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Disordered eating

I posted a couple weeks ago about nearing a relapse in self harm. I didn’t, which is great, but now I realize that I’m looking for other ways to hurt myself and its coming out as a lot of disordered eating. This isn’t the first time that it’s happened, I’ve struggled on and off with this for the last several months. My anxiety has been running really high the last month and I’m starting to slip into a depressive episode.

When it comes to my struggle with self harm/cutting, I know how to cope and how make sure I don’t relapse. But the eating stuff is different and I don’t have a lot of experience with it and I don’t know how to cope with this. Its been a lot of restricting and fear of food I guess? My chest gets really tight right before and right after eating so I think eating itself is causing some anxiety in me. Eating in front of people is terrifying for me and it takes me twice as long to eat with others as I do by myself. I’m not really sure what any of this means, I just know I need help. I do have a therapist, but I’m in the process of transitioning to a new one because my current on just left the clinic and I don’t start with my new one until the 3rd. So until then if anyone could provide some help or guidance…that would be amazing.

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Hi friend. I saw this post didn’t have a response yet. I just wanted to come in and check on you. See how you were doing now that it’s been a day. Let you know that someone sees you, read your post and cares.

I know sometimes waiting for that transition till the next appointment for a therapist can be a tough one. So I’m glad you reached out.

You know, if you aren’t already, you’re welcome to talk and share in the #realtalk thread in the Heart Support discord. There’s a lot of friendly people active there. Let me know if you need a link.

Stay strong my friend. I know it’s not easy.

  • Kitty
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Hi @TheJediAshCash,

Thank you for being here. :heart:

First of all: congratulations! I remember the post you sent here about your desire to self harm again. So right now, I’m very glad to know that you didn’t relapse. I hope you’re proud of you for this. You’re strong. :heart:

There are many ways to self harm other than cutting and you point out something really interesting. Most of the time, it concerns ways to cope with strong emotions. Even something that could seem positive at first. It’s a personal point of view but I think anything can be turned into a way to self-harm. For example: exercising or working too much. Being healthy or productive is often valued, but not if it affects your health. I guess for those kind of thing, it’s mostly a matter of balance that you have to build progressively because excess leads to harmful behaviors. Everything is in the “too much” or “not enough” part.

I had eating disorders for too many years and I consider myself as being still vulnerable because of this. And I found that the most difficult thing was the fact that you can’t suppress food from your life: you have to learn to live with it. When you cut yourself, you add something new to your life, something you don’t need to live. Which is a bit different.

This fear to eat in front of others and this tendency to have a lot of restrictions can be improved. And the fact that you’re aware of the situation is really important. Maybe you can try, at first, to identify which food makes you feel more nervous, so you can try to add a bit of it in your meals. For example: chocolate stresses you. Then try to add just a bit of chocolate at the end of your dinner. Even if it’s just a little. When you fear food and, by extension, when you have anxiety, to expose yourself to what stresses you is really important. It’s hard. But if you avoid systematically what scares you, you’ll let your fears grow and, over time, take control of your decisions. It’s a kind of desensitization that needs to be done really progressively and every victory is important. You can do this! :slight_smile:

Also, an other thing that helped me sometimes was to really take the time to cook. It helps you to “feel” (see/smell then taste) what you eat. Mindfullness can be really important when you eat. To give yourself enough time during your meals so you don’t skip it and you can put some rituality in it. Don’t hesitate to be creative, to try new things, to compose some colorful meals! The idea is to participate actively to what you’re gonna eat. Then put on some relaxing music or podcasts to make this moment less stressful. While you eat, you can try to focus on what tastes you can identify. How can you qualify it? Is it pleasant or not? What could you add or change to make it even better the next time? (…)

Just some examples to say that you can add simple things to make the moments you eat more comfortable and enjoyable. :wink:

I’m glad to hear that you’re in a transition between two therapists. I hope the next one will be helpful and supportive. It can be hard, even for profesionnals, to understand eating disorders or, at least, struggles/fears related with food. But the way you described it here makes the situation perfectly understandable and you’re already really self-aware. Hopefully this therapy can help you to work on the motivations behind this and find healthier ways to cope.

Hold fast. :heart:

Thank you guys for responding, I’m just seeing them now(I didn’t get the notification in my email).

I noticed a couple things over the weekend in regards to this.

  1. My chest gets really tight and it gets really hard to breathe after I eat. Like the food sitting there gives me more anxiety.
  2. I can’t sit still after I eat and its not until i start moving that I start breathing normally again. I either end up pacing or dancing or something so the food doesn’t sit there and I guess so I don’t feel bad about eating it or something.
  3. I weighed myself before the weekend started and I lost weight from the last time I weighed myself and that was…really exciting for all the wrong reasons.
  4. I think the way my mom talks about herself is impacting this to a certain degree. Every time I offer to do a chore or something for her she refuses because she wants to get her “steps” in for the day. It’s a small thing but I think its somewhere at the back of my head.

And I’m really mad at myself because my best friend is recovering from an eating disorder and she has literally almost died from it multiple times. I know what this can do to people and i know how dangerous this is so why am I coping with the crap going on in my life in such an unhealthy way? I’m self destructive, it’s been a pattern in my life since I was twelve and 14 years later I still haven’t found a way to break it I just find new ways of hurting myself. I think a lot of it boils down to control because at my core and I am a control freak and there’s a lot in my family that is out of my control but still impacts me on top of…everything else. So I guess the food stuff is me trying to control something.

This response was quite messy but thank you guys for being here to listen <3

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