Motherhood, mental illness and beyond

Trigger warning: self-harm

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know that I’ve had problems with food since childhood.  26 years of bingeing, self-loathing & dieting have led me to the point where I am the heaviest I have ever been and so ashamed of my body that even the school run is a self-conscious gauntlet that I dread. I know that there’s more to life than just physical appearance and that my self-consciousness is probably vastly disproportionate. But what is undeniably true is that my body, already damaged thanks to degenerative disc disease, cannot withstand many more years of abuse.

I’m furious with myself for letting things get this far. For losing control so badly, for ignoring the damage I was doing and for setting such a poor example to my children. They don’t see my bingeing, nor hear my sobs afterwards as I emerge from the fog and realise that I’ve lost control yet again. But I can’t hide this from them forever – I need to stop before they’re old enough to realise what’s going on.

In a way, I’ve been here before. I used to self-harm; I used to cut myself as a way of coping with life. When my daughter was born I decided that I needed to stop because I didn’t want her to ever think that it was normal or ok. It took almost 2 years but I managed it, and haven’t cut myself since March 2011. I’m proud of that. But now I seem to have come full circle and once again I need to fight against my urge to harm myself, although this time it’s with food rather than a blade. I firmly believe that my bingeing is another means of abusing my body in order to retain control, although it’s not a conscious desire the way cutting was.

A little over a year ago a psychiatrist told me that I have binge-eating disorder (he described it as being like bulimia but without the purging, and that’s definitely how it feels to me) but he didn’t consider it a big enough problem to necessitate referring me to anyone. Since my crisis a couple of months ago I’ve been seeking help for my eating problems but without success. My GP said she couldn’t do anything but to ask the psychiatrist I was seeing after admitting to suicidal thoughts. I spoke to the psychiatrist and she said she couldn’t help but to talk to my GP. I reached out to an eating disorders charity but they too told me to speak to my GP, who is still regretfully adamant that there isn’t anything she can do (it seems there are no appropriate services in my area). So I’m on my own.

Well, not completely alone. I have a very supportive husband, family and several friends whom I can be totally honest with. But at the end of the day, this is a battle that I have to fight myself. Against myself. And just as before I have to do it slowly, one day at a time. One hour, one minute at a time if need be. Having got through one day, I tell myself that I can get through the next. And the next. And the next. And I desperately hope that this is a fight that I can win because losing is no longer an option.

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Comments on: "The fat and the furious" (3)

  1. Hey Sam, really sorry to hear your struggles. You’re not the only one. Has your GP or psyche ever recommended CBT or CAT ? They are both types of cognitive behavioural therapy that can help you identify traps and triggers, and change the way you think. I had it for cyclical depression and it was really quite life altering. I’m sure you would be able to get a referral. Good luck and look after yourself. RM.

  2. Mamaduck said:

    You won’t be alone. We’ll be there with you every step of the way. Helping you will also help us too. Hugs xxxx

  3. Sorry to hear you’re going through this. I also binge eat as a firm of self harm, and at the moment I’m using eating since I stopped cutting a few weeks ago. There is some good CBT material out there if you fancy taking a look – I know what it’s like though, you look and think it’s too hard, I’ll try another day, or find some other reason not to use it. That’s exactly what I do! There is loads of free downloadable material on http://www.get.gg I’m lucky that I have a CPN going to go through stuff with and to provide encouragement because if my other mental illness, but there’s no reason you can’t do it yourself. Maybe involve a friend or family member to give you encouragement. Good luck x

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