As I write this, I am in a full-scale binge mode. At times like this, I am so distressed I feel as though I want to die, or as though I may die because the amount of food that I consume appears to be more than my body can take. It physically hurts.
Explaining this condition is definitely not something that comes easy, as it is usually accompanied with a cold and sharp lack of understanding from the listener, resulting in further hurt. So, like I said, I'm writing to distract myself at this current moment in time, because it is difficult to finish off a share bar of chocolate and type at the same time. The chocolate, by the way, is nothing in comparison to the amount of biscuits, McDonald's, and chocolate I have already hoovered up.
So, where to start.
When I was about thirteen, I realised that I was quite an annoying person to be around (thank you to the crappy and immature friends I had at that time). After extensive sweat and tears over trying to change how I acted in certain situations, I gave up, concluding that If I was beautiful enough, it really wouldn't matter how I acted. From then on, my exercise routine increased and my food intake decreased (thank you, this time, to Instagram being my role model). It began to develop to a point where my body could no longer take the stress it was under and began to fight back. I didn't eat for a day? The next day I ate a full packet of digestive biscuits for breakfast, and baked myself a cake for desert. Skipped lunch? Empty the fridge that evening.
My body began falling into a pattern of strict dieting, until the point where it could not take it and flipped to starvation mode, thus eating everything in sight to stockpile energy for the next "famine" my body believed would be coming.
Of course, for a girl whose mind is now wholly transfixed on her weight decreasing, overeating was the worst possible thing that could happen. It was the last thing I wanted, and sent me into panic mode as I once again desperately tried to snatch back the calories I had ingested before my body turned them to fat. This came through escalating measures.
As you can see, it becomes a vicious cycle, as the overeating becomes triggered over and over again.
This overeating is what we call a binge in the world of screwed-up people. A binge is when a person eats with a complete lack of control to a point where it hurts to eat anymore and they may even become sick because of it. It comes often when the person wants it the least—well, it isn't like they ever really wanted it anyway. Sometimes, a binge can be triggered by strict dieting, and other times it is down to heightened emotions. For example, if I feel very low, guilty, or bored, it can trigger a binge. Actually, general anxiety is the worst for it. If I have something big coming up, look for me in the fridge.
It has been four years of torment, I must say. Food is no longer food, but numbers. When I look at my dinner, no matter how nice it is, all I can see is the number of calories it contains. My mind is always counting, keeping track of my eating, telling me when I am putting on weight. My muscles are always sore from exercise, my heart is always heavy with shame and anger, especially when I look at myself in the mirror. It's repulsive, it really is.
When binging, it is like all the hard work that was invested into losing weight goes down the drain. You finally see scale numbers decrease, and suddenly your body decides to put on triple what you have lost. You hate- despise food, and yet your own hands are cramming it down your throat. The same mind that tells you daily that you are too fat to be loved is the one that loses will power and caves in, allowing your body to take control and force-feed you. As someone who suffers depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder, I must say that the worst out of all of it is the bulimia.
Food is your worst enemy. Food and yourself. It's why I believe bulimia is such a difficult thing to accept at times. To the sufferer, it is an addiction as strong as drugs. Eating releases hormones, which is often why binges are addictive and become repetitive. They release something that makes you feel just a little better in the subconscious for a split moment. The hard part is, you cant go cold- turkey on food like you can drugs. That's another kind of eating disorder. Food is always around, and always causing us grief.
Bulimia really messes with you, because after every deeply despised binge, a part of you tells yourself, "It's just food, you could have stopped yourself." Another part of you knows how untrue that is, but you cannot help but project all your loathing and hatred onto yourself, blaming yourself for what has once again happened.
Bulimia picks you apart. You lose hope, the one goal you have you cannot achieve. You lose respect for yourself. You don't even remember how to love who you are. You lose your joy, because everything comes crashing down when things become good.
Now, just to add a tiny ray of positivity to this very mood-dampening article—if this is you who is suffering, I do hope you can find comfort through being able to relate to what I am saying, and I am so sorry you too have to endure this. The thing is: you will get better. I will get better. It has been a long time for me already, but mental illness does not define us, and is an opportunity for us to grow as people. Learn from your difficulties so one day you can be the person to pull another sufferer out of the same situation. Everyone heals eventually, you just have to want it.
The first steps to becoming better involve acceptance. If you feel that you struggle with your self esteem and weight, talk to someone. Family or friends are important, but also someone medically trained who can recommend further help. A psychologist or counsellor can work wonders. If you are in Northern Ireland, CAMHS (Child and Adult Mental Health Services) is a great organisation which I have gone through myself. Seek help, and don't hesitate. This can be your turning point.
Now, I'd better go, because for now, there is a kitchen of food waiting for me and I have run out of chocolate.