I recently bought a deck of cards full of question prompts, and one of the first question cards I drew was, "What is your vice?" The answer that surfaced for me was familiar; Food. I will always be conscious about food, even in times of ease in my recovery. Sometimes this reality is frustrating, and I envy the people around me who seem to enjoy food without stress or guilt. I also learn about the depths of myself from the healing process. I'm understanding now that there's always more to uncover about myself and eating disorders like Binge Eating Disorder (BED).
Binge Eating Recovery
Suicide is difficult to talk about, yet, most of us have experienced suicidal thoughts or grief in the wake of suicide or suicide attempt. Even though we can never fully understand the depths of someone else's experience, it's important to acknowledge how universal experiences with suicide are. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and the purpose of acknowledging suicide is to push through silence and discomfort to remind each other we are not alone. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
It's true that binge eating disorder (BED) has held me back, taken up mental space, and belittled my self-esteem. It's also true that experiencing and recovering from BED has also been a catalyst for my growth. When I feel frustrated with BED recovery and having to think about food more than the average person, I try to remember and be grateful for what this binge eating disorder recovery process has taught me about my values and the bigger picture.
We all experience cycles or patterns of behavior that we want to change. Those of us who have experienced binge eating disorder (BED), or eating disorders in general, know the pain and frustration that is felt when you are trapped in a cycle of disordered, destructive eating. It is especially frustrating when you try to recover and leave behind your old cycles and patterns and you realize you're still stuck in a binge eating cycle.
When I struggle with disordered eating behavior, specifically binge eating disorder (BED), I am usually fixated on thinking about the future. Fear and worry dominate whenever I try to control my food intake or comfort myself with food. The fear of the unknown triggers my binge eating disorder symptoms.
Each summer, I am greeted by a familiar experience. I shake my routines and try to squeeze in being outside and seeing people I haven't seen in a while. Summer draws out my restless, ambitious side. I've realized in previous summers that this frenzy of activity affects the routine that keeps me in recovery from binge eating disorder (BED). This summer, I am reminding myself what I need to do to savor the summer months while not engaging in eating disorder behavior.
When I drive through the familiar streets of my hometown, I experience a sharp realization that time is passing. My family is older, and my hair is thinning and greying. My friends have moved to different cities or states. I notice I feel completely different about my life and my future compared to when I was growing up with an eating disorder. My experience with eating disorders, and specifically binge eating disorder (BED), used to suck the vitality out of my life and leave behind a rigid pattern of living that made me dread my future.
When we recover from binge eating disorder (BED), or any other type of eating disorder, we are changing our way of being in the world. We change behaviors, our reactions to emotions, our environments, and the way we think about ourselves and compare ourselves to other people. Recovery is a massive internal and external renovation that is difficult to see up close. Sometimes, you can only notice changes when you compare how you feel today versus how you felt many years ago in eating disorder recovery.
Yesterday, I received a phone call about someone I love who is not well. I took this particular phone call while my dinner plate was in front of me. I pushed around vegetables with my fork, listening and processing the news. After the call, the evening went on. I covered a page in my sketchbook with watercolor stripes. I read Shel Silverstein's poems. I noticed I didn't feel the urge to scour the pantry for food to snack on as I had in the past. Sometimes binge eating disorder (BED) flares amid grief, and sometimes it stays dormant.
Around this time last year, I decided to cancel my gym membership and practice yoga at home to support my binge eating disorder (BED) recovery. I wanted to try a new way of exercising that would help me lean into my recovery. I'd been experiencing a deep shift of motivation in my recovery, and I was encouraged by my counselor and my partner to try something new. I had a feeling I'd outgrown my gym routine, and I wanted to experience a new way to interact with my body.