Am I a Binge Eater? Part II
- Category: Coping Strategies
(response to frightened women who binge eat and want secret help)
Good for you for writing. The first steps toward reaching out for help are the toughest. You are changing a pattern and taking what feels like a risk just by writing your fears to a person who has information about your concerns.
Why ask the question? -
You, like so many people, don't recognize for a long time that you suffer from an eating disorder.
You feel that time and will power will set your life straight. When that doesn't happen you feel like a failure.
You reach a point of desperation when you realize that what you do on your own doesn't work. When your suffering is intolerable you reach out for help (thank goodness) because you are at your wit's end and don't know what else to do.
The good news is that help and recovery are definitely possible. I'm only sorry that so much pain and suffering must precede the reaching out.
Help for you near home -
If I knew more details about your situation I might be able to suggest some eating disorder recovery work possibilities for you. If you let me know your geographic location I can ask my fellow mental health clinicians for a referral in your area. Please let me know if you want me to do that.
Binge Eating -
You ask whether or not you are a binger. I believe you know the answer. If you are suffering from the way you relate to food and eating, especially since you've reached the point of desperation, then you know you have a problem.
The reason you can’t change your behavior on your own is because binge eating serves a vital purpose in your life.
You may not know what that purpose is. But you do know that any argument you give yourself, any criticism you give yourself, any scare tactics you use on yourself do not make any difference in terms of your eating. The only thing you accomplish is that you feel worse about yourself.
Please know that this situation has nothing to do with your character, your lovability or your being a decent person. Right now you don't know the difference between feelings that are symptoms of the eating disorder and what reflects the genuine you. You are living the life of a person with an eating disorder, and your authentic self is protected and insulated by your eating patterns.
Getting Better and Getting Real
-Getting better in eating disorder recovery involves getting more real – real to yourself and real in the world. You can do this gradually and remain anonymous in 12 step programs.
But you will still have to show up and be with a group of people who will speak to each other and give you an opportunity to listen and speak as well. People will see you.If you say something, people will hear your voice and your words.
To be in a support group or private psychotherapy or intensive outpatient treatment or a residential treatment program, you will have to give your name and address. I suppose you could pay in cash, but your payments would be recorded in some kind of accounting system.
You will have the protection of professional confidentiality, but you can’t enter into a therapeutic relationship as an invisible person.
If you want freedom, you need to ask yourself to be brave so you can discover your best way to get on your recovery path. You are already drawing on your courage by beginning to share your story. As you become more real in sharing what you experience in your life, perhaps other people will become more real to you. Maybe then you will be brave enough to explore the possibility of exploring healing relationships with trustworthy and kind people.
I hope so. I wish you freedom from you binge eating. I wish you peace and joy in your life. This can happen in eating disorder recovery. Please feel free to write again.