I have been trapped in binge eating many times during my battle with anorexia nervosa. Often I would fall into the trap by jumping head first into recovery and my malnourished body would go into extreme hunger and binges would happen. I’d compensate for the binge and then before I knew it I was caught in the cycle.
I remember a particularly bad time of binge eating, I had just started college and although at a healthy weight my eating disorder was probably the worst it has ever been. I would wake up in the morning and have a bowl of cereal for breakfast which would turn into another and another and maybe another. Then I’d go to the next cupboard and eat biscuits, cereal bars, chocolate…whatever was in there. Then I’d have toast and whilst it was toasting I’d eat bread and crisps and on my worst days I’d put fries and cheese or nachos and cheese on a tray in the oven. I’d eat the toast and then I’d go to the fridge and eat cheese. If I’d put food in the oven I’d eat it next regardless of if it was under cooked or over cooked. Finally would come the last cupboard, I’d eat nutella and peanut butter out of the jar, icing, whatever I could find-there were times I’d eat granulated sugar and vinegar. After all of that I could guarantee you I would be searching the house for more food or money to buy more food. I wouldn’t taste the food, I wouldn’t enjoy the food but I couldn’t stop myself. I had completely lost control.
I’d do horrific things to compensate, painful and damaging things. I’d spend half my morning eating and the rest of the day compensating for it. I’d miss college most the time, I have no idea how I scraped the grades I did in my exams.
Emotionally it was awful. I’d feel overwhelming guilt and self disgust. Binge eating is a very frightening thing to go through. I was in recovery from anorexia and it scared me so much, I didn’t trust that recovery could happen with my black and white thinking I assumed it was severe restriction or severe binging. I now know that isn’t true. I felt guilty for wasting my parent’s money and for eating the food they had brought to sit and share as a family. On the odd occasion that I did go to college, I would have panic attacks thinking that people were staring at me and my fat. Binge eating stole away all the confidence and self-esteem that I had left. I believed I was a disgusting, worthless human being. I became so ashamed of myself. Eventually binge eating pushed me into a place where I felt like the only escape was to take my life. I survived and I now know that binging does not last forever.
I remember the last time I binged. I had spent a month in bed with depression and anorexia had been particularly bad. Irrationally I made the decision to eat ‘whatever I wanted’ if I died afterwards. I ate some porridge and chocolate and then ordered a dominos as soon as they opened. I sat in bed with the windows wide open with two pizzas, mozzarella sticks and potato wedges praying my parents wouldn’t smell it when they got home from work. I disposed of the boxes in the bin on the way to end my life. I survived and with help and medication my depression improved and I got through it.
I’m not really sure why exactly the binging stopped. I think partly it was because I no longer allowed negative people to make me feel bad about myself. I shut everyone out that made my life difficult and I learnt to eat little and often so that it felt safe but didn’t leave me vulnerable to binging because restricting your intake can do that. My life has changed a lot since those days and I wasn’t on medication then. I still have blips with it occasionally but not to the extent I used to. I think you just have to hold onto the hope that it won’t last forever.
Here’s today’s sock it to eating disorders silly socks photo:
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