Open the first page of Katrina Wilkie’s novel the B Word and you read these words:
“The B Word is my story. I’ve written it down for you, so you can read the words I most needed to hear. Beautiful one, don’t give up. There is hope. There is healing and a whole new life for you that is yours to claim. This nightmare you are going through is not your forever. Just hold on and take one tiny step at a time. Love, Katrina.”
Katrina Wilkie first wrote her book the B Word soon after her bulimia stopped. But her healing was far from complete, and the manuscript was shelved as she spent the following thirty years alternating between binge eating, under eating, exercise addiction and various forms of disordered eating. It wasn’t until she began facing the things in her life, which had lead to her eating disorders, that she began to heal.
The manuscript came off the shelf, was dusted off and edited, and is now a story which offers hope to the many people who are suffering from bulimia, or another form of disordered eating.
Katrina has a lived experience of the truth that ‘secrets make you sick’. Katrina says that “telling someone your secret for the first time is scary, even when it’s a trusted person. My story hopefully encourages people to tell their own story to someone, no matter where they are on their path to healing”.
Katrina chose to create the character ‘Louise’, rather than write her story as a first-person testimony. She says: “I think this allowed me to add interesting elements to the character and her friends, which makes the book more fun to read. I’ve changed people’s names and some of the details, but most of the people in the story were a big part of my life back then”.
“I haven’t held back from describing the struggles Louise goes through, because I want the book to be relatable. As they read about Louise’s struggles, I want people to be able to see themselves, and hold on to hope that they are not alone.”
An important part of the story is Louise’s faith journey. The question why doesn’t God just heal me? is one Louise asks often. The reader also catches glimpses of Louise’s past and where her eating issues may have begun. The answer to this question is never explicitly answered, but it is clear that Louise has started on her recovery journey and that she is slowly letting God heal her from one thing at a time, one step at a time.
The B Word is a small window into Katrina’s life and history with disordered eating. She has written the book about her struggle with bulimia because she believes bulimia is an eating disorder people don’t talk about. “There is a lot of guilt and shame around having bulimia” she says, “but it is much more prevalent than people realise. People tend to talk about anorexia or other forms of disordered eating much more easily.
“Eating disorders are actually a serious mental health condition. Recovery includes understanding this, and being able to talk about what you are going through.”
According to Australian body Eating Disorders Victoria, approximately 1 million people in Australia are living with a form of eating disorder. Of those, four times more people are suffering from bulimia than anorexia.
Katrina is an Australian author. Her recovery journey continues one step at a time. She is currently working on writing a book that tells the rest of her story. She loves hearing other people’s stories, and can be found on Facebook and Instagram.
The B Word by Katrina Wilkie ISBN: 9780645802535 can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Koorong and other online bookstores.