TRIGGER WARNING: Mentions of eating disorders, mental health
I wasn’t sure I would be able to write this post. I’m currently in therapy tackling my depression, anxiety and unhealthy relationship with food. I never realised how unhealthy it was until my mum pulled me aside one day and said that she believed I had an eating disorder. I was never diagnosed with one but I have had other medical people saying so. Maybe if my GP had recognised my habits earlier I’d be less of a mess.
Let me start at the beginning.
When I was at school I wasn’t a particularly big child. I wasn’t the smallest but I was always told that I was at a healthy weight for my age. That was fine with me and I was happy. Both my parents loved their food and my dad was an amazing cook. If he made curries or corned beef hash, I would eat! I would snack fine and I never thought about what I was eating. I never needed to.
It wasn’t until the bullying at secondary school kicked started something in me.
You know how cruel children can be when they want to.
I had all the usual insults thrown at me on a daily basis:
Year 7 was the first time I was ever called fat.
I can look at photos from when I was 11 and see that I wasn’t fat at all. My face was round but that was genetics and I couldn’t control those.
So many things happened during my years at school that contributed to my life spiralling. The bullying, my dad dying and just your general teen stresses. I’ll admit that I did start eating more to distract myself from my thoughts. If I ate, I could focus on something instead of crying. Skip to 2010 when my GP at the time said the worst thing than any of my bullies:
“You are morbidly obese.”
I was 10 and a half stone.
How could a medical professional look at that weight and say that I was not just obese but morbidly obese? According to the NHS, a person can be classed as that when they are either 100 pounds over their ideal body weight or at a BMI of 40. Is it any wonder that I developed eating disorders after this?
I went from a woman in her 20s who ate food normally to someone who only ate bites.
Whenever I got a meal I would leave at least half of it. If I ate bread, I would pull the middle of the sandwich and leave the rest. I would often skip meals and snacks during the day. I would look in the mirror and see a ginormous person looking at me.
Sorry about the sideways picture but this was the only picture I had of myself at my thinnest. I was at the top end of 7st. I thought I looked normal, even when people said that I didn’t look well. I guess it wasn’t until Mum said I looked like a skeleton that I took a look at myself.
I wasn’t well at all but I chose not to go to the doctors. I had completely lost faith in them and the only person I trusted was my mum. It was so difficult to start eating all of my meals and seeing the pounds piling her but I knew it made her happier.
The problem was that the thoughts never changed.
I still saw myself as super fat and it was killing me inside. I think it was going to take a lot of help to change almost a decade of negative thoughts about myself. Unfortunately, before I could get proper help, Mum died and my world imploded. Instead of not eating, I ate everything. I would eat whole tubs of Magnum, whole loaves of bread and couldn’t leave anything.
This is where I’m currently at.
I eat whole packs of things and then hit myself. Not gentle hits either. I will punch my stomach, legs, whack myself around my face and head. It’s so hard to type this and I’m in tears typing it but I need to be honest. Last week I was diagnosed officially with a binge eating disorder. I’ve had an inkling that this was the case after reading the symptoms of Beat, but I hadn’t had an actual diagnosis.
I genuinely hate that I’m like this and, even though I’ve lost 6lbs and am currently at 11st 5, I have to be monitored that I don’t take myself back to 7st. My clinical psychologist said that everything is linked to body dysmorphia. Ugh. My therapy session last week actually had me talking about my relationship with food and it was so hard. I’ve never truly been honest with anyone about food and me, not even with my mum. I know I need to start being though.
If you believe that you or someone you love may have an eating disorder, you can either talk to your GP or contact the BEAT helpline on 0808 801 0677, 0808 801 0711 (Youthline) or 0808 801 0811.
No question for this post but please look after yourselves and support everyone during Eating Disorders Awareness Week.