Dear Fighters of Binge Eating Disorder,
I have binge eating disorder.
If you’re like me, you feel misunderstood. No, we don’t have anorexia. No, we don’t have bulimia. No, we don’t just eat too much. It’s so, so much more than that. If you’re not overweight, no one takes you seriously. If you are overweight, everyone assumes that you’re lazy and lack willpower. No, we can’t just put the food down. No, we can’t just eat smaller portions and exercise more. Trying to explain binge eating disorder to someone turns into you defending the disorder as a legitimate disorder. Look at that: you’re defending your worst enemy! So you just stop explaining. You hide.
If you’re like me, you’ve gotten to know guilt, disappointment, frustration, anger, depression, hopelessness, and helplessness very well. Too well. You’re tired of being trapped in this vicious cycle. You would give anything to go back to that very first time you binged in order to scream at your younger self not to do it until your voice gave out.
This letter could end here. But it won’t. Because I’ve got news for you.
After struggling in silence for months on end, I sought treatment. It was the most important and most courageous decision I made in a long time. I am still receiving treatment, and I am still fighting every day. I still have setbacks; I still have a long way to go. But I am not a failure. I am fighting for my life back. And as long as I keep fighting, I am not failing.
The longer you wait to get help, the longer your recovery will be. The more you focus on weight loss, the longer your recovery will be. The more you tear yourself down, the longer your recovery will be.
You are not less of a person – not less kind, less intelligent, less compassionate, less generous, less beautiful – because you have an eating disorder. You are not your eating disorder. You are not inadequate. You are someone deserving of love, from yourself and from others.
There is no shame in having an eating disorder. There is no shame in a slow recovery. There is no shame in needing support from others. Keep fighting.
Originally submitted to The Love Letter Project (see my post HERE).