***WARNING*** Read with caution. This post may cause triggers if you are recovering from an eating disorder.
I have an eating disorder. This is not known by many people. I suppose I have always been too embarrassed to admit the problem.
I realized I had a problem in high school, but I never told anyone. Something told me that my habits weren't quite right. Normal people don’t hide food in their rooms and have secret stashes of sweets. Normal people don’t sneak into the kitchen when people aren't looking to get a snack. Normal people don’t measure how much of something they ate just to make sure they aren't the one to finish the bag. Normal people don’t plan their errands around how many fast food places they can hit. And normal people don’t sneak into the bathroom to puke their food up.
It never became serious until I went to college. I was lonely. I missed my family. I missed my friends. I made new friends, but I was worried they wouldn't like me if I was anything but perfect. The puking became a huge problem. I knew it was dangerous, so I got help. I went to the nurse at our college, and she put me in touch with a counselor. I stopped purging, but it took me a long time to stop binging. In fact, I had problems with binging up until just a few years before my mother passed.
My parents never knew. My sister knew a little, but I didn't tell her the whole story. You see – my parents were sick. My father was recovering from more heart complications. My mother had just lost her leg from an infection, and her diabetes was out of control. My sister had just gone through a terrible miscarriage. We had several deaths in the family. The last thing anyone needed was more problems coming from me. So I kept it a secret. I went through the entire process alone. This wasn’t the only thing I kept a secret. I figured it was better to handle things myself rather than add stress to the people I love.
As years went by, I finally mentioned to my sister that I had trouble with binging, but I never told her how serious it once was. It is still something I struggle with from time to time, but for years I have been able to be in control of it.
All this stress with Dad is taking a toll on me. I have gone back to binging. I do really well, but at the end of the day, it all falls apart. I’ll just sit and binge. Yesterday was my wakeup call that I may really be in trouble.
I had a great day. We signed Dad out of the health rehab center and took him for a picnic. My sister came up with the kids. We spent hours at the park – eating, playing with the kids, talking. It was fun. It was the most fun we have had as a family in a long time. Then everyone went home.
I was lonely. I was bored. I was upset because I tried on a pair of summer pajamas that I loved last year and no longer fit this year. I was depressed. So I started eating. I ate A LOT! I ate until I was sick. It wasn’t until I found myself leaning over the toilet with a finger down my throat that I had a ‘What the hell are you doing?” moment. I stopped myself, but it scared me.
I think it may be time to get help again, but I’m not really sure where to start. I don’t have much money. Paying for help is not an option. Yet, I can see myself start to fall apart again. I’m exercising every single day. I plan healthy meals every single day. These binges are erasing all of my hard work.
I hate it.