Here’s the article, from the UK: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3278436/Binge-eating-hardest-addiction-beat-lifetime-blighted-compulsive-eating-woman-thought-d-beaten-relapse-again.html
My commentary: I find it ironic that the figure “34 years” is in there, since that is the same amount of time I had my ED. I had both anorexia and binge eating. You cannot stereotype people with this disorder and cookie-cutter treatment will fail most sufferers. The writer is correct that the literature stating BED is easy to treat is WRONG. BED sufferers generally do not respond to talk therapy. Talk therapy might relieve the loneliness and secrecy, but it often fails to solve the problem. Drugs can be effective temporarily but are not a good solution due to the risks involved with taking these drugs long-term.
As you can see in the article, the writer states that she got a rush from binge eating. Yet not all of us experience bingeing as all pleasurable. I sure did not! I never felt high from bingeing, nor felt a “rush.” By all means I never wanted to binge, ever, nor craved it. Nor did I do it because I felt “empty.” I didn’t do it to cope with feelings I couldn’t otherwise handle. ALL OF THESE ARE STEREOTYPES. If your binge eating doesn’t fit a stereotype, chances are none of the cookie-cutter treatments have worked on you, either.
Note that the writer came to terms with the REASONS for her binge eating on her own, not in a therapist’s office. She doesn’t mention going to therapy. It sounds like she white-knuckled it for a long time by using strict rules.
I think white-knuckling is okay to do as a temporary measure. Self-discipline, IF YOU CHOOSE YOUR OWN GUIDELINES, can help some people. Overly strict rules or rigidity will not work in the long run, and shouldn’t be considered a permanent solution.
I did the exact same thing as the writer did, for a while. I kept most foods out of the house. For a while I never stored anything at home at all. This included any type of flour and even kibble-type dog food. I also could not keep Tums or chewable flavored vitamins in the house. I couldn’t buy a dozen eggs nor more than one can of tuna, nor a sack of potatoes, nor a stick of butter.
My life was based on fear of the next binge, avoidance of binge-inducing situations, fear of food shopping. I didn’t go to social occasions that involved food.
Sometimes I would stop eating altogether for days on end. Starvation felt good to me, far better than binge eating for sure, and ended up addicting. This was in fact a form of rigidity. Sometimes I went on super strict and restrictive diets that caused disturbing weight loss.
I couldn’t get anyone to care about what was happening. Since mental health professionals have their own agenda, and my ED didn’t fit their agenda, it was ignored for three decades. Finally, right as I was ending grad school, I was finally able to get a therapist to notice. She and I worked cooperatively and I was improving, but sadly she got laid off.
Then and I was subject to a cruel and abusive therapist. I’d say it was narcissistic abuse. She was controlling and manipulative. I started seeing her late in 2010 and stopped March 2012.
Therapy abuse deeply harmed me. For a long time I wasn’t okay. I was shaken by what happened, and all I wanted was to be able to talk freely about her, and about how rotten she treated me. However, the friends I had then would not listen. They were good at changing the subject, telling me it wasn’t possible, or even telling me I must be psychotic.
I can see Facebook posts I made even three years ago where the trauma was apparent, yet mostly, the friends I had blamed me, or just didn’t understand. I was going to a church at the time and people at the church were hostile to me, refusing to listen even when I begged some of them to hear me out about the abuse.
After I fired Maria I had a period of time I call the Two Years of Silence. I call it that because I couldn’t get anyone to talk to me, nor go to coffee with me, nor even engage in casual conversation. I was desperate to talk to anyone I could find.
My family was unhelpful. I remember during that time, out of desperation I called one of my brothers. I dialed the number and said, “Hello” and as soon as he heard it was me he said, “I don’t have time for you” and hung up.
My other brother at least tried. I give him much credit for that, but eventually he only blamed me repeatedly for what happened. Another thing he said a number of times was that I SHOULD binge because then I would gain weight. I couldn’t explain to him what I was going through. I finally gave up trying.
To this day I have no relationship with my sisters-in-law. I had one of them on the phone around the beginning of 2016 and she was so cruel and unsympathetic to me, telling me it was all my fault, that I ended the phone conversation in tears. I have made sure not to communicate with her since. I have a relationship with one brother, but I notice he quickly ends the conversation if EVER I mention the not-so-great “care” I had in the recent past that caused me so much trauma. I suppose he, like so many others, refuses to believe that the world is anything but rosy.
I have better friends now, friends who don’t shut me down. I had to divorce myself completely from the Rosy World people out there.
Some of my current friends tend to fall for conspiracy theories. I have to draw a line with that. Some of the theories sound plausible but others are simply just too much.
Antipsychiatry is not unreasonable to me, does not at all seem like a conspiracy theory. In fact, what people in the Movement are saying coincides with my own experience with mental health practitioners. As the writer of the article says, they may (or may not) be well-meaning, but good intentions doesn’t always mean helpful, and sometimes can deeply harm.
During most of the years I had ED and it was ignored by mental health professionals, I recall any mention I made of ED was brushed aside. I also recall being jeered at over the binge eating. I was told I had a bad mother. The bad mother theories persisted so much that for years, I conceded with these stereotypes.
This harmed my relationship with my mother. I believe the bad mother theories harmed my entire family. I know in my heart that my mom would not have suffered as she did, her life ended prematurely, had these therapists not used this stereotype on me. Mom is dead now and I have no recourse. It is so hard to live with this.
I didn’t have much chance to grieve, and what grieving I’ve done has largely been done alone. My brother (the one who’s trying) says he’ll send me more photos of Mom’s headstone. But I don’t have feelings for a stone. I have feelings about my beloved mom!
I remember wonderful times with Mom. Mom was a dancer and I largely inherited my musical talent from her. Dad was tone-deaf (oddly) but his parents and grandparents were also musical. In my immediate family, though, it was Mom and I who shared a musical ear. I suppose my brothers don’t know this, but Mom and I got quite competitive at games of “Guess that Composer.” She was amazing at this game, even knowing all those Italian opera composers, names ending in “ini.” She knew the German composers, too.
It was Mom who made sure I had musical training from an early age, since it was clear I had talent even before I could speak or walk. She told me that a family friend heard me singing when I was only an infant. The family friend pointed out to my mom that I had talent, and urged my mom to get me to music lessons.
Mom had a beautiful singing voice. She told me she was assigned to alto, but she was not an alto to my knowledge. Often choir directors did this out of lack of altos. We had a family friend who was an accomplished singer who had a true alto voice, and I recall being amazed at her singing. Then I realized that real altos are uncommon. I’d say my mom’s singing voice was only slightly deeper than my own. She kept it up, singing in choirs and dancing right into her 80’s.
Unlike other moms, my mom wasn’t a yo-yo dieter, nor did she berate me for pigging out on ice cream when I was a teen. She knew this was normal teen behavior. It was! I didn’t start my ED till well after I’d left home and was nearly finished with college.
Therapists need to stop blaming mothers for ED. They need to stop assuming we’re all bunch of rigid perfectionists. They need to stop assuming we’re spoiled.
Therapists should not push the “bad coping” issue on us if it doesn’t click right away. Maybe a few eat to cope with emotions, but most of us are not so-called “emotional eaters.” I believe this is pushed too much in therapy and in the media. I’ve noticed that such therapy has a bad track record. I know in my heart that BED success stories from therapy are few and far in-between. I know the statistics that claim therapy works are just plain skewed. BED in particular is very hard to treat, as the article above confirms.
I cannot comment on the article, but if I could, I’d thank the writer for her honesty and her statement of just how much ED disrupts a person’s life.
I’m recovered now, but therapy did not do a thing to help, instead, it deeply harmed me. I ended ED on my own by ditching all the lies I was told in therapy. I’m not a stereotype, my mom was not a stereotype either.
Therapists need to be aware of the harm they are doing, and stop harming or quit the business. Joining the antipsych movement has been helpful to me. It has opened my eyes in wonderful ways. It has helped me recover fully from ED.
Becoming an activist means I take the focus off whatever is going on inside, and focus instead on helping other people. I do many things in my community that are helpful to others. I try to warn others through telling and retelling my story.
Activism has given me back the passion in my life that therapy and drugs had squashed for decades. My life is full now and there’s no room in it for ED anymore. I am me again. I love that person. I was a short little girl with glasses who always struck out on the baseball field, but aced all the math tests. I still the same me, but now nearly 60 years old. I am so proud of myself, and I know my mom would be, too.