I’m addicted to food. I’m spaced out from bingeing and exhausted from keeping my secret. I keep my distance from relationships in case anyone gets close enough to find out what I get up to. Statistics once said that I’m probably a young white middle class female but in reality I could be of any age, gender, class and culture.
Compulsive overeating is a symptom of an underlying mental health problem but the shame and self disgust mean a lot of us never seek help and become very good at hiding from our friends and families. Social occasions that involve food are painful. Nine years of daily struggles with food have cause some pretty strong emotions, strange behaviours and disconnection from other people. I’ve become an expert liar, living a double life and suppressing true feelings so deep inside I can’t feel them myself anymore. I sleep and stare into space a lot.
Compulsive overeating lets me escape into a momentary fantasy world of pleasure but I know it inevitably leads to guilt, disgust and self hatred. So why do I do it you’re probably thinking? Me too. But sometimes it doesn’t feel like a choice, it feels like an unstoppable monster that envelops me for a while, carrying me on a perversely pleasurable but self destructive tide. Making myself sick helps to physically release all the frustration I hold inside. I’ve tried counselling, self help groups and overeaters anonymous but this disease has a pretty strong grip and unlike other addictions I can’t have the goal of giving up food completely.
I’m a secret. There are millions of us. I could be your daughter, your friend, your partner, your nephew, your Grandma. I’m just someone trying desperately to cope with life.