As long as I can remember I have binge eaten.
For me the binge is almost always the same.
I’ll be feeling OK, positive even, and then over a few days my energy and motivation levels will slowly subside until I end up feeling like getting out of bed is an effort.
I crave sugar intensely, at the same time as losing all interest in any other foods.
I don’t want to do anything, I don’t want to speak with anyone and even the most basic task seems like too much effort.
I’m tired and listless.
Sexual interest wanes, as does interest in taking care of myself. I don’t shower, brush my teeth or hair or do any housework until my outward environment ends up looking much as I feel; neglected and unloved.
Eventually I will give into my cravings and eat something incredibly fattening, usually whilst holed up somewhere by myself, almost always wolfed down without tasting it.
The next day its like a light-bulb has gone off in my mind and I’m suddenly aware of what I’ve been doing to myself. I’m furious at myself for binge eating or wasting my precious time or whatever it is that I have or haven’t done.
I punish myself by setting a massive amount of tasks to do and declaring I’m going to do them no matter what! I promise myself I will eat better and exercise more and finally lose some weight.
My will power is restored and I have a productive day, because, you know, punishment.
I feel better that day, and the next, and maybe a few days after that. Actually taking action and achieving things is a real bonus to willpower.
But then, something won’t get finished, or I’ll sleep badly or whatever and the whole cycle starts all over again.
My energy levels will start to wane, and on and on it goes ….
Yesterday for me was a binge day. I woke up and just couldn’t be bothered. I eventually got out of bed, sat down at my computer, glanced at my email, noted I had no work on, and then played games. That got boring after a while so I watched Youtube videos. I watched the footage of the reports of Princess Diana’s death followed by her funeral and had a good cry. After that I felt marginally better so did some washing and made a phone call I’d been putting off for a couple of weeks. I started to do some gardening but that was just too much effort. A close encounter with a spider later I was holed up in my bedroom playing games on my phone and eating chocolate eclairs. After that I had two toasted cheese sandwiches and 1/2 a cheesecake and spent most of the rest of the day watching TV.
I woke up this morning feeling so angry with myself for doing nothing. “I’m squandering my opportunities!” I declared and wrote a massive to do list with all the things I’ve been putting off over the last few days on it.
I’m fairly ambivalent about the eating. On one hand I feel tired and listless this morning, which is hardly surprising given the lack of any sort of decent fuel, and on the other I think one binge is not the end of the world. And at least I didn’t eat the entire cheesecake.
The thing about this pattern, about my loss of control yesterday, is that it actually qualifies as quite the triumph.
Once upon a time that behaviour would have been accompanied by a vicious, demeaning soundtrack about how incredibly fat and ugly and unloveable I am, an endless litany of my many, many failures, rounded out by such a complete denouncement of any future I might aspire to that even the coldest dictator would feel uncomfortable.
Now days, instead of beating myself up I play games. I watch TV. I distract myself. I do not want to hear nasty things from myself. That is not what I’m about. The best person to love me, just the way I am, is me.
By doing that it puts me in a position to capitalise on those up cycles in a way that’s not punishment, but is in fact just taking advantage of motivation however it comes.
That said, I realise that this is just another way that I’m coping with the cycle.
What I’d really love is to ditch it altogether. We all have natural cycles of up and down moods simply because of our humanity. I’d love to get in rhythm with them.
If anyone has any ideas about how I can achieve that, or directions I could look for inspiration I’d gratefully receive!
Until then, I’ve got lots to do, and today I feel like doing it.