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When You’re Big and Bulimic, and People Don’t Believe You

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Editor's Note

If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

I wish I was skinny so I could get help. I wish you had caught it sooner.

When we think of eating disorders, we think of those who are skinny down to the bone. They are struggling with an eating disorder; they are deserving of help, medical treatment and compassion.

But what about us?

I am the “Big Bulimic.”

If you looked at me, you wouldn’t know I was bulimic. I am curvy, large and chubby-faced.

My body structure has always been a major problem in my life. My body is naturally very curvy, so when I started dance at 7, I stuck out like a sore thumb. I went to a dance club for many years with skinny girls with flat chests and stomachs and slim legs. I was 7, already started puberty, had begun to get the curves associated with puberty in girls and looked drastically out of place. My dance coach would have to add extra fabric in costumes because they surprisingly weren’t designed for 7-year-olds with curves. It was embarrassing and made me feel awful.

When I got to 10 years old, I started to restrict because I was bullied for my size. By 12, I was purging.

I didn’t tell anyone. No one knew until I was 16, and my family was dismissive at that point. Back then, it was not as bad back as it is now. Maybe a couple of times a week…

Now I am 20, I am purging several times a day and I am even more overweight. My face is puffy and round from swelling; my fingernails brittle and dying. I have random heart fluctuations that make me dizzy and pain all through my body with my bones and muscles cracking obsessively. Acid lingers in the chest and wakes me up at night. I know what these are; I know what causes them. When I am alone and my partner comes home, they will see me on my eighth purge of the day.

These are all the outcomes of years of struggling with this.

In reality, I will never be treated the same. Being a large lady is an issue in health care — period. But for eating disorders, women, men and others are struggling because they are not believed. Because they are not perceived to have an eating disorder. Larger people can still die of the complications of eating disorders just as skinny people with eating disorders can. We can be hospitalized for medical emergencies, given feeding tubes and potassium through an IV.

The effects of restriction, purging and laxatives can affect anyone of any size… it’s time we saw it that way.

I wish I was skinny; I wish I had support.

Photo by Khorena Sanders on Unsplash

Originally published: July 7, 2019
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