Hi, my name is Jess. I live with disordered eating. This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. And I feel compelled to write.
What is disordered eating? And how is it different from an eating disorder? The way my therapist explained it is that I show some of the same behaviors and symptoms of an eating disorder, but I don’t meet all the required criteria for an eating disorder diagnosis. This article from Psychology Today explains it well.
Disordered eating is serious. For me, my eating is tied so closely to my depression and anxiety, that it’s hard to separate the three. I have undergone treatment for all three. And when my depression and anxiety got better, my disordered eating got better.
But it’ still a struggle. Binge eating is still my default coping method. It’s scary how easy it can be to fall back into old behaviors. Just yesterday, in fact, I got super stressed out and overwhelmed and engaged in binge eating.
Today is a new day. And today is better. I have bad days and good days. This is what it looks like to live with disordered eating.
I read this post on TuDiabetes today, and it really tugged at my heartstrings. I can so relate. This bit especially got to me: “Dr. Ann Goebel-Fabbri from Joslin Diabetes Center has said, ‘Teaching a person to be a good diabetic is akin to teaching them how to have an eating disorder.’ Interestingly, 18 of the 40 questions on the EAT-40 eating disorder test, when answered affirmatively indicating risk for an eating disorder, would also be an indicator of good diabetes management.”
If this is true, I’d totally believe it. Diabetes so effs up a person’s relationship with food. I don’t know anyone living with any kind of diabetes who is able to have a “normal” relationship with food. It’s complicated. I binge. I know others who’ve struggled with diabulimia (more info on diabulimia her).
If you or someone you love shows signs of an eating disorder, please get help. TALK. Talk to someone. Call the National Eating Disorder Association Helpline: 1-800-931-2237. They can help.
Asking for help was the hardest and best thing I’ve ever done. It was terrifying. And being in therapy hurt. It’s hard work. There are no quick fixes. Recovery is a journey. Not an overnight change. Be patient with yourself. Forgive yourself. Don’t give up. You are not alone.