About a year and a half ago I was sitting in my therapists office when I came to the realization that I had an eating disorder. It took me a while to process this idea, as I knew I had the tendency to stress eat ever since I was very young, that was one of the reasons why I had become obese and had all the problems that came with it.
However, sitting in that recliner chair with my therapist sitting in front of me it kinda hit me that yeah, I did have an eating disorder. I couldn’t control my eating, depending on the day or rather my mood I could consume over 4000 calories or more and not realize I was doing it.
The thing was, I was unaware of the fact that a binge eating disorder even existed, growing up I had only heard of anorexia and bulimia or “designer eating disorders” (yes, this is a thing). People often confuse binge eating with bulimia as both involve consuming large amounts of food, however unlike bulimics we don’t throw up the food we consume; least not willingly.
So how does one develop a binge eating disorder?
The answer is different reasons.
Some, like in my case had a very stressful home and school life and as a result it caused anxiety and depression. My mom has narcasstic personality disorder, my dad is an alcoholic, and my aunt was a hoarder and control freak, it was always walking on egg shells at home, things would be fine one minute and then do a 180 the next. School was no better, the teachers were all crap and would bully the students with their catholic fear bull shit, and the students often attacked me because I didn’t have the latest shoes or play nintendo or because my dandruff was flaring up because I stressed out.
For others it can be triggered by a life event, like a sudden move or the death of a family member or loved one. Like with all eating disorders or disorders in general it comes down to needing to control something or a need to fill a void.
In my case it was needing to feel in control of my emotions, numbing the pain of depression, the anxiety, and the stress with food.
I’ve lived with my eating disorder for about 21 years and I am currently 28 and it’s only now that I’ve accepted that I have one and that I want to do something about it.
The Road to Recovery So Far.
My whole life, I’ve been given multiple mixed messages about not caring about what people think and caring about what people think. For example, when I was little and I was being bullied for not having the latest trends in shoes, my mom and aunt would say “You shouldn’t care what people think!” however if I wore something they didn’t like they would say “What will people think?!”
The same thing can be said about body image. On the one hand you have someone saying “You should love your body, you’re beautiful big or small!” and then a few minutes later “Omg, how could she wear something like that! Does she not see what she’s wearing?” Granted not all people are like this, but even a few bringing in that toxic cycle can be decremental to the healing process.
In every job I have had, I have always gotten the: “If you lost weight you would be so pretty…” and being an binge eater as well as depressed this did not help in any way shape or form.
The first step to my healing process was detaching myself from people who brought in this toxic cycle and develop a healthy relationship with my own body and image.
Developing a healthy relationship with my body, when I’ve hated the way I’ve looked since I was a teenager has not been easy. I’ve had an apple shaped body a good 90% of my life and clothing shopping is torture, but slowly but surely I found a style that worked for me. I told myself that even with the body I had now I was allowed to dress nice and feel good about myself.
The second step was acknowledging that I needed help with the depression, lack of motivation, and anxiety; that it wasn’t going to fix itself nor could I do it without help. This one took a while, but after a few months I decided I would see a psychiatrist. We sat down and discussed it and now I take a pill everyday to help keep the depression and eating disorder at bay. I still deal with occasional anxiety, but decided that a service dog to help me with that was a better choice that pills.
The third step was accepting that it’s ok to fail at something. Last year my business went under and I lost a lot of money. I tried so very hard to get it to work, but it just wasn’t going anywhere and accepting that was one of the hardest things I had to do. Once I did however, new opportunities arose and things got way better.
The fourth step which I’m still working on is getting me down to a healthy weight and pursuing the things I’ve always wanted to pursue. And so far since November I’ve lost a total of 22 pounds and I keep pushing everyday to get it to where it needs to be. I also started school in January to pursue a degree in Music and Linguistics, two of the things I’ve always had a knack for but never went for in fear of being judged or failing.
So far, I have no conclusion and probably never will, living with a binge eating disorder for so long makes everyday a struggle to stay on top of things, but I do my best to try and avoid running to food when things go bad but instead learning to deal with things. And so far I think I’m doing alright. 🙂