Accepting Disorder

I didn't want to tell my family that for the past two years, while I was safely detached from them at university, I had been stuck in a cycle of starving and binging. I didn't want to tell them how I would go to the local Tescos, buy £40 worth of junk food and lock myself in my room, consuming the whole, fatty lot of it in under three hours. I didn't want to have to admit that the reason I was hemorrhaging money was because I was an uncontrollable, weak-willed, disgusting pig.

I didn't want to tell them. But I did.

Admittedly, I had no choice. My parents had both had to hastily fork out the cash for me to be able to pay my back-logged rent before the land lord took legal action against me. How have you gotten yourself in such bad debt? Why didn't you tell us? Is it drugs? I tried lying through my answers to these questions; I'm just no good at budgeting, I would mumble shamefully. But £1300 doesn't just go missing through poor budgeting. It's not like my 'poor budget' consisted of designer shoes and extravagant holidays to equally extravagant destinations.

No, my poor budget was more like pizzas the size of man-hole covers and pints and pints of ice cream, named after the men I have come to hate: Fuck you, Ben. And fuck you, Jerry. You made me like this.

Just before I go on a binge, I have maybe a 40 second window of clarity that tells me that doing this will NOT solve anything. But then the louder, more obnoxious voice in my mind tells me that if I eat until my stomach is straining against my jeans like an over-inflated beach ball, everything will be fine. If I eat until I am nauseous in a way that alcohol or drugs could never make me, my body issues, worries, deep-rooted emotional problems will be magically erased. Food is the answer, the voice says, so eat. Eat and eat and eat and eat.

But it solves nothing. I ignore the phonecalls of my friends, the knock on my door from my concerned roommate, the emails from lecturers wondering why I haven't been in all week... With each binge, I feel worse about myself than I ever have before. So lonely. Isolated. My biggest secret is my biggest shame, my worst fear and my most depended-on vice. A crutch that becomes stronger every time I lean on it until I can no longer hold myself up without it.

Now my whole family knows about my binging. I feel more depressed and vulnerable than ever. My crutch is no longer there and I am a crumpled, weeping mess on the floor. No one else can pick me up. Sure, they can help, but the only person who can truly make me get back up on my feet is me.

That is why I'm now in therapy. Once a week. The other six days, I still feel pretty horrible. When the kitchen is empty I go straight for the bread and jams and crisps and anything else I can get my desperate hands on. I am in no way cured. But I am trying. I really am. This week I will go to see my doctor and I will tell her everything and hope that she can prescribe me a way of escaping this.

I am 21 years old and I want to be happy.

I don't know if there is anyone reading who will relate to this story. Writing these feelings down is an escape; binging is such an intensely secretive thing that when you are forced to be open about it, it's like letting the poison out of a wound. It hurts but ultimately you will be thankful for the pain, because it means you can begin to heal. If you read this and you know what I am talking about (you have gone through something similar or you know someone who has been in this position) I hope you are well and happy. One day I will be too.

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3 Replies

  • Hi Charlie,

    Thank you for expressing so eloquently what it is like to be in the grip of a binge eating illness and the impact it has on your life.

    It's so hard to explain to people who haven't been there what it is like. If we were describing an alcohol dependency they'd understand the chaos we live with but not a binge disorder.

    I've been struggling with bulimia and binge eating for far closer to thirty years than I'd like to admit and yet I still have friends who think all my problems would be solved if I'd just come to WeightWatchers with them :O

    Even now I struggle to come to turns with the distorted thinking that comes with this condition. I've been in a binge loop for weeks/months, subsisting off multipacks of crisps and packets of biscuits. I cannot bring myself to eat properly, to cook. I buy non-binge food and throw it out two weeks late, unopened. (Yes, the waste of money terrifies me too.) Yesterday I walked round and round the supermarket trying to pick ready meals for the weeks ahead. Anything to try and kick start myself back into something like an eating plan. I didn't buy them though. I knew I wouldn't eat them. I was all hung up on the fat content, as though I somehow believe all this junk I'm eating is calerie-free :O

    What a mess.

    Try to keep going with the therapy. I had a lot of counselling about fifteen years ago and even though I still fall off the rails some of it stuck. There is help out there and it does get better. Try to find out what the underlying causes and triggers are for you; what issues your disorder helps you to live with ~ the more you know about that the easier it will be to find new, healthier coping strategies.

    Love and Best Wishes,

  • I can relate pretty much to this, it feels like a circule, one that makes you feel confortable in or like if you were used to it...But why? It shouldn't be like this, right?

    I am also in therapy, once a week trying to figure out my own mind, I've been in therapy for about 3 years now and I actually decided to get into therapy because even after gaining the weight "I needed to gainned" and being physically "healthy" after another thing ( Two surgeries, long story) I still felt attached to my ED...

    And I guess I still am...but I've made slow and little progress I guess (And I hope so, because I promised myself not to relapse and I've been struggling...)

  • I can totally relate to this... But what terrifies me the most is gaining weight... I will binge on anything and everything telling myself its ok its a cheat day, and by the end i will fall asleep in a food coma i have eaten this much, then i will starve myself for days to get back down in weight... I cant see any way out of this vicious cycle, i am so depressed and ashamed of myself

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