The One “Advantage” of Bulimia


Bulimia is undeniably a terrible disease. But there is one benefit to having bulimia over BED: you get taken seriously.

This is how every consultation would begin:

Doctor/Counsellor/Dietician: “So what’s the problem?”
Me: “I binge eat uncontrollably. I hate myself. I want to give up on everything I’ve worked so hard for in my life.”
Doctor/Counsellor/Dietician: “But do you purge?”
Me: “No.”
Doctor/Counsellor/Dietician: “Do you overexercise?”
Me: “No.”
Doctor/Counsellor/Dietician: “Do you do any compensatory behaviours?”
Me: “No.”
Doctor/Counsellor/Dietician: *exhales, smiles, puts down their pen, leans back in their chair* “Well, that’s not bad. You’ll be fine.”

While I am fully aware that bulimia is a very serious disease, it bothers me to no end that binge eating disorder, by contrast, is treated like something trivial. I wanted them to know that I don’t feel fine. I don’t feel fine one tiny, stinking bit. Misery is misery. Despair is despair. Self-hatred is self-hatred. How I got to those dark places should not be used as some measure of the validity of my feelings or the urgency of my problem. Nobody’s feelings should be discounted. Everybody deserves compassion and care.

Their lackadaisical response was likely also due to the fact that I am not overweight or obese. While I was very relieved that I was not overweight, that only meant that I was not overweight yet. If I had continued to gain 7 to 8 lbs. every month because of BED, I would have been overweight in a few months. Maybe then they would lean in, take my hand, and initiate a plan. Nobody’s pain should be taken less seriously just because their pain could be greater. We all matter.


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