Life behind BED (Binge eating disorder)
One of the deadliest eating disorders.
I have always been terrified by food and yet, it was my only salvation in a world of sadness, angriness, and loneliness.
I have a secret life nobody knew about until a year ago. I was hiding behind a tough invisible armor, the perfect grades, and the best fake smile. I hid my eating disorder for years because at first, it made me feel good, but it slowly spiraled into something that was taking over me. It seemed like there was no way out of this cycle of eating to feel full and happy. I don't remember when I started, I guess it has always been there thanks to my father.
My life was and still is filled with ups and downs. I was bullied my entire childhood, both at home and at school. My dad was an abusive father, he used to hit me and my mother and he was constantly insulting me because of my weight. He once said that I was fat like Buddha, I was 8 years old.
My mom would always make me feel guilty because I wasn't as beautiful and thin as they wanted me to be.
I would go home from school and cry because of the bullying. I was constantly getting called fat. I didn't talk to anybody about it because nobody is supposed to tell anyone that they are being bullied, and also, the only time I have tried to talk about it they told me "you should lose some weight, so nobody will pick on you anymore." I felt like there was no one to talk to. So I got really sad and angry, and I would instead eat.
At first, it kind of worked. The food made me feel like I was full of power and potential, and as long as I was eating everything in sight, nobody could hurt me anymore. But then, whenever I looked at my body in the mirror, I would feel ashamed of myself. My arms were flabby, my stomach was jiggly, and I had a double chin. I hated myself so much.
I would go on the internet and search for recipes on how to lose weight, with no result. My family ate a lot of food, but they were allowed to, my father was a big fat man, but he was allowed to eat and gain weight. But if I did it, my mother and father would make fun of me. So I stopped eating almost everything. Every time I ate, I would throw up. It was my deal with myself: "I am not allowed to eat because I am fat, so I will throw up all the food," seemed like a brilliant plan at the time. Being fat is the worst thing I could have done to my abusive parents. They would always look at me with a mix of pity and disgust, like I had done something horrible to the world. My dad even threatened me, saying that he would take away my computer if I did not start losing weight.
I was 16 years old, at that point I was passing from binge eating and emotional eating to anorexia. My anorexia lasted for three years. I was afraid of calories, and I was counting them with obsession. I remember googling "How many calories in an apple."
I started to avoid eating. There were times when I would not even touch my food because I was too afraid of a binge. Before, my food intake was sometimes 1,000 calories or more every day. I remember thinking "Why do people count calories? Why don't they just eat what they want and then when they are full, stop?" But then, I realized how happy I was when I ate only 600 calories a day.
I kept checking the mirror, but I was afraid to really look at myself and start being vulnerable.
I never thought that it was a mental problem. If you are thin and beautiful, you can eat as much as you want to. And if you are fat, you have to stop eating, and that's what I did.
When later on I stopped counting calories, I thought that my problem was solved. I was so wrong.
The more I was not eating, the more depressed and anxious I became. In an effort to numb myself, I started drinking. And once it started, there was no turning back. There are a few times in my life where I couldn't see any way out.
What happened to me was completely out of my control.
When I was 20 years old, I started gaining weight again and eating to fill the void in my damaged soul. I was an unloved child, daughter of a narcissistic man and a woman that cared about him more than anything else in the world. I was fat, disgusting, and unwanted.
I saw my self-esteem and self-worth slowly chipping away. I was always afraid of my father because he would always hit me and insult me if I dared to speak up, and my mother wouldn't love me anymore because she wanted me to be beautiful and skinny like she was.
I started to think that happiness is measured by the number on a scale or by one's clothes size. This distorted idea of beauty brought me great unhappiness and sadness. I lived my childhood and my teenage years hiding behind baggy clothes and a mask composed of fake toughness and smiles. I was a sad and lonely girl. I was suffering from low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. Actually, I still am. I went to therapy only last year after I couldn't stop thinking about killing myself. Therapy helped me a lot in understanding my past and my family, and myself.
I am here sharing my story with you because, over the last few years, I have been struggling with binge eating disorder (BED). My psychiatrist told me that it is common for patients who have recovered from an eating disorder to suffer from binge eating later on in life, and it is also an effect of an abusive family and the bullying I have suffered in school. BED ruined my life. BED made me constantly obsess about my weight, and eating like crazy. BED made me extremely unhappy, depressed, anxious, and suicidal at times. I was binge eating alone because I know that if I ate in front of someone, they would notice that something is wrong with me. I am still afraid of eating in front of people, I fear their judgment as I feared my father's and mother's. BED is one of the least considered eating disorders and yet, it is the deadliest. BED is not curable, but it is treatable. BED respects no one and attacks both young (in their teens) and old. BED is like a monster, and it has no identity.
Somehow, I still have not recovered from my eating disorder. I even hear the voices of my mother and father sometimes. They keep talking to me and telling me how ugly I am and that they won't love me anymore if I keep eating.
BED is real and is a terrible eating disorder that we should all be aware of. If you know someone struggling with Binge Eating Disorder, please don't leave them alone. They need an exceptional amount of support and love, because they're not able to love themselves anymore. There is a long road ahead of me. But I hope that someday I will be able to get rid of the monster inside of me, and that my life will be meaningful and full of happiness.
To all of those who are still suffering from eating disorders: You are not alone.