This is the post I've put up on my facebook for Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
Today is February 1st, the first week of Eating Disorder Awareness Week (EDAW). As most of you now know, I have been suffering from an eating disorder, specifically Bulimia Nervosa, for 6 years now (almost to the day). This is a very stigmatized mental illness, and I hope to break some of that stigma today.
The average lifetime duration of Bulimia Nervosa is approximately 8.3 years.
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness.
Eating disorders can affect any gender, race and age (It's not a "teenage white girl" disease).
A 2002 survey reported that 1.5% of Canadian women aged 15-24 had an eating disorder.
Men also develop eating disorders, but are often not diagnosed either because of the lack of education by health care professionals, or the stigma causing many males not to seek help.
Transgender and non-binary gender individuals are also susceptible to eating disorders, and lack a lot of support.
Eating disorders are not a phase, diet, lifestyle, or something someone can just 'get over'.
Poor body image may be a cause as to why one develops an eating disorder, but is not the only reason. Experiencing a trauma, depression, bullying, family struggles and many more factors may play into ones eating disorder.
The amount to which one is struggling is not at all relevant to ones weight. Individuals of all shapes and sizes may have an eating disorder.
I would just like to address one last issue, as it is a one of my greatest pet peeves. I've often heard people say "I could never be bulimic, I hate throwing up". Firstly, not all bulimics throw up. There are many forms of purging, including but not limited to, laxative abuse, diet pill abuse, over exercising, restricting or fasting. I personally did not purge through vomiting until four years into my eating disorder. Secondly, I don't want to make any sort of generalization, but I've never once heard someone suffering from bulimia state that they enjoy throwing up. I personally hate it, and not once before developing my eating disorder did I think to myself "throwing up is fun, I should do this more often".
I realize that this post is incredibly long, but I am also taking this opportunity to announce the release of my chapbook, Counting Down. It is a collection of poems that I've written over the past year regarding my struggles with my eating disorder as well as other mental illnesses. The PDF version can be bought here http://www.lulu.com/shop/dominique-dupont-jillings/counting-down/ebook/product-22547675.html, or send me a message if you're interested in the printed copy.