binge eating

Trying to care for me

In the five years between these two photos:
I stopped being employed;
I left a two decade toxic relationship;
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, diabetes, bipolar disorder, and cPTSD;
My youngest child was identified as experiencing High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder;
Two grandchildren were born;
Relationships with my two adult children have been restored and improved; and I’m navigating the ongoing process of co-parenting with the ex.

I guess, my adult daughter could be right about vampire DNA 😂
02/24/2021 – In the four years since the above collage photo, I’ve become grandma to two more grandchildren (4 GRANDKIDS! 😲 🤯); Fought time and time again to stabilize from hypomania & depression; worked my @$$ off to get employment ready; completed two vocational programs simultaneously; and became employed during a pandemic…all in the midst of chronic turmoil and drama.

The smile hides depression and self-loathing…a severe lack of self-esteem and sense of futility. The hair and angle of the pic hide the double chin and side padding of obesity. You can’t see the fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, type 2 diabetes, PTSD, Bipolar 2 Disorder, and Binge Eating Disorder. Yet, I look healthier and happier than ever before… according to an FB friend.

I wrote about being functionally depressed and nothing has really changed. I still pretty much only venture forth from my dwelling are occasional grocery shopping trips and to to work. My ADLs (Activities of daily living) are sporadic – personal hygiene is taken care of whenever I have to leave the apartment or I feel too disgusted by myself. Nutrition is not a frequent thing…I may or may not eat 2 Baked Lays single serve bags of chips for breakfast or dinner. One thing has improved – I’m not waking up gasping, choking and feeling like I may have had a heart attack because I’m using my C-pap machine to deal with the sleep apnea again.

Despite the depression, I did a thing and I took a risk. I applied for a Full-time position within the organization I am currently employed with. It’s a Peer Support position, which I completed my training, with flying colors, just as the COVID shutdown started last year. I just emailed the department that manages such things to ensure my application has been received. It has been received and submitted to the hiring manager.

I’m also reaching out or responding to opportunities to connect with people I’m connected to through my faith community. I’m participating in a book study of Rich Villodas, The Deeply Formed Life. I participate in our weekly Zoom service. Right now we’re discussing how it might look when we start meeting again, since some of our faith family isn’t able to engage and participate often unless it’s remotely. I submitted some ideas, which were favorably received.

Partially because of the diabetes, I’ve decided to join a couple of my friends on a menu planning journey next month. I’m in no way prepared. The logistics of my life are chaotic and kind of overwhelming. So, I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to make it a complete success. However, I reminded myself “progress not perfection.” That made my inner perfectionist cringe in horror.

To that end, I decided to focus on breakfast. Simple, quick, easy diabetic friendly breakfasts I can prep primarily in the microwave. The first recipe I found was Breakfast Burrito in a Jar on Diabetic Foodie. Since I don’t have jars, I followed the link to the next breakfast, Mexican Microwave Scramble.

Between the Depression, Hypothyroidism, and fibromyalgia, as well as circumstances in my life, I’m really fatigued & low energy. I’m not sure how I’m still functioning at all. I just know that no matter how close I come, giving up isn’t an option.

How are you doing? For real, sometime sharing helps.

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Tackling Binge Eating: My Journey

Tackling Binge eating: My journey

My name is Keith and I blog over at Sleepless in Newcastle and I was asked to write a guest post about how I tackled a very large problem that affected every part of my life in a massive way.  I hope you enjoy it.

I have been suffering from binge eating disorder and compulsive eating disorder for around 20 years of my life.  I did seek help for it around 10 years ago and was offered some cognitive behavioural therapy which was supposed to last a whole 12 weeks!  That’s right the N.H.S (National Health Service in the UK) expected the psychologist to ‘cure’ me in that short a time.  In actuality I only received 6 sessions because the psychologist that I was under decided to leave the N.H.S practice for a private practice, meaning I was simply ‘let go.’  From there on I was on my own to try and work out my own ways of coping and I would like to share them with you.

Love yourself and the life you live

This is probably the hardest step to try and get to grips with and is something I still struggle with today, although with the support I have from people who read my blog and tweets it is getting easier day by day.  I realised that a lot of the problems I was coming up against were because I had such a low opinion of myself.  It had been drilled into me from a young age that I had to strive to be perfect in every way.  This put me under huge amounts of stress as a teenager and was one of the contributing factors to the start of my binge eating.

Find your triggers for your binge behaviour

There will be triggers to what puts you in the vulnerable position for your binge behaviour to begin.  If you can identify these then you have an important tool in your toolbox to start tackling the behaviours you want to rid yourself of.  It is a very difficult thing to do but once you can figure this out, things can be a whole lot easier.

 

Practice distraction techniques to avoid your triggers

Distraction techniques were vital to my personal journey in tackling the binge eating.  Once the triggers started to show themselves I was able to stop and change activity into something that distracted me from thinking about foods or the emotions that were driving me to eat.  For me it was either creative writing or gaming on my computer.  Anything that distracts you enough to get you engrossed will be a good combat strategy for binge episodes.

Writing therapy worked for me

I found that creative writing or even writing about my binge behaviours helped me keep a focus on how I was doing and what I was finding difficult throughout my journey.  You don’t need to keep the things you write if you don’t want to, in fact it can be just as therapeutic to destroy the writing as well.  I found it useful to keep a diary to see how far I have come from the beginning when my binges were the worst, to the present day.

Do things to make yourself happy.  Be selfish once in a while

I spent so much of my time focussing on what everybody else wanted and how to make sure they were happy that I forgot about my own happiness.  In fact, I used to make myself unhappy just to see others happy.  It became a vicious cycle where I would binge because I was so unhappy but then the binges would make me feel much worse and onward the cycle would go.

Surround yourself with positivity and focus on that positivity

I am fortunate to have a very understanding wife and children who have helped me remain so positive but also I found positivity in people I have never even met.  Through my blogging I found that people are interested in my experiences and the support and kind words that I have received from people has been a major factor in my recovery journey to date.  In fact the author of this blog is one of those people that have helped me the most and I class as a true friend even though we have never met or spoke in person.

Meditation techniques

I realise that this is not for everyone but I found that meditation techniques helped clear my mind and break the obsessive thoughts about food.  Often if I was having a rough time in dealing with my emotions and feelings I would sit for 10 -15 minutes and just relax and meditate as best I could.  It helps give a good energy boost to see you through the day as well.

Celebrate the good things that happen, no matter how big or small they are

This ties in with keeping a positive outlook.  If you focus on celebrating the small things it can help lift your mood and make the day just a little easier to get through.  It can be something as simple as somebody smiling at you on the street or getting a phone call from a friend, right up to the big things like a job promotion or a monetary windfall.  I personally use an old biscuit tin and me and my family write down the things that have made us happy throughout the day on post-it notes and put them in the tin.  Every New Year’s Eve we take the tin and open it up  and read all of the wonderful things that have made us happy throughout the year.  It is a wonderful thing and I suggest you try it even if you don’t have binge problems!

BE REALISTIC!  Change takes time and effort!

Don’t expect the changes you want to happen overnight because it takes time to change.  Remember that your binge behaviour did not start overnight so ‘curing’ it won’t happen overnight either.  It is a gradual process and it will take time but if you stick at it and use some of the techniques I have mentioned you will see the results start to come.

So there you have my personal journey through self-treating my own binge behaviour.  I am by no means cured and I still struggle at times to deal with the binge behaviours but each day is a new challenge and each day that I manage to get through is a victory in the battle against my binges.  I hope that some of these things have helped other people in their journey and I hope that I can offer some inspiration through talking about my experiences.

 

Keith Addison

Sleepless in Newcastle

Time to take inventory

Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves

Galatians 6:3-8
6:3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
6:4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
6:5 For every man shall bear his own burden.
6:6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

That last verse gets to me, “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption;”  It pretty much describes where my life has been for the majority of my adult existence. Corruption of flesh. Sounds rather sickening, right?

Pain, disease, fatigue, fat all from binge eating, eating compulsively, and eating toxic food for toxic reasons.  I have eaten because I was mad, sad, and just to be bad.  I have eaten because the food was there.  I have eaten because it was expected of me.  I have eaten because other people were eating.  I’ve eaten because I wanted to taste that special taste and experience that special feeling I had gotten from tasting it before.  I’ve put food in my mouth to keep from saying something that would probably result in conflict.  I’ve eaten so it wouldn’t go to waste.  What a waste!

Whatever the reasons for eating, it was not generally because I was hungry and needed to nourish my body – even though there were times I convinced myself that it was.  I’ve experienced true, physical hunger infrequently, generally because I was always putting something in my mouth and stomach.  I was eating to avoid dealing with the things inside myself that need to be faced.

Now that I’m beginning my recovery from compulsive eating and using food to avoid dealing with my emotions and issues is no longer an option, it’s time to peel away the layers and trust that God is carrying me through this and will grow me and strengthen me as I go through this process.  As long as I continue to turn to him and not to food.