I did not starve or purge. I did not overexercise. I was not underweight or overweight. In the grand scheme of things my overeating was moderate. Yet I class myself as having had an eating disorder.
I remember in my darkest of days I would have long conversations with my mother, who insisted it was just a lapse of judgement and a dirty habit, and absolutely not an eating disorder or psychological problem. I was told just to ‘snap out of it’.
Let me explain why I had an eating disorder:
I thought about food all the time
I constantly overate even when I was already stuffed
I ate myself into a stupor with large amounts of food, mechanically, in multiples.
I felt anxious, hated myself, hated my body.
Binging became a habit
I ate in secret
I pretended everything was fine
Food soothed and comforted, but even when I was happy I still couldn’t stop binging.
I felt lost and isolated
My life was crumbling around me
I felt like my brain was going to shatter into a million pieces
So what is the definition of an eating disorder?
Eating disorders are mental disorders defined by abnormal eating habits that negatively affect a person’s physical or mental health. – Wikipedia
Eating disorders are a range of conditions that can affect someone physically, psychologically and socially. . – Beat
I therefore think there is no difference between eating disorders and food problems. I believe you don’t have to be hospitalised to have one. Like any illness it is more severe for some people than others, but if benign activity like eating causes you mental and physical pain then you need to take it seriously.
Bottom line: Stop thinking that your problems with food aren’t serious enough to be worth helping. If your mental health is affected by the way that you eat, think about eating, yourself and your body, then you deserve help and support.
No-one’s lives should be crippled by food. Reach out and get help, whether online or in person to a therapist/mum/trusted friend. Don’t waste years of your life like I did.