The battle has only just begun

To the outside world I may come across a functioning, cognisant adult who has, in the last year, turned her life around.  It may appear to anyone who doesn’t really know me that the battle has been won.  Victory (goal weight) has been achieved and I can hoist my old size 24 knickers up the nearest flagpole and salute them, in celebration of all that I have achieved.

Well yes, I have done pretty well, I’m not going to deny that; but I think I said to anyone who would listen at the time, that the true battle would begin the moment the food came back in. I know myself and I know what’s going on in my head. Food and I have got previous and this isn’t a battle, oh no… This is war.

This isn’t a woe-is-me tale because I don’t want anyone’s pity, this isn’t your problem. You don’t even have to read this post, I’m sure there’s a Simon’s Cat video you’d much rather be watching.

But perhaps, me being honest about the difficulties I still have with food may help someone else,who’s thinking that they are the only other person on the planet whose stomach appears to be directly connected to every other major organ in their body.

You’re hungry, you eat food.
You’re angry, you eat food.
You’re cold, you eat food.
You’re lonely, you eat food.
You’re upset, you eat food.
You’re celebrating, you eat food.
You’re tired, you eat food.
You’re anxious, you eat food.

In short, there is no situation where your emotional, physical or spiritual situation does not require food. Sometimes, when those feelings get really intense, the food stops being the comfort and becomes the stick to beat yourself with. That’s where I find myself on an all-too-frequent basis.

I am unhappy in one area of my life and I have been since the summer. I can’t see a way of resolving the issues and the unhappier I get and the more I feel trapped by them, the deeper I fall into abusing food. I binge.  There, I’ve said it.  I’m not bulimic, it doesn’t come back up, it just sits there like some bowling ball I swallowed.  I have good days and I have bad days.  On bad days, like today, I pitch up at a supermarket, buy food, get home, eat it as fast as I can and destroy the evidence.  If I wasn’t able to tell my husband, he would never know.  He knows what I do and he’s powerless to stop it, because when it happens I am on my own and he’s in London.

I don’t do it when people are around.  I can conduct myself quite properly in society, eat a normal portion of anything and make out everything is fine and dandy.  I’ve had a lot of practice at making out that everything’s fine and dandy. But let me get anywhere near a supermarket on a bad day and a binge is inevitable.

I don’t like doing it, I don’t glory in it, I hate myself all the more when I’ve done it and trust me, I can hate myself for England.  I know, that if I can work through what’s upsetting me then this will go.  However, like the Terminator, it will be back. My food issues are an endless game of Pop-Up Pirate, smack one down and another one will pop up somewhere else.

Everybody recognises that anorexia and bulimia are very serious eating disorders and there is a genuine case for those people to have the care and support they need.  But below that, there are a raft of people who suffer in secret with milder variants, that are a problem, but can be adequately hidden from the world so as not to interfere with daily life.  You can be as emotionally screwed up as a piece of paper; but if you look marvellous, turn up to work, do your job, take care of your kids and show up to everything and anything, who’s to know that you have a 120-a-day Cheddars habit and you hate yourself for having it.

I appreciate that some people have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about.  For them food is just that, food.  They eat it, forget about it and it never occurs to them to eat from any other motivation than hunger.  You are truly blessed and I hope you will excuse me if I smash the black forest gateau into your face before I lick it off.

I have nobody to blame for this, nobody made me start using food as a weapon of mass destruction, it’s the way I am, it’s the way I’m wired up.  In me, all wires lead straight to my stomach.

Each person’s battles with food are going to be slightly different to mine and I don’t have a handy checklist of ten easy steps to reel off, where I can say ‘do this and you’ll be fine’.  Some days are easier than others and some situations are easier than others to get through.  The important thing is to acknowledge to yourself that you have a problem.  You don’t need to tell anyone else.  If you’d like to tell me, then by all means do.  You can email me at Perhaps you’d like to take my hand and we’ll work through this together. We can keep in touch and encourage each other to slowly start fighting the battles that insidiously blight our lives.

So that’s it really.  There are no tears, there are no tantrums, there is just the acknowledgement that my food issues are back in their full measure and I do not want to go down without a fight. As a better man than me once said…

“Been down one time,
Been down two times,
Never going back again… “

and someone else said:

“Once more I tell the shadows of my soul to stay back,
everything has changed now,
and I don’t want to go back,
and nothing you can say can change my mind.”

My name’s Rachel and I…
…am a compulsive overeater
…abuse food
…have an eating disorder
…am a mess.

…But I’m fighting

This entry was posted in Emotions, Food, Health, Weight Issues and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The battle has only just begun

  1. Kim says:

    Just letting you know I read this. I feel your pain. *hugs*

  2. Judi says:

    Yes, I have it too, less of a binge and more of a general tendency to overeat whatever is in the fridge, and I have not been as successful in controlling my weight as you have. I do it when I am bored, mostly. I suppose it will be with us all our lives but we will have to fool ourselves “Oh… food… no, wait! Look over there, there’s a shiny poem to write or a book to read or a friend to chat to…” Spotting the occasions while they are happening and finding something else to do, one binge at a time, seems like the only way.

  3. Pingback: December News… |

  4. Orenthal says:

    Thoughts and prayers to you as you go through this.


  5. Kim S says:

    Oh my goodness. You’re me. Or possibly I am you. It is so good to know one is not alone. I must thank Sarah again for introducing us.

  6. John says:

    I note you state that this is one area of your life. That resonates.
    Theres something about being 90% happy that feels more of a problem than being 10% happy.
    That might make no sense. But Shaeksepeare the Irish playwright said it better than me in Richard II
    “the more fair and crystal is the sky the uglier seem the clouds that in it fly” We know each other a while. Coming at the self-loathing from two different places. The place where there are oversize knickers and shoes bought expensively on mail order to make me look two and a half inches taller.
    What would you say to me after knowing me four years?
    Well you kinda know that……cos youve said it often.
    As I tend to want to say to you.

    I have an amazing wife. Two amazing sons and grandsons. Daughters in Law. The Cat.
    And that seems to be all.
    People in real need would look at me and say that Im lucky.
    Of course it goes without saying that I am intelligent and funny 😉
    But why did I have to find that out when it was too late.
    That 90% happiness zone is a killer.

    At least youre getting the writing right. Really “right”.
    I cant get thru invisible ceilings and walls.
    The LJ Journal remains The Silent Scream.
    I cant quite get the social skills. I cant quite get that one piece of luck.
    Anger is my false friend.
    When I wake up………………..thinking delete Live Journal. Delete Facebook. Delete the Real Person Account. And the Persona Account. Delete Twitter. I say angry provocative things and Im not a good person with it.
    Counting the days…..146……to I get that bus pass.
    Reflecting on how quickly the last 15 or so years have gone.
    And thinking I could be 75….in that space of time.
    Too late.
    Nothing really helps me. Not Live Journal. Not Facebook. Not Twitter. Not my Blog. They emphasise my isolation. They dont heal it.
    I wish I could accept that the people there exist to help me.
    I wish I could accept that I should be the kind of person that helped rather than needed help.
    Maybe deep down I wish I could accept that I already am.

  7. John says:

    oops……bad editing.
    I mean I wish I could accept that the people in LJ Land, FB Land, Twittersphere DONT exist to help ME.
    And that point about Time and the years passing. I lost my train of thought.
    Paddy Shakespeare in Richard II also said “I wasted Time…….and now doth Time waste me”.
    Aint that the Truth.
    But thats the difference. You DO have Time.

  8. Peggy says:

    You are not alone in your struggle. Food has such power and can be so comforting. Will keep you in my thoughts.

  9. Ann says:

    Every battle won brings you nearer to winning the war. Having sublimated my sweet tooth and lost weight in order to deal with diabetes I am “sinning” more often. My challenge is to resist even with Christmas goodies beckoning. Let’s battle on together.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *