Now that I have finally stopped crying on a daily basis, I have had some time to evaluate myself as a person. When that moment of “he is breaking up with me…this is really happening…this is it” hit, I felt like the most worthless human being on the planet.
I felt like no one would ever love me or accept me as I am. I felt like I was the ultimate destroyer of happiness in my life. I felt like I had nothing of value to offer anyone. I felt supremely alone.
I no longer feel this way. Rationality settled in. I remembered all of the traits that made me special – my intelligence, sense of humour, wit, warmth, honesty, thoughtfulness, and affectionate nature. I remembered that I do have my own interests and hobbies. During our relationship, I struggled to think of fun activities for us to do. But now, free of judgement and all pressure, I can easily list many activities that interest me.
I think part of me felt like I was constantly being judged or silently critiqued by my now ex-boyfriend. He was so successful in his career, so outgoing, and so confident; he was what I wasn’t. I hesitated to suggest my own ideas and would talk myself out of them because I felt like no matter what I did, he would never love me and I would still never be good enough. I realize this doesn’t make sense in hindsight. But I suppose binge eaters subconsciously feel invisible judgement all the time, even if no one knows about their disorder. That is why we feel shame.
I was also afraid to be spontaneous. He wanted more spontaneity in the relationship, and that is something I have struggled with for a long time. Dr. Christopher G. Fairburn articulated why in his book “Overcoming Binge Eating”: “Being underweight has a profound effect on social functioning. There is a tendency to become inward-looking and self-focused. This is exaggerated by the heightened need for routine and predictability, and the difficulty being spontaneous. As a result people often withdraw socially and get used to this way of living. These psychological and social characteristics are often mistaken as the person’s personality whereas their true personality is being masked by the effects on the brain of being underweight.”
I was underweight for about 9 years before BED began last year. This describes what happened to me perfectly. The problem now is: what is my true personality? I accepted my need for routine and predictability long ago. I feel like I can’t function without it. Being spontaneous frightens me. A LOT. In fact, I associate being spontaneous with binging. Binging is just about the only thing I do spontaneously.
This leaves me with some important questions to think about, and maybe for you to think about as well. How much of me is the result of brain malfunctioning, and how much of me is actually me? What is my true personality? How can I uncover it?