#BellLetsTalk Day…so let’s talk. Or rather, read:
Once upon a time a girl with an eating disorder went to compete at Miss Universe Canada. She won the Best Body Award; at the sickest and unhealthiest she’d ever been.
After that she felt pressure to maintain that ‘perfect’ body, kept competing and got sicker and sicker and sicker but never told a soul because she thought it would ruin her image and make her look weak and flawed, but mostly because she knew if someone knew, she’d have to face it head on and get help…
I almost never talk about the fact that I was bulimic because frankly…it’s really hard. It’s super misunderstood (I hate vomiting just as much as you do btw, but it’s a mental illness that fucks you up and makes you do horrible things to yourself). There’s also so much shame around it that you strategically hide it no matter what. Even if that means missing out on experiences or pushing people away; when it has control, you don’t. Even if you’d like to think you do.
I made myself sick for years. Literally years. I wore hair extensions for the longest time because my hair would fall out and break off. I’ve passed out numerous times, I’ve thrown up blood, and on and on and on. Chances are if our paths have crossed it’s been while I was struggling with it or feebly attempting to deal with it on my own because I was too afraid to reach out.
Luckily I’m not in that place today, but I’m not perfect. My point is not to garner sympathy but rather to challenge myself to finally open up about something that’s really real, and a very raw part of me. Yes, today is a day that’s hosted by a corporation, and yes, I’m part of it - but at the very heart of this day, it’s one where people are listening and reading and paying attention. Please, understand that you are NOT ALONE. And please understand that mental illness doesn’t look a certain way. Pay attention to the people you care about. Get involved and make it your business. If someone opens up to you, follow up with them, help them face it and be there for them. And to those that are desperately afraid to reach out - I promise you it feels better once you start to talk about it. <3
By Chelsea Bird