Mon 04 October 2021
Understanding Binge Eating Disorder
Meet Gemma, who is coming to terms with having the less talked about of the eating disorders - Binge Eating Disorder.
My days are led by food. First comes emotion – either too much or too little, then food which is quickly followed by self-hate, loathing, disgust and disappointment.
I don’t plan my days with amazing nourishing foods that I choose to enrich my body with. I spend my day scrambling trying to get my fingers on anything I can find. I squirrel through my office draws, my bags and car, searching for remnants of any snacks or leftover’s from throughout the week, but of course there aren’t any because every day is the same. Hoarding and binging at every single chance I get. If my mind wanders then so to do my fingers, stuffing my face with whatever I can find. And if I don’t have anything I start checking my work diary and planning when and how to go get more food, checking my bank balance because I am absolutely starving, or so I think.
Every emotion I have is connected with food – if I am bored, lonely, sad, distressed, anxious or overwhelmed… then I eat. If I am having a good day or something good happens then celebration with food occurs. I spend my days feeling so misunderstood and scared because it’s a horrible way to live. On the outside I just look like the happy thick girl, jovial and on the overweight side but living her best life. What an absolute false narrative of a life to live by. I grew up thinking an eating disorder meant anorexia, starving, thin and lifeless. I didn’t realise that there is a spectrum of eating disorders, that it is actually not normal to be ruled by eating habits and that spending every cent in your bank account and ducking out of work to source more food is not a standard way to live, there is no quality in that.
A totally all-consuming unhealthy coping mechanism is what I now realise it is. Putting these words on paper is the first step for me, saying them out loud comes next and making active steps towards recovery is the goal. I truly do realise the correlation of this eating behaviour being linked to my mental health. I don’t have the answers because I am just at the beginning, I have only just realised my issues and found a label for the behaviours that I need help altering. The path forward is less foggy now and I know I need to go on a whole of mind and body healing journey.
I now realise that this eating disorder stems from my trauma background and the ongoing mental turmoil that I experience day to day – how this plays out is via food. I have total control over my food intake, even though I am making myself physically sick from binge eating, it stems from my mental health and needing to literally distract my mind and body with stuffing my face with food and literally pushing my feelings and emotions down and filling myself up with food to get away from my feelings of completely emptiness.
Now comes the hard slog of corrective behaviour. I am committed to working on my past trauma, healing my mind and body, working on my mental health, learning appropriate coping skills and taking control of my life in whole new way. In turn I am striving for pure mental clarity, peace and happiness. I will find new healthy coping mechanisms, I will take charge of my recovery and I will find a new version of myself that isn’t consumed with hate and loathing, that doesn’t need to fill up on food to not obsess over the emptiness I feel.