For 30 years I’ve had dysregulated eating. At 15, with completely normal weight I went on serious appetite suppressants from a dodgy clinic. I would see how many days I could survive on a packet of Maltesers. I always had a sweet tooth and a taste for the unhealthy.
My life has been a series of fad diets, extremely restrictive extreme diets and complete bingeing. At 19 I was of an average size. Not thin but not fat. A healthy weight. But I was smoking alot of Marijuana which induced bingeing.
At 25, I lived alone and was struggling with my mental health following a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder at 21. My life was total chaos, completely out of control. I was working but I was severely abusing Cocaine, Marijuana and alcohol.
When I was on coke, I didn’t eat. But in between and on Marijuana, I binged, seriously binged, and started to vomit after eating. I developed Bulimia which lasted for 5 years. It didn’t matter where I was. At work I would have mini binges and find myself in the toilets. if I went out to dinner I would disappear for prolonged periods after and didn’t care what anyone thought. And home, well that was the worst.
I managed to fade it out when I moved in with a Narcissist who I worshipped. I didn’t know he was a Narcissist then and felt better in his company. I’d been toning down my wildness and chaos before we moved in together. And I’d been working on myself alot. Cutting out the drugs, reducing the vomiting significantly. Trying to follow a spiritual path. Going to Cocaine Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous.
My weight was still good all this time. I hadn’t become fat. In fact my body on reflection was quite good. I see photos and can’t understand why I was so worried, so scared of gaining weight, so convinced I needed to lose it.
At 32, I was planning a pregnancy. I had to change my Bipolar medication. And was put on a drug that triggered binge eating. Determined not to let it happen, I carried on. But it stimulated cravings so huge that I couldn’t control it. I had a fat pregnancy and was still huge after the baby came.
It was awful, I hated it, it was sickening to see myself in photos. I remember once a small bathroom towel that had previously, didn’t fit around me and I was so dismayed. I have no beautiful photographs with my baby.
I think it was here that I experienced a total loss of control to food. When I was Bulimic I still felt in control as I could get rid of it. Doing so when looking after a new baby and not wanting to alert your partner in a small flat, is difficult. I also didn’t have the energy as was suffering prolonged bouts of post natal depression, Bipolar Depression and mood cycling between high and low. So I ate. And it was only sweet things now which was different to my Bulimia.
When my baby was 2, I lost the weight. I came off the medication and that assisted me. I got as close to my perfect weight as I’d ever been. People said I’d lost too much weight, looked frail, fragile. And I loved it. My face was thin, my collarbones were pretty and my stomach went in. I could feel my ribs. I wasn’t frail but it was a long time since people had seen me slim. For me I had another elusive 2 kg to go to be where I wanted.
I would say it was a joyous time but it probably wasn’t. I was being physically, sexually and emotionally abused by my Narcissist partner. But feeling thin felt good.
He died in 2015. I was 40. In the couple of years before his death, I’d put on a few pounds. But only a few. In my head I was overweight again but I wasn’t. After his death I lost all care, I lost all notion of a healthy diet. I cooked much less and started binge eating. It crept up slowly but it got to the point that I only wanted, could only taste and enjoy, sugary, milky, fattening foods.
My diet now is 70% sweet carbs. I eat breakfast and often a small dinner with my daughter but the rest of the day is a mini binge, every single day. Chocolate, cakes, ice cream, mousse. I hate good food and never enjoy it. If my daughter has a quick meal or something different to me, I don’t eat.
But i’m overweight now. At 47, I’m unhealthy. I can’t carry on like this. Not drastically overweight but overweight enough. With a BMI of 32. I hide it well and I never feel fat. I’ve cut myself off from it. Until I look in the mirror which I hate. Particularly my face. I thought I didn’t care anymore but it is starting to occur to me that maybe I do care.
It is interesting that this awareness has come just after recovering my memories of abuse with my partner. I had buried them with him, not consciously and to a degree was still under his control. I still had him on a pedestal firmly for 7 years after his death. I am a Survivor of multiple traumas, none of which I recognised as I had thought that they were all my fault. I was to blame.
I didn’t realise how much these traumas had shaped me and the significant effect and damage they had caused. It is all spilling out now and I have complex post traumatic stress disorder and am on a waiting list for Specialist therapy. But I have decided it would be a good idea to try and establish a normal eating pattern before I start therapy as therapy can be hard. And I am going to document it on my blog.
I feel scared to document it on here. But I am hoping it might give me some level of accountability. It might help me to succeed. Doing something involving food that is not a secret. I am not just scared, I am filled with fear and it is pressure. But I am going to do it anyway and see what happens. I hope so much they don’t become a series of withdrawn posts signifying my failure.
It’s going to be a huge challenge. Doing it alone. With no therapeutic support after 30 years of disordered eating and a history of trauma. But i don’t want to start accessing my trauma through food work as it’s not the primary issue although it is of course bound in my history.
I want to do my deep trauma therapy with the place I am waiting for. Not partially with the eating disorders service. I want to do this alone, before therapy so at least one thing is settled and good before I start the therapy work.
Please feel welcome to follow me on my journey and share your own experiences.
Please also check out my extensive back catalogue covering Bipolar Disorder, Grief, Rape, Child Sexual Abuse, Emotional Abuse in Childhood, Abuse and abuse at the hands of a Narcissist. There are helpful articles on Bipolar Disorder early on and more recently I have expressed myself in Poetry. More articles and poetry and prose will come on these topics and now also on recovering from disordered eating.