Relapse to disordered eating
Hey, I've been going through a lot lately. When I say 'a lot' I mean a lot of change. Last year I was a mess, everything seemed to be going wrong. And I admit that for the first term of school, things weren't any better, and in some cases they were worse. But one day I was texting my closet friend (cornflakes) about being extremely hungry and wishing I could eat. He encouraged me to eat something, after all I admitted to him that I was hungry. We argued a bit, and the night ended with me eating a small thing in order to 'prove him wrong'.
Before this I had tried many times to eat properly, but I'd never last long. This is my longest time that I've managed.
But, things are getting really hard right now. Every time I want to eat, it's a battle with my mind. Pros and cons are all I think about. Am I eating too much? Should I be eating? Am I sick enough. Everyday is tiring. But I had an anxiety attack yesterday, and today feels just the same. Like I am going to relapse. Like all of this is for nothing. Like I am not worth enough to eat.
How do I get this stupid voice to shut up? I want to be normal again so bad. But it's really hard. I don't know what to do.
We understand how difficult it can be to reach out for support, but we are so glad that you've done so here today. It sounds like you’ve been feeling very overwhelmed with these thoughts and feelings around eating, and we are sorry that you’re in such a tough space right now. But please know that you’re not alone in this and that our community is here to work through this difficult time with you. We also want to let you know that we are checking in with you via email.
We hope that you keep updating the community here on your thread to let us know how you are going, whenever you feel up to it.
If you would prefer, do you think you would feel up to reaching out to our Support Service through Webchat? It is available 3pm-midnight at https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/get-immediate-support and one of our counsellors will be able to have a chat to you about how you have been feeling.
Another really great option would be to reach out to Kids Helpline who have Webchat available 24/7 at https://kidshelpline.com.au/get-help/webchat-counselling. They will be able to support you and talk through some options with you that can help you through this. You're not alone in this.
Thank you for your post and I appreciate you reaching out. I hear you and can relate with the stupid voice in your head. It can feel so exhausting if it's day in and day out.
I hope that you don't mind me asking; but what does a relapse look like for you? If you feel like you aren't eating enough and you decide to eat, what is the worst thing about that? Is it the ultimate fear that you might gain more weight? You don't have to answer this if you don't like, but it does help me understand a little bit about where you are at right now.
For what it's worth, you do deserve to eat. I don't know you at all but I believe everyone everywhere deserves to eat. Eating helps us to stay alive, which is kind of important 🙂
The other resource you could try out is The Butterfly Foundation www.thebutterflyfoundation.org.au They offer web-chats too. I've used them and found them super helpful and supportive.
To answer your questions:
A relapse to me is skipping at least two meals in a row. I occasionaly skip one because I am not hungry (or convince myself that is the case) or am having a tough time battling the voices.
If you feel like you aren't eating enough and you decide to eat, what is the worst thing about that?
the worst thing about that is probably the feeling that I don't need to eat. That I am weak if I can't resist the temptation to eat. That I'm pathetic.
And yes, gaining weight. Back when I was skinny, I felt that it was the one good thing about me, that without it, I am nothing. And now that I am not skinny anymore, I feel like I am nothing. That nobody will like me. Even, that I now have to change my whole personality to fit this 'fatter' person that I am now.
I hope this helps. I tried to answer every question.
It's good to hear back from you and thank you for opening up. Do you have much support around you - you mentioned your friend cornflakes, but how about family - or a therapist?
I can guarantee you that your worth is not based on how many kilograms you are and your worth does not change if the number changes too. But I'm guessing that you probably don't believe me which is why therapists are important!
When we are hungry, we go into survival mode. Because we haven't eaten enough, all we can think about is food. I know if I'm telling myself 'I've eaten enough' but I'm still hungry I'll probably end up looking at cookbooks! - it's our own bodies way of keeping us alive.
If I can suggest something, it's to eat, but even if that's just a little bit when it's time - something that doesn't feel too overwhelming if possible. That way you can try and stick to routine and avoid a relapse too. I also think it might be worth thinking about how you've coped with this in the past; are there times where you have felt worthy, or when your brain wasn't totally focused on the way you were eating? Hopefully you can use those same tools to get you through now.
I do have a psychologist at the moment. Just two weeks ago I opened up about my eating problems, but she says she doesn't know much about dealing with that sorta stuff, so she's trying to find me someone who does.
Ever since I can remember I have been focused on food. I love food so much. The only memories I have of holidays I went on when I was younger are the food related parts.
I just hate my body a lot right now, ever since I've been working to eat, because there's all this fat in places I don't want it to be, and it's really stressful.
I'm often scared I am eating too much, because all of the media about healthy living, and working out and stuff like that. I want a skinny body like my sister has. She used to excersize 5 times a week, and she has such a flat stomach, it makes me seem like a blob compared to her.
Oh- well that's a bummer. I wouldn't have thought you'd have to be referred out from a psychologist. Has she been able to see you in the meantime or offer you some support?
I really love food too. It's awesome. I'm really glad that you have some positive memories there.
If there's one thing I know about eating problems is that it's never about the food. I know you wrote that you don't like your body - have you had some experiences there that made things this way? Why is it that you get the sense that you are nothing if you aren't at a certain weight anymore?
Gosh the media is so terrible for its messaging and 'ideals' of who we should be and what we should look like. I'm female so I know there's differences but there's still a push that we aren't enough. While I know that it's getting to you, do try and remember that they literally profit of making us feel crap in our body.