Today’s post is somewhat confessional. I thought it might be useful to be open and honest and share some of the ‘features’ of my own struggle as it has played out over the years. Maybe you’ll think I’m off my rocker but perhaps it may strike a chord if you are someone who knows another person with disordered eating or if you, yourself, have experienced it:
– At it’s worst I would feverishly binge on dreadful food (bought from the garage just outside where I worked), whilst in my car driving to the gym where I’d teach classes and work out, spending some five hours trying to undo what I’d just done.
– I began eating ‘main meal’ type foods at breakfast-time because I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to eat later on.
– I lost count of how much money I spent on laxatives.
– I ran up entire credit cards, almost all of it on food.
– I had days and sometimes weeks where I felt euphorically high because I hadn’t binged – but I hadn’t eaten either. During these periods I subsisted on small bowls of porridge and ate the odd piece of fruit when I would allow myself.
– I went to see a therapeutic hypnotist to give up eating and became extremely upset when he refused to, during our sessions, suggest messages to me about giving up most food entirely.
– I weighed myself every single day, on a weekend I ended up weighing myself 2-3 times a day if I could.
– It was vitally important to me that I looked as if I ate normally when in company with others; so I did but I felt a strange mix of anguish and desperation that I couldn’t eat as much as I wanted and this often set up a renewed binge-purge response.
– I don’t know everyone who’s reading this out there but if you’re a firend of mine then there’s an enormously strong chance that I stole food from you. Every time I stayed at your house. Lots of it. And then I will have, rather clumsily, satisfied myself that I had covered it up so you wouldn’t notice.
– I have abused my stomach and intestines so much that I have made myself ill for days, wallowing in complete agony. I’ve ended up bleeding from my innards because of laxatives and binged food.
– I have experienced madness and treated people I care about appalling for, literally, no real reason. All because my self-esteem and ability to rationalise were so utterly distorted.
– I have lied and deceived people to hide what has happened to me, then eaten, then starved because of the guilt, then ‘hated’ them for making me feel that way.
– I have spent my last money on staying in alone and eating because that’s all there was in my life: food. Yesterday I spent my last scrap of cash before payday but this time it was on spending an evening with people I love.
There’s plenty more I could write but some of it is too horrible for me to even think about recording here and at least the above might give a small glimpse of the sheer madness that is part of bingeing and purging.
Today’s message: get help. If you are a bloke who has even vaguely been in a similar place with their relationships with food then don’t go it alone. I know very few people who have been able to recover from their disorder in a lone, isolated way. Instead, what you need is love and support and access to professional healthcare services who understand what you’re going through.