Let's start with the basics:
I'm a compulsive binge eater. I suffer from depression, obsessive/compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Food is at the heart of nearly every one of these disorders for me and when taken all together you start to get an idea about why I've gained and lost over 100 pounds five separate times in the last 25 years.
What does this look like in my everyday life?
- I eat a lot, far more than a person without a disease would ever even think about eating.
- I eat when I'm not hungry
- I eat beyond the feeling of being full, to the point of discomfort
- I do all of these things in secret because I'm ashamed of my behavior
- I get frustrated by my unwillingness to give up these behaviors and, if I stay frustrated long enough without anything changing, I sink into depression
- Depression for me is not having a bad day, it's feeling as though I could sleep forever, lie around doing nothing forever, and just getting up and going to work is a moral victory for me when I'm depressed
- My overeating/binge eating is at its worst when I'm depressed because I don't want to sit around looking at my crappy life, so I get lots of food and sit in front of the TV or some other spot where I don't have to see myself, and I just eat and eat and eat
- Sadly, there is not enough food in the entire world to make the pain in my heart go away but I never remember that until I'm sitting here - like right now - so uncomfortable I'm afraid I'll get physically sick
- The OCD joins the party because I have to have things "just so" and whenever my behavior (or, God forbid, my house) doesn't meet my expectations, it makes me angry and frustrated which eventually leads to my becoming depressed
- The ADHD makes it difficult for me to sit and concentrate on something for long periods of time. I really wish I'd known that what I had was a disease back when I was in school because I always just wrote it off as being lazy or easily distracted (words my teachers always used when talking to my parents). I also find it very difficult to sit still for long periods of time, too...makes my beloved Yoga classes really challenging but I've found ways to flex and unflex certain muscles as unobtrusively as possible while in poses to let the wiggles out without offending my teacher or distracting the rest of the class
- I can go long periods of time being totally perfect (that's the key...NO detours or deviation allowed!) on whatever diet plan I've decided to follow and during those times I'll start to think that I've got it all figured out. I now realize that it is at that moment that I should be most afraid because that is SUCH the classic symptom of the OCD screaming triumphantly over any semblance of a balanced, healthy life I might have
There's nothing I can do to cure these disorders ("my disease"), but I must find a way to live in harmony and health. My therapist wants to put me on an antidepressant to help with both the depression and the binge eating and I suppose that's a good first step but it can't work on its own. I think there will need to be extensive, really hands on cognitive therapy - that is, retraining my brain - to stop the obsessive behaviors. I don't know if getting to the root of why I have these problems would be helpful or not...that's where I've spent most of my time in past attempts to deal with my disease and it hasn't gotten me any closer to FIXING it.
God, I'm so tired of all of this. I've spent most of every waking moment for the last 25 years either binge eating, obsessively dieting and exercising, or in therapy trying to deal with the other two. So much wasted time. So much misery. I do not know how to make the disease stop but I do know that I can't stop trying because, especially combined with my diabetes, this disease will kill me if I don't learn how to deal with it in some productive way.
Sorry to be Debbie Downer but I just had to get all of this out of my head, and I can't see any of your faces while you're reading, so I don't have to deal with the shame of admitting just how messed up I really am.