When people hear about eating disorders their brain often goes to one of two areas: anorexia or bulimia. And they’re not wrong. Anorexia and bulimia are both incredibly dangerous and scary eating disorders which can completely consume someone’s life, but what is often left out of conversations about eating disorders are those which involve binge eating. So, for this post I wanted to draw attention to a group of eating disorders that rarely gets talked about- eating disorders concerned with binge eating. People claim that having the urge to overeat is unnatural, animalistic almost and something that can be controlled. What people don’t realize is that it is hard. And just like how those with anorexia struggle with how to shove food down their throats when their heart is begging them not to, and just like how an alcoholic can’t walk past a bar without feeling a nag somewhere deep inside them, there are people with eating disorders who can’t stop eating. I know it sounds silly or odd because it is not often talked about, but it exists and it can be just as real and scary for people as anorexia and bulimia can be. Often, people with these types of eating disorder- which can be classified as binge eating, feel ashamed of their behavior and will binge eat alone, or eat when they are not hungry out of stress.
For me, I often looked as food as something comforting, something that could heal me in some ways. But that didn’t make it any less embarrassing when my friends would say how full they were when I knew I could eat more. And I would eat more, alone, in my room or out of sight of the judging eyes of others. I thought I was weird and abnormal. I didn’t think my body was made normally. I didn’t understand, and sometimes I still don’t. But the guilt I would feel, and sometimes what I still feel after treating myself to a treat, is, to put it simply, agonizing. It can make you hate yourself, it can make you want to punch a wall or scream or cry or both. I didn’t think I had an actual problem because I didn’t know what I was doing could be classified as an actual condition. When I finally realized that I wasn’t crazy because this wasn’t just happening to me, I found I could also begin to love myself. I wish more than anything that I had known what I was going through wasn’t as alien as I thought it was. And that is why I am being so open about it now, because even though this terrifies me beyond belief, I know that if I had read something like this how ever many years ago, I wouldn't have felt so disgusting and so alone.
There are so many types of eating disorders that are often left undiscussed, even more than the ones I have mentioned above. Here is a link to a website with more information about types, symptoms and general information if you might be seeking help or answers: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/types-symptoms-eating-disorders. Please also feel free to reach out to me or a loved one if you are struggling through an eating disorder- diagnosed or not. No one should have to through any of this alone, and it’s important to know you don’t have to.