An eating disorder, isn’t about food, or not being able to stick to diets. It’s about so much more than that. It`s about your emotional well-being. What do you meanÉ… I’m ‘crazy’ because I like to eat food?
My ‘eating disorder’ isn’t anorexia, or bulemia. I’ve done some binge eating, and a lot of overeating. I never would have thought that my ‘weight problem’ was a really a `mental health`issue. I never thought it was an eating disorder. It was always ‘a problem with my weight’, or ‘I lacked self-control’, ‘I had no will-power to stick to diets’….. In other words, I was a failure.
It slowly became more apparent to me over time. As each diet I went on kept failing me…you know how it is, most people do. Eventually, I reached the end of my rope, and knew I needed help and I knew I wasn’t going to find it in the latest fad diet.
I have what would be classified as ‘EDNOS’ – Eating Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified. And it’s just that. I don’t fall neatly into bulimia or anorexia or binge eating. And there are probably as many ‘symptoms’ as there are people that fit into that category.
After about six months of one-on-one therapy I went to my first group session. It was eye opening. I wasn’t alone. There are others just like me. I also have realized that there must be so many people out there just like me; waiting for the next diet to work. Just beating themselves up, feeling miserable, hopeless and helpless about their lack of ‘control’ over succeeding at dieting. Not realizing that it`s not their fault; that it`s really an Eating Disorder and they need help the same way an alcoholic or drug addict would need help. Ya, eye opening.
So what does it take to go from ‘dieting’ or ‘trying’ to make a lifestyle ‘change’ to admitting the problem is bigger than you can handle? For me, it was my daughter. I don’t want to be unhealthy. I want to be able to pick her up without losing my breath. I want to be able to get on the floor and play with her. Or maybe I just hit rock bottom. All the pressure of life finally catching up to me to the point I couldn’t carry it all anymore. I did know it wasn’t just about food. I knew I had to get help. This isn`t something I can do on my own. I needed…..and still need, help.
And so the long journey began. I’m better than I was over six months ago, but it’s hard. It’s really painful to go through this process. The `better`you get, the harder it is. Because as you get better at not using food as a crutch, the more it means you have to really feel and deal with your emotions. And that is scarier than hell.
There is a quote I’ve held on to for over ten years now. I was never sure what drew me to it until recently.
“It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before… to test your limits… to break through barriers. And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin