Do I have an eating disorder?
Friends, family, and professionals keep telling me that I have an eating disorder but I have no idea what I actually have. The backstory is I used to be really fat, at 16 I was 20 stone so I decided I needed to lose the weight. It was going really well and I was dropping weight each week for 2 years, which is when my mum began saying I was getting too thin. I couldn't understand why because no matter what the scales said I couldn't unsee that 20 stone, so I kept pushing to lose it. I lapsed back into eating poorly for 2 years and gained some of that back, which made me so unbelievably unhappy. At that point, people were telling me I was perfect, but I felt the opposite. I started skipping meals and tried to make myself throw up (It seems I don't have a gag reflex as no matter how desperately hard I try I just cannot trigger that response) and I'm continuing that to this day. I feel disgusted in myself, I can't bare to ever take my shirt off, even in private, or look in a mirror without wanting to take a knife to myself and cut the fat away. I keep lapsing back into eating more than I want to because I'm so unhappy with my weight which is why I've started skipping as many meals as possible. All I want is to be thin, thin and happy. I just wish I knew what was wrong with me. I'm not anorexic and I'm not bulimic so I don't know what is wrong with me. Does anyone have any ideas if I truly have an eating disorder, or if it's something else?
by john at 2018-11-19T16:50:59
Eating Disorder
this is the first time i'm on this subreddit and i could have written this exact post, it's scary honestly. your feeling of extreme unhappiness when gaining weight, i know exactly what you're talking about. during my ups and downs during weight loss, it felt "life ending" for a lack of a better word when i saw the numbers on the scale go up, or not go down enough. How people suddenly started saying i was "too thin". this has been bad too because i know what i look like naked, and it ain't pretty. it's not the body of a thin person. those fat flaps from 120 lbs ago stuck with me. the "perfect" comment: i've had people say that exact thing "back in Marchwhatsit, you were perfect weight then, now you're too thin" makes me cringe because i didn't feel perfect then, no, i KNOW i wasn't "perfect" by any stretch of the imagination. so you're lying to me. i have thrown up before, but like you, i have a really hard time making myself throw up. i've broken down crying on the bathroom floor with stomach pains after gorging myself on food and not being able to throw up. but please, don't, it just makes it ****ing worse. i've had situations where i try to throw up "just to get the stomach pain to stop" but as soon as i do, i go eat more. your brain is trying to trick you. i also share your feelings of disgust in myself. when i was fat(ter) i would turn my head away from mirrors and reflective glass windows to avoid looking at myself. i'd delete pictures of myself others took. your knife comment, holy **** does that hit close to home - obviously not something i've realistically contemplated, but that feeling of wanting to cut these ****ing love handles off that just stay with me no matter how low BMI i seem to get. like others say here, nobody can diagnose you here. but for me, i know i have at least a very unhealthy relationship with food, i know i have a very unhealthy self-image, and i'm pretty certain if i actually went to a dietician or ED specialist they would tell me i have a disorder.
by jordan at 2018-11-19T17:10:10
It's very important! ED's are mental illnesses, and among that, they are the deadliest mental illnesses. A lot of times people with ED's can think the way they eat is "normal" for their body. Thinking, "I'm different than everyone else; I don't need x amount of calories," or, "eating x amount of calories in one sitting is okay for me," even if that x amount of calories is way too little (anorexia symptoms), or way too large (binge-eating disorder sypmtoms). Like I said, ED's are mental illnesses. The illness itself isn't in your stomach or lungs, but rather in your brain. You can't pin point the ED's exact spot in your brain with a microscope. That's why when you see a mental health or otherwise medical professional, they can't just do a brain scan and say, "oh, look, I found it! There's the ED! It's in the (insert brain part here)!" Rather, ED's function similar to anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders. It's a chemical im*****ce in your brain. That's what makes ED's and mental illnesses in general so complex. ED's screw up your mind and way of thinking. It's why a lot of people who go through ED's wait until the last minute to reach out for professional help, or even just reaching out to someone. They never think that they're sick "enough." Since ED's screw up your mind and way of thinking, it's easy for reality to get distorted. Your brain can get tricked into feeling happy when you follow your ED's behaviors. ED's are a lot like addictions, which is another type of a real and serious mental illness. Instead of becoming addicted to a substance, people with ED's become addicted to their ED, whether that's restricting food, exercising excessively, abusing laxatives, purging, binging, you get the idea. So, to answer your question, it's extremely vital to reach out for help before the issue progresses and spirals out of control. The earlier you get help, the more positive attitude toward recovery you'll be able to develop, which will increase your chances of full recovery and an ED-free life. We shouldn't put much thought into food. If you are falling into that trap of disordered thinking, whether that's developing an ED and being "happy," or being unhappy with a healthy amount of food, you need to reach out for help. Neither of those situations are "worse"; it just all depends on the context. If a doctor says that you don't have an ED or they dismiss disordered behaviors as "normal," see an ED specialist. All doctors have a general knowledge of ED's, but ED specialists are specifically trained to help with ED's. Even if your doctor is more trained than most with ED's, it may be helpful to ask about getting a referral to see a specialist for the best help that you can get. I hope you feel better!
by jessica at 2018-11-19T17:09:55
Well how important is it actually knowing whether you have an eating disorder or not? If you are happy with how you eat and a medical pro says you have an eating disorder, versus being unhappy with how you eat and a medical pro saying you are fine. Which situation is "worse"? I know we need clear definitions and these are medical conditions but i know i have an eating disorder and ive never been diagnosed. Eating 8k caloriea in one sitting, hating myself for it only to do it again the next day, yea i have an eating disorder regardless of what a doctor says.
by chris at 2018-11-19T17:09:43
Whether or not you have an ED can only be determined by a medical or mental health professional. Just because you know you aren't anorexic or bulimic doesn't mean that you don't handle an ED; there are lots of more ED's out there than just anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. For example, anorexia nervosa is only one type of anorexia; there is also Atypical Anorexia, which happens when the person with the ED has either a healthy or overweight BMI. When I was in your shoes, NEDA's resources really helped me. Since you've mentioned that you're worried if you could have an ED, but your not sure what ED, or if it could just be disordered eating, this link may be helpful: I hope you feel better! Edit: Spelling
by jake at 2018-11-19T17:09:26