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When I Finally Faced My Binge Eating Disorder

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Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741-741.

I wrote this in my diary a few months ago. It was on the day I finally admitted to myself I had a problem and I needed help. I was going through my check-ins a few days ago and I found it and, funnily enough, my perception of my binge eating disorder (BED) hasn’t changed a tad since then. This is how I feel about it and I hope by sharing it here I will help people understand this disorder better. Here’s what I had written in my diary:

***

I made a new friend. He’s been around for a long time, but I only truly acknowledged his presence this week. He was like that kid in school you’d pass by every day, and you’d know they’re there, but you’d never look at their face. You’d never really be able to describe them, to give them a name and features. But he’d still be present there. Every day. For weeks, months, years.

My new friend is called BED. I’m scared out of my mind because I’ve always had a hard time getting to know people. I’ve always been closed off, avoiding new acquaintances and hardly ever making friends. However, I have a new friend now and I must get to know him unless I want to offend him. He can hurt me.

BED is my Blurryface… was my Blurryface. (A/N: Blurryface is a character created by the band twenty one pilots. It represents the lead singer’s alter ego, his fears — his, so to say, “dark side.” He wanted to give his dark side a name and a face so he can address it easier and eventually fight it.) This makes me somewhat happy. He introduced himself properly to me only a few days ago, but I know he’s been around for many, many months. He probably had fun watching me hit the bottom again and again, especially when he was the one who would push me over the edge…

MIGHTY PARTNER RESOURCES

If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline: 800-931-2237.

For the past two days, we had quite a lot of conversations. He spoke, I listened. He told me why I was depressed, anxious, guilty and hopeless. He told me why I felt like I had no control over my life. And then he apologized, for he was the solid reason for all of this. But it’s not his fault. Mom told me not to talk to strangers and I didn’t listen. In my opinion, it is my fault.

BED helped me build up my own, personal Blurryface. Now that it has a name and a face I can fight it. BED will make me stronger, tougher. He’ll teach me how to fight, how to fend for myself and my life. He’ll help me set a goal, and his presence will always remind me to follow that goal. BED will be my personal coach. Maybe one day I’ll be able to outrun, to overpower him. And if that day comes, I’ll know I’m ready for life.

BED chose me; I didn’t choose him. I never wanted to be his friend; I never asked to see his real face. He came to me to slap me back into reality, to show me what was going on in my own life and to remind me I should not judge people because I don’t know their stories. He told me I was not perfect. He told me I had a problem. He told me to “man up” or else he’ll hit me over and over again until I grow some balls to defend myself and hit him back.

When BED entered my brain it was like a tornado. It messed up my thoughts, memories, expectations and goals for the future. Everything was floating around in no particular order and I couldn’t stand it. So I rearranged it. But it was not the way it used to be. BED had successfully tainted every cell in my brain, making sure to make his presence in there permanent.

He told me we will be together forever. He said he’s not going anywhere without me. I told him I don’t want him, but he just laughed at my face, “Do you really think you have a choice? You don’t.”

I still haven’t gotten to know BED that well. My instincts scream at me to back away. They say he’s a demon in disguise. They say he’ll try to control me, trick me into believing he’s the good guy. They say he’ll make me fall for his charm and this way I’ll be forever trapped in his cold embrace.

The horrible truth, though, is my instincts can’t seem to understand there’s no going back now. I can’t unfriend him. I can’t pretend he’s not there because he is. I can’t pretend he’s not bothering me because he is. I can’t live on like he doesn’t exist because he does. I can’t act like he has no impact on my ways of thinking and living because he does. I can’t lie and say he didn’t turn my world upside down because he did.

But I can promise one thing to myself — I won’t be the damsel in distress. I won’t become his slave; I won’t let him rule over my being. I’ll let him show me how to fight, make me stronger, give me life lessons and then I’ll kick him out of my life for good. I hope I can do that. I must. Because if I fail, he’d truly become my friend for life.

I’m scared.

***

He is still here, in my head. I feel him taking control every once in a while and on those days I find it extremely hard to manage my regular daily activities. Acknowledging his presence, however, has helped me a lot, because from that point on I had been fighting an enemy I know more about. I researched it, I got in touch with people going through the same thing and I know I am stronger now than I was before.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via MarinaZg

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The Secret Life of a Binge Eater

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You know me. You’ve laughed at my jokes, you’ve cried with me, we’ve shared everything from weddings to heartbreak, triumph, tragedy and the mundane moments that make a real life.

But the truth is that you don’t actually know me. Don’t worry – it’s not your fault. No one really does. Not my best friends, not my ex-loves. Not even my parents. I learned how to hide the real me a long time ago because it was the only way to cope.

woman smiling with a football

Now you’re sad and probably a little scared. That’s OK. So am I. The part of myself that never sees the surface is a constant blur of terror, frustration, shame and sadness. And I’ve wanted to tell you… so many times. It will be right there – at the front of my mind, on the tip of my tongue. Those moments when I felt like you needed to know, like you deserved to know, like you would understand.

And then, the crash back to reality. I don’t know how to “fix” myself so I can’t bear to share my problems. Things are bad, but without you they would be worse.

Still… here we are. Three months, three years, a lifetime. No matter how long we’ve been together, there’s so much I have to tell you.

MIGHTY PARTNER RESOURCES

If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline: 800-931-2237.

I wake up every day with a hope I can overcome. Overcome my addiction to food – the tool I use to cope with my disappointment in myself, to shelter myself from getting hurt by others. Overcome the disappointment of a life pulled off track by self-hatred and doubt.

I go to sleep every day feeling like a failure. I still feel fat, I still feel alone. I still haven’t found success. I can’t stop eating. I’m never full. I feel weak. I feel small. I live in fear that my family sees me as the failure I’m convinced I am.

I wish I was invisible. My inability to control my compulsive binge eating pushed me out of the limelight when I realized a career in broadcasting would be impossible without some control over the self-hatred that pushed me to eat. I may never get married because the thought of people looking at me makes me feel sick. I fight tears in a crowd because I don’t want them to see me, to be inconvenienced by my body and the space I take up.

I’m not fine. You say that to help, I know. But if you understood the full depth of my illness – the compulsion to fill the gaps in my life with food and the anxiety that makes those gaps seem utterly impassable – you would know I am far from fine. That’s the word you use to normalize my feelings, but it fills me with so much shame I worry I’ll have no room for anxiety.

I’m tired. I have been fighting my body and my mind for as long as I can remember. The fight has gotten harder as the last vestiges of the girl I once admire disappear. No longer brave, smart, funny or strong, I push forward with the scraps of my armour and a waning belief that I can get better.

I’m lonely. I know my withdrawal hurts you – you’ve told me as much. And I wish you could understand it hurts me too, but it’s the only thing that keeps me together. When we are together, my self-hatred intensifies, and the voices in my head that tell me to eat, to accept my fate as a disgusting slob, to resign myself to my shortcomings – personal and professional – drowns out all noise. I can’t be in your pictures, not because I don’t love you but because I cannot find a way to love myself. I need to step outside because I’m afraid to breathe, afraid to cry, afraid of shattering into a million small pieces that you and I will never be able to put back together.

But the single biggest thing you need to know to understand me is that I have never, ever felt good enough. No matter the yardstick – my body, my mind, my accomplishments, my life – I have spent every moment I can remember wishing I could be better. Smarter, so people wouldn’t mind my fat body. Skinner, because in my head, I’m still 300 pounds, and I need to work harder. More successful, so I can have the life people expected for me my whole life. A better writer, a better runner, a better daughter, a better friend – there’s no shortage of things I wish I could be at any given moment, every day.

I don’t want you to meet this me. I don’t want to know her either, but for now, I think this is the only way to protect us both from the ugly truth. I still need you next to me because one day I hope to be strong enough to say this to you – and I hope you’ll understand.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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4 Habits I Needed to Break During My Eating Disorder Recovery Journey

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As a food and body love coach, I talk to a lot of women who have dealt with binge eating disorder and/or orthorexia. Most of these women were on some sort of diet that spiraled into restricting their food in a way that made them nearly obsessed with healthy eating (the orthorexic side). Often, this backfires in a binge. When the binges recur over and over, some of them develop binge eating disorder (BED). They tell me that they feel panic around certain foods (or all foods in general) because they don’t want to want these “bad” foods, and they especially don’t want to binge eat them.

I totally understand that feeling. I used to feel completely unsettled around food — most of the time I ate “healthy” foods, but if you put down a plate of cookies in front of me — all hell would break loose. I felt like I had to binge eat because I knew I’d have to go back to my “clean eating” the next day after a load of guilt and shame reminded me of how crappy I was for having this “food issue.” For years, I was stuck in this restrict-binge cycle, switching between willpower-ing my way through weeks of clean eating only to find myself diving head-first into a jar of almond butter plus half a box of Oreos. Recovering from an eating disorder is tricky. You have to literally relearn how to eat “normally” again (a strange thing to forget how to do, huh?). Now that I’m on the other side, there are a few things I wish I’d known earlier that would’ve helped me understand why it took me so long to feel freedom with food.

1. I needed to stop seeing foods as “good” or “bad.”

This might be the single biggest mindset shift that will normalize your thoughts around food. Think of it this way: if you tell a little kid they can’t eat something, that’s exactly the first thing they’ll want to eat, right? Our brains are (and remain) primal in this way. Anything off-limits becomes infinitely more intriguing — and therefore we’re way more likely to eat it in huge quantities whenever we give ourselves permission to consume it.

MIGHTY PARTNER RESOURCES

If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline: 800-931-2237.

What you can do about it: See all foods as neutral. This is harder than it sounds, I know. But whenever you get the urge to down an entire family-size bag of chips in one sitting, ask yourself, if this were as neutral as water, would I want to eat them all at once? Or would enjoying some now and leaving the rest for later sound better? Usually just knowing all foods are allowed takes off the pressure to binge eat.

2. I had to stop cutting out foods for no reason other than weight loss.

We often think cutting out huge food groups (gluten, sugar, dairy) strictly for weight loss purposes gives us more control around food. But actually, food only ends up controlling us. Similar to seeing foods as good and bad, this heavy restriction backfires frequently. Eventually, we “give in” and want to get our hands on all the carbs (or dairy, or meat, or whatever) because our body is deprived of what it’s been asking for.

What you can do about it: Allow all foods in. Unless you have an allergy or sensitivity to a certain food, there’s no reason to be afraid of it. Sure, you may overeat on the foods that you had previously cut out before, but this can be temporary and is a very important part of the process. If you’re overly concerned about weight loss (and I’d say all restrict-binge cyclers are), grab your journal and write out answers to these questions: What in my life will be different once I lose weight? How do I know? Where did I learn that thinner was better? Is this true? No right or wrong answers here. Just be curious about what comes up.

3. I had to stop “compensating” for eating with exercise.

We’re being taught that we need to “earn” food depending on how hard we’ve worked out that day. “Cheat meals” make us feel like we’re morally obligated to uphold the perfect diet and exercise regimes. If you feel like you’re not allowed to eat certain foods unless you’ve had a booty-kicking workout that day, you’re keeping yourself stuck in the restrict-binge-repeat cycle.

What you can do about it: Keep in mind that all of these self-imposed limitations with food have been learned. Journaling can help you discover discover when and how you decided you don’t deserve to eat certain things. Challenge yourself to eat the foods you crave regardless of how physical you were that day. You deserve to eat no matter what!

4. I had to stop living in a shame spiral.

Binges induce a ton of guilt, and I so get that. Most of us think that the guilt and negative self-talk will motivate us to change our ways, but ask yourself: Has it ever worked for you in the past? Shame is what brought you to the binge in the first place, so why would it help get you out of it? My guess is, if you’re reading this article, speaking negatively to yourself and pinching at your tummy in the mirror after a binge hasn’t kept you from binge eating again later.

What you can do about it: Don’t hate on yourself. If you didn’t drink water all day and then downed a whole water bottle, would you be mad? Of course not! You were dehydrated and your body needed water. Same goes for food — when we deprive ourselves, our cravings grow. Journal after every binge and ask yourself what you really needed in that moment, if not food. Make a commitment not to ‘willpower” your way out of your next binge, and instead use compassionate thoughts that will help you cultivate a loving relationship to yourself… and stop the binges along the way.

Making major changes to how we relate to food and body takes time, so the most important thing during this healing period is to be patient with yourself and trust the process. There are women everywhere who are struggling with this exact same thing! Reach out to family, friends, and coaches for support, and know that on the other side of this is the life of freedom that we all inherently deserve.

Recovering from either orthorexia or BED is no joke. It takes time, concentration and serious commitment to questioning all the things that make you feel like you don’t deserve to feel good with food. But it is 100 percent possible. Try seriously implementing one or two of these and see what comes up for you. Remember — there’s no wrong way to feel! The exploration and curiosity of why we remain in certain behaviors is what gives us the clarity to move forward.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

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The Connection Between Writing, Self-Love and Compulsive Behavior

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I started what would become an almost two-decade long struggle with food and my body in middle school, around age 11. Most of the struggle in the beginning manifested in sporadic guilt and regret: In my mind, I berated myself for the so-called roll of fat over my Gap jeans that preventing me from tucking my shirt in (God, did I ever want to tuck my shirts in like the other girls did), and I obsessed over the way my arms looked in tank tops — a “dangle” making me feel like I may have some kind of aging disorder. Yet, most of this struggle only resulted in half-hearted attempts at restricting my food to all-veggie salads and sandwiches made with diet bread and before-bed calisthenics routines and an occasional Jane Fonda workout video.

But as I made my way through middle school, the struggle became more and more real: I started to notice how my friends were able to consume an entire bag of Doritos, wash it down with real Coke (not Diet Coke), top it off with a pint of Hagen Das and not show a slight bloat in their incredibly flat stomachs. I began to feel horrible at sleepovers, regretting the hangover the next day from a night of pizza, ice cream, chips, cookies, and cake.

On the outside, I never had a “weight problem” and was always visually pretty average. My struggle was deep, deep inside. And it wasn’t about being fat or about being pretty or about fitting in. It was about feeling out-of-control.

Here is the thing about that time period: Despite the internal monologue berating myself, I still ate fairly normally, eating when hungry and stopping when full.

It wasn’t until age 14 that I began to eat compulsively. A combination of the transition from middle to high school with my first real heartbreak sent me head first into a carton of vanilla fudge ice cream. These episodes were different from the occasional over-eat-athon with girlfriends at a sleepover. When the hunger switch inside me said “full,” I kept going… like driving a car and watching the speedometer lean all the way over — I pushed the peddle further to the metal.

MIGHTY PARTNER RESOURCES

If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline: 800-931-2237.

Oddly, I felt powerful while binging. I felt a freedom I didn’t feel in my day-to-day life. Yet, after each episode, I was left helpless and empty, despite the filled-to the brim murkiness in my belly.

Over the course of almost two years, I put on 45 pounds. Then something shifted for me… I no longer felt powerful and free when I binged. I felt horrible, I felt like I was violating myself, hurting myself, like I hated my self… yet, I didn’t hate myself and I didn’t want to do it any more. With the promise of college to take me out of my small town, I saw that a wider world was waiting and I didn’t want to be stuck in my wall of food, missing out on it all.

So I stopped… with the help of a book by Geneen Roth called “Breaking Free From Emotional Eating.” I learned about the powerful tool called the hunger scale, and I started to watch and listen to those numbers instead of the ones on my bathroom floor.

And my weight evened out, and I lost the compulsion to binge.

But this isn’t a personal essay about how I cured myself of compulsive eating.

This is an essay on the connection between writing and self-love, writing and compulsive behavior. There is a connection to writing somewhere in this adolescent experience of mine. If I were to create an analogy, I don’t think it would fit perfectly but it goes like this: If writing is to eating, then compulsive writing is to compulsive eating. In other words, if writing is nourishment to my soul as eating is nourishment to my body, then it is possible to turn that act of nourishment into an act of destruction, as I did once with food.

Writing was, for many, many years, a natural expression and expansion of myself, my soul, my thoughts, my force field, my energy.

The way I feel about my writing now is so very reminiscent to how I felt when binge-eating stopped feeling powerful and free and started to feel limiting, horrible, and self-destructive.

The natural ebb and flow of my hunger was disrupted by my misuse of food. I remember one day I woke up and thought, instead of going to school and dealing with the pressure and stress of ninth grade with all of its uncertainty, newness, and heartbreak, I could stay home in my bed and eat… anything. All day long. I could taste and chew and fill and never have to feel the sadness and depression of loss that I was carrying around (starting with the sudden death of my grandfather, followed by a painful break up, and the ending two close friendships). If I just keep eating and tasting the tastes of delicious sweetness, I won’t have to feel a thing ever again!

Or so I thought.

When it didn’t work, I had to stop. I wanted to stop. I was more than willing to figure out how to eat normally and healthfully again. So I began to listen to the signals of hunger and fullness, and my eating began to be rhythmic and predictable and feel good and normal. I stopped obsessing all day long about it. Sure, my mind would wander and do what it did, but I became so grounded in my own hunger urges and needs and queues, that the chatter in my brain didn’t matter to what I actually did in terms of eating. My soul and body took over the chatter in my brain, and I started to trust myself .

When my writing didn’t catch fire in the industry as I thought it would years ago, I just wrote more and harder and faster because then I didn’t have to face the pain of loss, disappointment, and heartbreak.

Geneen Roth talks about how food is just food and not love. It is not power or control either. Food brings you the ability to be nourished, and it keeps you alive. The same can be said about writing, yet there is a break down in this analogy — writing can bring about change, and it can bring about love. It can also bring about hate, fear, rage… because writing is art. Art has power, has the capacity to be powerful. But writing is not love. Writing is not worth. When I write compulsively, I take away my own power, my own self-trust, my own authentic voice.

When I use writing to avoid emotional struggle and pain, when I use it as a weapon against myself, when I go at it with a rawness that no longer feels healing, writing is just as bad as compulsive eating, gambling, or drinking for me.

Yes, something so good can become so bad if you use it to avoid emotional distress and pain.

When I began to eat based on internal and natural cues, I started to remember that I used to do that, that before puberty took hold of me, before I started to be afraid of my feelings, I would do a lot of things without too much obsessing and worry.

Today, I don’t eat to avoid pain. I don’t eat to block things in my life. I eat for hunger, flavor, and taste. Eating is enjoyable, but when it is over and I am full, I move on and live. There is no struggle.

Over the last year and a half, I’ve stopped writing compulsively and have started to listen to internal cues about what I love to write. I love writing this piece. I love helping my clients write. I love writing freely or writing for a purpose or writing on a deadline.

I hurt as I sit here and write this. I hurt about my manuscripts that sit in my computer and that are not agented and that are not considered by editors. I’m sad about my books that sit in my closet and not in the hands of readers. The difference is, I allow myself to feel all the hurt and pain, and I don’t write to avoid it. I accept the pain of rejection, of “no,” and in that acceptance, I find my own yes, my own pleasure for writing.

Follow this journey on Writer Womyn.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo by Steve Mason

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'I Want More': Inside the Mind of Someone With Binge Eating Disorder

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I want more, but my stomach is full beyond its limits.

I want more to fill this emptiness gnawing at me, twisting my insides.

I want more because I can’t stop.

I want more because it’s so good.

I want more, I want more, I want more.

Binge eating is a constant struggle. It’s so exhausting to fight off the urge to eat every little morsel I can find. Eating fills my time, but not my stomach. I still feel hollow, and eating is the only way to get rid of that emptiness. I’m not hungry, but I can’t stop eating the leftover wedding cake or the doughnuts my mom bought the other day.

Ten doughnuts in one day. All because I couldn’t control my binge eating.

Some days are worse than others. Some days I eat an entire tub of brownie ice cream, along with a bag of chips, a big bowl of cereal, some cookies, a few peanut butter sandwiches, and a handful or three of Hershey chocolates. And other days I barely eat anything. Sometimes my binge eating chokes me, and I can’t find the strength to fight back. It consumes me, and all I know is I need to eat the entire six-pack of chocolate hot cross buns as fast as I can. I guiltily shove them into my mouth, knowing I’ll regret it later.

But I don’t care because I just need to eat.

It never really had a huge impact on me until I realized how much weight I was gaining, and how fast it was piling on. I became hyper-aware of every piece of food I was putting into my mouth, and it always led to self-hate. I would stare in the mirror, grabbing the loose skin on my stomach and end up crying. I didn’t know how to deal with binge eating.

I didn’t want to accept I had an eating disorder.

I always thought of eating disorders as sickly skinny girls with protruding bones, or girls bent over a toilet. But that’s not always the case. Eating disorders don’t have one face. They attack anyone and become a parasite. They take over your life and twist your thoughts.

For the longest time I was terrified to eat in public, especially when I was binging that day. I believed everyone was staring at me and judging how much food I was shoving into my mouth. I couldn’t order at restaurants because I knew they were thinking, “She doesn’t need that much food… She’s such a cow.” I didn’t want to go shopping because nothing ever fit me, and if I did find something, then the cashier was surely taking note of how I had to get the biggest size.

MIGHTY PARTNER RESOURCES

If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline: 800-931-2237.

But none of that is true. Well, some of it could have been true, but I’ve realized it’s ridiculous to let any of those fears stop me from enjoying life. No one should feel ashamed to eat in public or go clothes shopping.

Now that I’m aware of what it is and know there’s a reason behind my actions, it’s a little easier to deal with. I try to stay on top of my binge eating by listening to my stomach. Am I really hungry? Or do I just want a fourth chocolate glazed doughnut because it’s delicious?

Life is about balance.

There will be bad days, but there will also be good days. I can’t beat myself up over the bad days anymore. I can’t let the negatives of my binge eating disorder control my life.

I will eat that doughnut if I’m hungry, but I will also make sure to take care of my body and love it the way it deserves to be loved.

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What People Don't Understand About Compulsive Overeating

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“Hi, I’m Sage, and I’m a compulsive overeater.”

I’ve said this line hundreds of times by now, but I still search awkwardly for what to say when I’m with people who don’t understand why I can’t eat any food with processed sugar in it.

“Just have one!” they say. “Treat yourself!”

I don’t know how to explain, but for me, there’s no such thing as just one. Maybe they don’t believe me because my weight has never changed by more than five pounds. Maybe it’s because my binges happen alone, locked behind my bedroom door, with all the wrappers hidden away in the garbage by morning.

Sure, I honestly don’t believe compulsive overeating will kill me, but I do think the misery it brings could ruin my life to the point where it feels not worth living.

Once a person I was on a date with cracked a joke, “Ha, a food addict! Like a heroin addict! Man, it’s been five hours since my last meal. Gotta get my fix!”

I didn’t laugh. I thought about the desperate feeling of turning into an automation, the mechanical horror of shoveling food into my mouth, even as guilt and regret pound through me. The feeling of being a regular human, free to make choices and in one moment having addiction tear all choices away from you. Nothing makes you feel weak and helpless like screaming at yourself internally, as you steal food from your roommates yet again, drinking their whipping cream straight from the carton. As your heart beats faster, you run the calorie count through your mind over and over.

You either bludgeon your self-esteem to a pulp, wondering what’s wrong with you or you build a careful fantasy bubble of denial and cease to participate in the real world at all. The feeling of helplessness spills over into all parts of your life, until you don’t trust the world and you don’t trust yourself. This is a dark place to be.

Usually, people treat the way I eat like it’s a diet and admire my self-control. Actually, I have none. I can’t eat sugar, at all, without losing my mind, my freedom and my hope. So I put huge amounts of effort into changing my lifestyle and my way of thinking so that I can avoid eating sugar, as much as possible.

MIGHTY PARTNER RESOURCES

If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline: 800-931-2237.

My best friend once offered me a bar of chocolate as I sweated over an intense craving.

“It’s just a choice you make,” he said. “Why don’t you just choose to have it if you want it?”

He’s right and he’s wrong. This is a choice I make. But it’s not a choice between a chocolate bar (no consequences attached) and not having a chocolate bar (no consequences attached). I choose not to eat sugar because I choose a life devoid of desserts and treats, leaving room for other things to grow: relationships, development at work, listening to see if I have a spiritual side and appreciating the small things in life.

The other choice is a life of obsession and depression, where the only things I can think to be grateful for are cheesecake, ice cream and Skittles. This is a life where my secrets isolate me from others and where I have to pretend wanting to make myself throw up isn’t screwed up and sad. This is a life where I try to solve my problems with food, only to be overwhelmed by all my unsolved problems.

I’ll choose to not eat sugar. It’s not perfect. Yes, I really freaking want an ice cream cone right now. But more than that, I never want be in the hopeless grip of compulsion again.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

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