Voices of Binge Eating Disorder

Today, on Day 4 of Eating Disorder Awareness Week, Action Mental Health’s specialist eating disorder service, AMH everyBODY brings you more insight into the hurdles faced by people living with eating disorders. We bring you testimony from someone who knows personally, every bump in the journey to overcome their disorder.

All my life I had wanted to be smaller, it was through support I learnt that there are so many more valuable things to invest my time and energy into. Like my strengths of character, my interests, the things in life that bring me joy.  The support helped me to realise that having an Eating Disorder does not make you a failure, that it wasn’t a choice. It was a way of coping and I learnt new ways of coping and dealing with emotions and thoughts.

I think most people will recognise signs of Anorexia or Bulimia but it can be particularly difficult with someone who does fall within a normal or higher weight. This is because generally a lot of people tend to look for physical symptoms of Eating Disorders and not realise that it is a Mental Illness and much more about how that person is feeling and what they are dealing with underneath the surface.  You cannot tell someone has an Eating Disorder just by looking at them.

  • On the one hand I was obsessed with everything I was eating/tracking calories and very strict with exercise, but on the other hand I felt completely out of control around food and would the restriction would lead to bingeing.
  • It really hit home that I needed support when I had planned to take a trip away and it felt impossible to go because of my overwhelming thoughts around food, weight and exercise. I felt I couldn’t focus to find enjoyment in the things I wanted to.
  • My thoughts were completely consumed by food and self-critical thoughts. It became a vicious cycle of bingeing when I was feeling depressed, then feeling more guilt, then compensating with punishing behaviours and thoughts and I just couldn’t stop.
  • How it impacted me emotionally was huge, I felt depressed and had very low self-esteem. I felt constantly annoyed at myself, disappointed in myself and just generally hard on myself.  It also took a toll on my relationship.

Through recovery I have learnt I was far too hard on myself, I learnt I needed to give myself a break!

I started to practice compassion for myself and it is something that I still do. That being happy with who I am, and within myself was far more important that trying to fit other people’s ideals. I learnt to get to know myself again, to make peace with myself.

In the beginning all I could see were the negative thoughts and bad things about myself, I learnt to challenge this mindset and recognise my own strengths.

I’ve certainly learnt to just listen to my body more, to let it rest when it needs to.

If you live in the Southern Health Trust Area you can contact the AMH everyBODY Team – T: 028 3839 2314 or E: [email protected]

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