- Mental Health»
- Eating Disorders & Mental Health
To Binge Or Not To Binge?
Another Side of the Coin.
Open a magazine anywhere, tune in to various documentaries, watch the television and even sit and read the notices in your doctors surgery; what do we see, so much talk about bulimia and anorexia. But what happens if you have the complete opposite of these two heart wrenching conditions?
Surf the inter net, speak to local people, listen to the radio stations and you will find so much sympathy, support and professional help readily available for sufferers of eating disorders. But wait, is it not also true that binge eating, and comfort eating is an eating disorder too?
We live in a time where obesity if frowned upon. We are told that it is a detriment to health and social issues to be fat. Daily we see and read reports of how being overweight is costing the UK government millions of pounds. We hear tragic accounts of over weight people either losing their jobs, or not being given a chance to show their potential in the work place. Or it would also appear that the fashion designers fall short at producing out fits for the over weight; not because they can not design the dresses, but they cost more to produce, and the market price than makes them unobtainable .But do we see specialised clinics, doctors surgeries, drop in centres, reading material, or even television programmes dedicated to the devastating effect of over eating. Sure enough we see reports linking over eating and obesity to diabetes, heart failure, high blood pressure etc etc. Over eating is recorded as a non specific disease that costs the N.H.S thousands upon thousands of pounds every year to treat. I agree,; I listen to the reports, watch the TV programmes, and see the overweight people walking our streets every day, so why is there no help: If the case is that over weight people for what ever reason are a threat to our N.H.S then why is over eating not treated in the same positive manner as a person suffering with bulimia?
"You can die from bulimia" I hear you say, I reply "You can die from being an over eater too" Now I am not talking abut the fat people who are happy with their life and body images, nor am I poking a finger at the over weight person who has health issue. But bulimia is classified as a mental, emotional problem. Over eating is always brought down to a personal level, Why?
Lend Me Your Ear.
I have suffered from over eating several times in my life, but let me describe to you what a person goes through as an over eater. I share these opinions through my own perspective, as well as many of my friends.
Linda was a normal and beautiful young girl when tragedy struck her family: Her brother Jason had been her best friend, and she had always had a very close relationship with him. The day of his death shattered her comfortable every day life beyond recognition.
Linda tried so hard to support her mother and father, she watched from afar how the demise of her brother had affected her family. She would sit and listen to her mother sobbing into the early hours of the morning, and longed beyond reason to help them. She intended to take Jason's place and be the back bone of the family, regardless to what it would mean her sacrificing herself. In fact she didn't even comprehend that she too may need help for the devastating loss of her much loved brother.
Linda's determination to cope for her family was admired by everyone she knew. She frequently turned down invitations to party's, she thanked her friends for the offer of a night out and when the doctor told her that she ought to concentrate on her own life, she didn't agree. She would protect and support her own family if it cost her her life.
At first Linda didn't notice the wee subtle signals that she was gaining weight, she just put it down to the lack of exercise she was taking; preferring now to come home early to cook her bereaving parents a nice home cooked, comforting meal. As the day's past Linda noticed more little changes in her well being. On warm day's when she walked to work, her thighs rubbed and chaffed so much that at times her thighs would be red raw and bleeding. Not to be worried, she started to wear trousers, you know the type, with an elasticated waist. But then she noticed that her deodorant wasn't working correctly and she was sweating profusely during the day. Her shoes became tight and pinched her toes, and she often felt light headed.
Her busy schedule now meant that she was eating her meals on the run. Instead of stopping to buy a sandwich or healthy portion of food from the staff restaurant, she would hastily grab a bar of chocolate and a packet of crisps and eat them on the way to the store to buy her groceries for the planned evening meal with her parents. When she returned to work in the afternoon she was so thirsty and so hungry that the nearest thing that she could think of was fizzy cola, so full of sugar and another bar of chocolate. Followed by more fizzy cola to take the pain relieving pills to take away the headache. Days turned into months, and Linda became content in her habit of missing lunch and snacking. It was worth it to see her mother and father smile during the day. But at night, when she heard her mother crying and she knew that she could not help, she would run downstairs to raid the fridge and cupboards that were now filled with snacks, chocolate, pies and pastries and more fizzy cola.
The pain of watching her mother fade away and her father to become reclusive before her eyes tore at her heart, so she would indulge in a little comfort. Comfort to Linda was eating. She would fill her arms with only a few items of food that she enjoyed at first, but then the carry up to bed stash got bigger and bigger. Until it became a challenge to see how much she could eat in one sitting. Crisps, chocolate, cakes, pies, sweets, bread and butter, specially the French stick. And for afters yoghurt, the fat free kind of course, desserts and fresh fruit.
Linda sat on her bed and ate, and ate and ate, until she could face no more. She felt sick and dare not even burp in case she would vomit, she would rock herself to try and ease the pain in her chest, her abdomen swelled with bloat. Even the extra large nightdress that she had unusually treated her self to was to tight, and rubbed her sore skin on her thighs, and under her arms. When she tried to sleep at night the headaches and flashing gold stars in front of her eyes kept her awake. Her body was so sore with pressure marks and she tossed and turned to relieve the pain. But once again she ate, and ate, and ate. But in the attempt to help herself ease the pain of her tortured life, she would just continue to eat, the more pain she suffered the more she would eat, and this vicious circle would eventually fold in on her.
Being fat is not just an issue believed to belong to lazy people; it is a heart breaking and devastating illness to many people in our lives, who are crying out for help. It is demoralizing, painful and emotional. There are few doctor's that take an obese person as an individual and are willing to get to the bottom of the issue of over eating; after all this is self inflicted, isn't it?
Next time you pass a remark about a fat person on the street, don't be so fickle as to categorise them, many live with their own demons every day and have no where to go for help.