22 things no-one tells you about suffering from bulimia


Mostly, that you won’t get skinny and you won’t get happy.

1. It’s terribly hard to make yourself sick – you have to train your body. It doesn’t want the contents of your stomach coming back up, it wants to hold onto it for fuel and nutrients. To begin with it can take up to an hour to get anything out of you despite how much ypu plunge your fingers down your throat, after a few months of doing it every day it can go down to just seconds. Like any activity, making yourself sick actually takes a lot of training.

2. The headaches are crippling. Your body is almost always in a state of dehydration, and it’s bloody painful.

3. There is no weirder sensation than throwing up spaghetti. It sort of gets stuck half in your throat and half in your nose. Sometimes it can even come out your nose if the vomiting is aggressive enough. True story.

4. It takes two flushes to get rid of any trace of sick. The first flush will leave a giveaway frothy white substance floating in the water. It looks a LOT like the stuff that comes out of you when you’re hungover, just before the bile hits.

5. Sometimes you can be heaving away for ages before anything comes out, and then when sick actually emerges it takes your body by surprise and your bodily functions might loosen a bit – you’ll fart, or maybe even wee a bit. Sexy.

6. You’ll constantly be dousing yourself in perfume, hand cream and gum in an effort to hide the sick scent that engulfs your entire being.

7. Going out for dinner is the absolute devil. Mostly because you’ll want to eat something big and carb-y and delicious and then you’ll be plagued with guilt, but restaurant toilets are never discreet, and vomiting is never quiet and you’ll be wrecked with paranoia that your fellow diners realise what you’ve done – and that doesn’t make for great table chat does it?

8. You can’t wear rings on your sick hand, mostly because the vomiting will act as a lubricant and the rings will slide off into the toilet – so if it’s a sentimental piece you’ll have to stick your hand into said sick to retrieve said jewellery. If it doesn’t fall off, or if you remove rings to be sick, you’ll still find that acid gets trapped underneath the rings and you get scaly, sore fingers.

9. Being bulimic is about 6 per cent about losing weight, most of it is about wanting control when it feels like you’re lacking control in other areas of your life.

10. The sore throats that come with bulimia feel a bit like there’s a giant gobstopper sitting on each side of your throat that connects to your ears. Mostly because these are the glands that swell up most from all the vomming action. It’s not pleasant.

11. You pretty much won’t lose weight from bulimia – not in the same way you do from anorexia – because you’re constantly consuming such high amounts of calories and not ridding yourself of them entirely.

12. If you can’t get access to the toilet and you’ve got in instilled in your head that you HAVE to be sick, you will find alternative places to vom – like the garden or a bowl in your room.

13. Your teeth go weird and see-through looking where the acid has removed a hefty amount of enamel.

14. Some foods like chocolate pudding and bolognese actually taste weirdly nice coming back up.

15. You’re aware people will always know after you’ve made yourself sick because you look like you’ve been crying. Your eyes are swollen and puffy and watery and you look a general sorry state.

16. Sometimes if you force too hard, the capillaries around your eyes will burst and leave you with a particularly attractive red rash.

17. You’re pretty much tired ALL the time. Being sick is exhausting, and you’ll want to take naps and go to bed at 8pm on a regular basis.

18. Some foods, no matter how hard you try, simply won’t want to come back up, and then you’re faced with the guilt and self-loathing that comes with consuming 2,000 calories in one sitting. It’s the opposite of fun.

19. Even though you’re sick every day, you have this horrendous fear of being sick without being control. If you feel nauseous you’ll often stick your fingers down your throat before your body can make you sick because the idea of it coming out of you without you being able to make it stop is TERRIFYING.

20. Once you’ve consumed an entire pizza and chocolate pudding and vommed it all up again, you’ll usually be peckish again an hour or so later and it’s really bloody irritating.

21. You’ll go through plenty of stages where you stop doing it, but a lot of the time you relapse again, and you realise, that as with any addiction, you’re never really cured, you’re just in remission.

22. Eventually, the fear of becoming infertile or dying young from a heart attack become the main things that keep you focused on staying strong and not relapsing – and you being to learn your triggers and your warning signs so that you can stop being ‘the attention-seeking friend who makes herself sick’.

You might like: Come on, let’s have a chat about depression and eating disorders

  • Excellent post, well done for sharing and helping others. Good woman! x

  • Hi Hannah, great post – I think it’s so important to show awareness for eating disorders and to rid the negative and untrue beliefs surrounding the issue.

    Really love your blog x

  • All so true and things that people never talk about, I love the fact that you have been so open.

  • Bitten

    Love your honesty and openness Hannah – more Vlogs!!

  • Emma

    Hey Hannah, this is such a brave, honest post!
    As someone who has also been diagnosed with an eating disorder I wanted to just add that being sick isn’t even (even!) the be-all and end-all.
    Let’s not forget abusing laxatives, that’s fun. And the diet pills that give you an irregular heartbeat. Glaaaaaam. Add in the starving and you’ve got yourself trapped in a frustrating, painful, endless cycle. Yet all the while, regardless of if you’re thin, fat, or anything in between, you feel more hateful to yourself than anything else, ever. And you STILL don’t feel any better about the original problem.
    Rant over and HURRAH to recovery. x

  • wow… thats quite hard to read… http://www.thewanderlusthasgotme.blogspot.co.uk

  • Listaholic

    Please keep posting your honest, open and moving posts. I wish I had read these at 13!! Your insights into your personal mental health issues will without doubt encourage others who need to talk about/get help with theirs. Love your blog!! Xx

  • Hi Hannah, this is a very poignany post – thank you for sharing this. I’ve nominated you for a blog award, details here: http://beckyboops.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/one-lovely-blog-award.html 🙂

  • sooz thompson

    Sorry but that’s gross 🙁

  • Anonymous Blonde

    This post is pretty special lol it look a lot of courage to do this, thanks for it x

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  • I was going to write more but all I can say is this post is so perfect.
    Thank you for being so honest.

  • Lynn
  • Rachel

    Thank you for this x

  • Chloe

    Thank you for this, first post I’ve ever read where I really felt someone understood x

  • Very informative. I myself suffered from bulimia and I secretly hid my bulimia and later realized that it hiding it didn’t do anything good for me. Fortunately, I managed to recover from bulimia and be free from it for 20 years know. Read my story and get tips to recover from bulimia. Here’s my Bulimia Free Life

  • Charlotte

    Hi, I just wanted to say that I just came across this article. I have been suffering from bulimia for a year now and this is the first genuinely helpful article I have read. I have been searching for decent articles/pieces of information but the style, clarity and easiness with which you write about this awful illness is liberating for me. Thank you.

  • Lucy

    I was nodding my head to so many of the points, but the first sentence sums it up perfectly.

    Such a honest real-world post about bulimia – thank you.

  • Emily

    Being infertile is the LAST thing that can make me stop. Kids suck. Half of this can be fixed/hidden, too.

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  • Laura

    Im a bulimic and loose tons of weight. So it’s not always true that you don’t lose weight.

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