In mid-March, when Boris Johnson beamed into the nation’s residing rooms to announce the start of the nationwide lockdown, I used to be stuffing mini eggs into my mouth anxiously. As soon as they had been carried out, I went to the native store and stocked up on candy treats to replenish what I might later check with because the “emergency drawer” of my fridge.
It wasn’t the primary time I’d ever eaten an excessive amount of in an try and numb the anxious emotions effervescent inside me, but it surely’s the primary time I can keep in mind feeling fully uncontrolled – and unable to cease. And it wasn’t till we entered the second nationwide lockdown in November that I realised my relationship with meals had veered into harmful territory.
I don’t need to give the impression that I beforehand had a wholesome relationship with consuming; I’m undecided many people do. I’ve all the time struggled with portion management and consuming an excessive amount of every now and then – fairly actually, who hasn’t? However for the previous few years no less than, I’ve been capable of rebalance this with train – of which I do rather a lot – and have kind of felt on prime of it.
But one thing modified over lockdown, the whole thing of which I spent alone in my London flat, removed from household and pals, attempting to not lose my thoughts. At first I assumed it was boredom driving me to eat, however quickly I observed a rabid compulsion to push meals into me in moments of overwhelm. Consuming felt numbing and helped me to drown out the chaos that was occurring round me.
A lot in the identical approach as consuming alcohol relaxes you, there was one thing calming about it and, with out the flexibility to let off steam on the pub with pals, I stored discovering myself resorting to bingeing. It was high-quality, I reasoned – higher than having a panic assault with nobody round to assist me. However nonetheless I felt ashamed. Folks had been dying, others had been risking their lives – all I needed to do was to cease consuming. Was it actually that arduous?
It wasn’t till October that I used to be able to admit that my lockdown “drawback” was extra of a compulsion or a dysfunction. By this level, I had gained a few stone, none of my garments match and I used to be bingeing recurrently in secret, terrified that my new companion – who I’d met throughout lockdown – would discover out and wish nothing to do with me.
I used to be uncontrolled. As somebody who has been identified with Obsessive Compulsive Dysfunction (OCD), this shouldn’t have come as a lot of a shock. And so finally I introduced it up with my therapist, who occurs to concentrate on consuming issues, and we talked about methods to handle the compulsions and overcome them. She informed me how regular all of it was. I discovered it reassuring. Releasing my secret into the air loosened its grip on me. I used to be capable of inform my companion, who was amazingly compassionate and supportive, and has purchased some books for us to learn collectively. I really feel a lot much less alone.
I realise that I’m lucky to have entry to this assist and that I used to be capable of determine this situation earlier than it turned extra critical. Many aren’t so fortunate. For all we’ve progressed as a society in terms of understanding disordered consuming, there’s nonetheless a lot stigma and ignorance. Whereas consciousness of the difficulty is actually higher than it as soon as was, dialogue round binge consuming is sorely missing. If anybody is studying this and may relate to the emotions described, please do ask for assist. Disgrace doesn’t have the identical energy within the open. You should really feel higher.
For recommendation and assist, name BEAT on 0808 801 0677 or go to beateatingdisorders.org.uk