My friend B

Bulimia Nervosa. Most known to people as Anorexia’s poor cousin, or the ability to ‘read minds’ if you are a Zoolander fan (who isn’t a Zoolander fan!!).

I hit up Google to get some facts about the disease, and upon my journey I came across a Twitter conversation regarding a celeb finding Bulimia entertaining. I have no idea who the celeb was, or what they said exactly (I didn’t go any further), however this just highlighted to me what I have thought for a long time. Although Bulimia is a serious mental and physical disease/issue, I don’t really think society is acutely aware just how destructive it is nor are we that well equipped in NZ to deal to with eating disorders as a whole. I am not making wild accusations about the state of Eating Disorder treatments in NZ, however I do seem to read countless articles of young girls failing pray to Anorexia, and them spending the next 5-10 years in and out of hospital as the only other option is expensive facilities in either Sydney or Melbourne. What about the families that cant afford this? Aside from seeing a number of psychiatrists, psychologists and doctors during the time I was sick, I didn’t once seek help from any eating disorder facility. Was this because I thought I was being over dramatic and that I really didn’t have an eating disorder, because I wasn’t wafer thin and needed to be feed through a nose tube? Yes. Don’t get me wrong – the recovery rate for Anorexia is a lot lower compared to Bulimia, and sufferers do get closer to deaths door. However both affect the brain in similar ways, and have long lasting impacts on your soul.

Stories of how eating disorders begin usually all start with a trigger for the sufferer. Or it can be a combination of personality and environment. I either didn’t have a trigger, or I have blocked it out but I vividly remember a few incidents before I started throwing up that must have somehow upset the chemical balance in my brain and voila, B was born.   Telling a 14 year old athlete who has just gone through puberty that they are ‘slightly overweight’ would probably have no effect on those 14 year old girls with hard ass self worth and an attitude to match. Unfortunately that incident, combined with a father that took pride in commenting on my physical appearance continuously, probably coupled with the feeling of just being plain awkward kicked off the spiral that was to rob me of my love of swimming and also affect my friendships, school work and in later years, relationships, university studies and career.

That’s enough banter for now x




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