Fist of all, I learned that not all experiences are the same. So this right here, is my own, and no on else’s.
That being said, I have to say I haven’t been diagnosed by a mental health professional with the disorder. I just assume I have it because I fit the description:
- I overeat for emotional reasons
- I love food but I hate what it does to my body
- I am always thinking about food – I spend the time between meals thinking about my next meal –
- I literally eat until it hurts, and then I eat some more
- I have had times when I used laxatives because I was afraid that I ate too much and the scale would show how much of a failure I am the next day
- I had a diet where all I would it was cheese, cucumbers and tomatoes and then I would hit the gym
- I eat when I am sad/tired/angry/numb, so that I can feel better
- I am constantly looking up diets and types of exercise so that I can shed the kilos fast and then I tell myself they would never work on me, OR
- I try them, I succeed in losing a few kilos and then I gain it all back because I resort to old habits
- I have times when I weigh myself every day (even a few times a day) AND
- I have weeks when I eat a lot and I avoid the scale so that I don’t feel guilty (although I am feeling guilty anyway because I know that what I am doing is wrong)
- I have this self talk that makes me feel like shit when I overeat and then I want to eat even more because I end up convincing myself that it doesn’t matter anyway, I will never be able to lose the weight
Those are most of the things that I thin qualify myself as a person experiencing an eating disorder. They are not all happening all at once, and some of them are not happening at all at the moment – the discouraging self talk for example is not present because I am in a bit of a better place right now – but I thought it is worth mentioning all of them.
Although I know why I am experiencing this, the process of getting better at dealing with it is slow and painful at times. Just while writing this article, I took several breaks doing other things that help me sustain my habit of avoiding feeling; I went to my other help – Netflix :), I had another spoon of the potato salad I had made earlier, I talked to my friend on the phone, I then played a game on the phone, all the while having this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I am uncomfortable because I am writing about something important, something that makes undress parts of me that I am ashamed of.
Coming back to the point: knowing why I do something, doesn’t just suddenly help me stop doing that something, I need to remind myself constantly, I need to be aware of how I feel, I have to feel the feeling bleah!!!! can we please just stop feeling? I really don’t like it 😦 , and then I need to forgive myself, to be kind with me, to love and caress my own person. I cannot do it all the time, I don’t even want to do it all the time because I get tired. But those few times that I do manage to be present in the process of loving and healing myself, those are the times that show me that this is worth it.
The other part of the disorder is how I am being perceived by others. Or rather how I think I am perceived. Close friends, who have seen me at my thinnest and at my thickest, know the difference. They might even know a bit about the struggle. But they don’t know it all.
Because I am ashamed to tell it like it is.
Because I feel I complain too much about it.
Because I feel like I have no right to complain about my currently 10kilos/22lbs extra since there are people who are seriously overweight.
Ughhh, I know it’s stupid and that I shouldn’t compare, and thankfully now most of the time I don’t, but I do feel that way, that my issue is less important, because there are others much more important, people with higher weight. And I feel like people around me agree in that I am making too big of a deal out of this, especially when they tell me “you’re beautiful, you have a gorgeous body, you shouldn’t feel this way, there’s nothing wrong with you”. I know they are well-meant because I’ve said all of it to others as well. The only way those words help, is that they help me isolate myself even more, make me think I am crazy, what’s wrong with me that I cannot accept my body?, maybe I should indeed shut up about it already!!! why can’t I stop eating?, why does it feel like I am barely eating and yet I am still not losing the weight? why? how? why? why? why?
Anyway, it’s a complex situation, one I don’t pretend to fully understand, with many variables, with countless arguments, with innumerable questions to be pondered. The only way forward that I see for myself is accepting that it’s here, accepting who I am, feeling my feelings, instead of eating them, and hoping that I can get to a place where there is love and acceptance on the inside that is reflected on the outside as well