When You're Stuck On the 'Hamster Wheel' of Binge Eating Disorder


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.

The last article I wrote that was specifically about my binge eating disorder (BED) got 900 hearts.

I remember seeing the number — feeling my heart jump with excitement. My words had reached 900 people, most of whom do not know me.

But since the publishing of that article — during which I begged the shame I felt to leave me — nothing has changed. Binge eating disorder is a serious illness, and the silence surrounding it is serious too.

I’m not sugarcoating it or floating around that point anymore.

The silence is more lethal than the bingeing itself.

Sugar kills. Yes, I know that. But do you know what can kill faster than levels of glucose ingested per binge?

Shame.

Feeling afraid to see your parents’ reactions. Being unable to move when confronted by a friend. Crumbling inside as you see the laughs of those around you.

It hurts. It really bloody hurts.

And just like any vicious cycle, the pain then feeds the addiction. It sends us back to the self-loathing — to the drill sergeant in our heads that remind us how weak we are, how selfish we are, how disgusting we are.

In the last few months, aspects of my mental health have really improved. Despite feeling sickened by my appearance, I no longer have to hide from every reflective surface. In fact, there are times at which I can appreciate my body for the functional and — dare I say it — beautiful thing it is.

No, I am not void of the pain, but my ability to function has increased, so why am I now bingeing more than ever? Why am I crossing lines I have never dared cross before?

Yes, you guessed it. Because I’m ashamed. I cannot even begin to form the word “binge” in my mouth. I cannot face my helpless mother as she struggles to find the words she wants to say. I cannot reach out to a friend and tell them the humiliating thing I committed and hear the silence on their end of the phone. I am so ashamed of this illness that I cannot face it long enough to fight back.

I cannot face the loneliness and isolation that bingeing creates.

Binge eating disorder puts our bodies through relentless amounts of stress. And then this shame, this distaste for our own bodies, creates a mental stress that quite literally pulls us into our beds to hide.

Stress, regardless of where it comes from, is the leading cause behind binge eating disorder. It pushes me into that vicious cycle and the shame then works to keep you trapped, forcing you to keep going like a rodent on a hamster wheel.

So maybe taking shame out of the equation could help us escape the cycle. Yes, the stress will eventually drag us back, but wouldn’t it be great to have some time outside of the cage? Some time to sort out why we are so lonely that we feel the need to binge?

It might not be the cure for binge eating disorder, but it could be the first step towards recovery.

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.

Unsplash photo via Usama


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.



Related to Binge Eating Disorder

Friends sharing a delicious pizza on a rustic table, they are holding a slice, top view

What Eating Pizza Means to My Binge Eating Disorder Recovery

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. Eating pizza in public has become my new Everest. As someone on the road to recovery from an eating disorder, eating pizza has become an emotional rollercoaster [...]
Vector beautiful woman with long hairs and feathers

Why Self-Care Should Be My Motivation for Binge Eating Disorder Recovery

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. From an early age, girls are often exposed to images that help them formulate their beliefs on how they should “be,” how they should look and how [...]
woman looking over shoulder

How I'm Learning to Love Myself in Binge Eating Disorder Recovery

To love your body for what it is and what it does for you is something many people struggle with. In fact, I have only met one person who is OK and happy with themselves in my entire life. This is something that pains me because as a beautiful and talented human species, we should [...]
woman laying on couch

How I'm Finding Meaning in the Meaningless of My Mental Illness

I have been struggling for the last few weeks. Scratch that — the last four years. I’ve been trying everything, believe me. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), painting, drawing, coloring, singing, exercising, reading, being outside. It all seems to be repetitive and to be honest, I’m growing nauseous trying to keep trying. That doesn’t mean I [...]