimia receive treatment
- Mortality rate is 3.9% (caused by cardiac arrest and other health issues are frequently listed instead of bulimia)
- Loss of enamel loss in teeth- I have spent thousands of dollars on my teeth due to bulimia. I had to get braces at the age of 21 so I could get porcelain caps on all of my front teeth. I also have had to get two teeth removed and replaced with implants. I have dealt with lots of insecurity and emotional distress around my teeth. Over the years I have learned to forgive myself and I am thankful I have teeth (even if they are fake).
I am sure there are many more facts that can be addressed but I know I am not alone in this journey. Today I am letting go of any insecurity I once had about being bulimic. Step one: stop judging yourself because you are not alone in this fight! We all deserve a safe place to heal and fight. Yes, I was bulimic and for most of my life I was ashamed of my actions. Today I am addressing my old insecurity so I can move on in my journey of healing.