Eating disorders are a serious, complex illness. Unfortunately, they are usually poorly understood even though they can be serious and potentially life-threatening. Those who suffer from eating disorders may not even realise because the can manifest in so many different ways—they are unique as the individual themselves. Nevertheless, early intervention is VITAL for successful recovery.
So in this article, I’d like to share five non-physical signs that may indicate that you are suffering from disordered eating. If you feel that you can relate to any of these signs, please seek professional help.
There is absolutely NO SHAME in suffering from an eating disorder. It is a deadly, terrible disease and you are NOT TO BLAME for being caught up in it.
You obsess over what you eat
This sounds pretty obvious, but sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between “watching” what you eat and “obsessing” over what you eat. The latter indicates that you think about food constantly. As soon as you wake up, until you go to sleep. You plan exactly what you’re going to eat each day and DON’T let yourself stray from that plan. If you do somehow eat something unplanned, you feel incredibly guilty, ashamed or as if you’ve failed.
You won’t eat certain foods
In your mind, there are certain foods that you label as “unhealthy” or “off-limits”. Even if you’re craving them like crazy, you won’t allow yourself a single bite. On the odd occasion when you do, you’re suddenly filled with self-loathing and guilt. You play it over again and again in your mind and you worry about “how much weight you’re going to gain” from that one moment of indulgence. You may even skip/restrict the next couple of meals to “make up for it” or even consider other unhealthy, drastic measures.
You withdraw from social events
A friend asks you to meet up for lunch and you make up some excuse about why you can’t make it. But in reality, you’re terrified of eating out because you can’t control exactly what goes into your meal. You can weigh your portions and you don’t know exactly how many calories it’s made of. You don’t go out to any more parties or any events that go too late, because you’re scared that you’ll be too tired to work-out the next morning, or you’re scared that you might start binge-eating if you get home late at night.
You’re moody and irritable
Maybe it’s because you’re constantly starving and exhausted, or because you’re not looking forward to doing this for the rest of your life but you don’t see a way out or because you think everyone who makes a remark about your eating habits is attacking you. But you absolutely cannot stand anything or anyone. The slightest thing can send you off the edge and nothing really seems to make you happy or fill you with delight any longer.
You have no energy
Every day feels like a struggle. Even getting out of bed makes you feel short of breath. You may not feel like this at the beginning of your disease, but if you allow it to fester, eventually you’ll start to become so exhausted that you are unable to keep up with everyday activities.
If you can relate to any of these signs, please speak to a professional. It can be a scaring thing realising and admitting that you have an eating disorder, but it is the first step towards recovery. It is the first step towards liberation and happiness.
Text: Sarah Rav