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I Am a Mom with an Eating Disorder

by Tiffany Green 3 years ago in family
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Even parents can experience mental health conditions.

It was the end of 2017 and I noticed a shift. In a way, I had gotten used to the frequent anxiety attacks and bouts of depression. This was different. I felt like a bottomless pit. I was constantly eating for no reason other than I felt compelled to. I was eating two to three times the "normal" amount almost every day and my body started to reflect that. But more than the physical changes, I noticed the mental changes. Every time that I was left in a pile of candy and snack cake wrappers late at night, I felt guilty. I felt ashamed. I felt out of control. I was eating the snacks that we were buying for our kids and even though they never went without, it got to a point where it was costly. I was having to buy more than I normally would in order to feed my appetite. My husband would come home from work, walk in the kitchen, and ask something along the lines of, "Where did all the fruit snacks go?" I had to look at him, the obvious shame and embarrassment in my eyes, and tell him that I ate them all. In one sitting. I was bawling all the time, depressed, because I didn't know how to stop. Finally, after a few months of this, I decided to seek help.

Binge eating disorder. That's what she called it. I hadn't heard of binge eating disorder before. I was uneducated like a lot of Americans, and I assumed eating disorders were only for people who were underweight or trying to lose weight. I was supposed to see my psychiatrist regularly. I even planned on taking medicine. However, being a mom is an around the clock responsibility. And between taking care of my little ones and working from home, I let my health get put on the back burner. Again.

Months went by, almost a year, and the scale kept going up. I still felt the same guilt and shame after eating, but it's like I had accepted that this was me. That I was always going to be this way. I never left the house. I didn't want to be around people. I just lost hope. And that hopelessness intensified the depression I was going through. This was particularly rough as a stay-at-home mom. Even though I wanted to lay in bed all day, I still have to get up with my kids, take care of them, and prepare good, healthy meals for them, while hating the sight of food. When you're in a dark place and you have children who are relying on you, you have to spend every day pretending that you are okay. You don't want them to see you crack. You don't want them to be worried or scared. This took a huge toll on me, which led to more binge eating. It was a cycle.

I wish I had a happy ending to this story, but I'm still a work in progress. In all honesty, I find myself struggling with intense restriction now. I went from one extreme to the other, only this time, it's different. I have to admit I feel a small victory when I step on the scale and it's lower. But that victorious feeling is quickly diminished by the urge to "do better" or "lose more." I'm counting calories, stepping on the scale every day, and obsessing over nutrition and my weight in secret. I'm hard on myself when I stumble, and I hold myself to unattainable expectations. I'll likely struggle with disordered eating for the rest of my life, but I have hope and I have scheduled another appointment to get myself on track. Not just for myself, but for my family as well.

When you're a parent, you're not supposed to talk about these things. You're supposed to be stable all the time. You're supposed to be fine. Once you start talking about poor mental health and being a parent, people judge. They think you're not fit, they think you don't appreciate your kids, they think you're selfish. But that's not true. I love my kids, they are one of the few joys in my life. I would do anything for them. And no matter how bad I feel, I will always make sure that they are well taken care of, even if it exhausts me. As parents, we should feel comfortable speaking up about the hard times and the struggles we face. We're not perfect. And if you are struggling with or may think you have an eating disorder, please talk to someone. Even if you don't feel comfortable talking to a therapist or psychiatrist, find a friend. Get better before it gets worse. Don't follow in my footsteps.

family

About the author

Tiffany Green

Just a stay at home mom writing as a creative outlet. Sharing my experiences, thoughts, and opinions to open the minds of others.

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