I’m going to be vulnerable with you. (Thanks Brené Brown)
I am a recovering co-dependent. Codependency itself is hard to define and can vary person to person, but some of the more common characteristics that I’ve experienced are:
- Setting poor boundaries with others and possessing a caretaker mentality.
- Putting others’ needs before my own.
- Allowing others to need me then becoming resentful when asked for help.
- Rejecting compliments/praise.
- Fear of rejection in all aspects of my life; personal and professional.
- Trying to control people/events.
- Seeking love and approval.
- Saying everything is my fault.
- Not trusting myself.
- Combining passive and aggressive responses.
- Feeling lethargic and depressed.
- Experiencing an eating disorder.
You may feel like you’ve experienced some of these and while you may not be a codependent, it can never hurt to do some self-reflection. All of these characteristics were sourced from “Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie, a book that has helped me realize my codependent tendencies and begin to break away from these traits I have been exhibiting for so much of my life. Therapy has been integral to this process and I strongly encourage everyone to try it out. You may not find the therapist that you connect with most on the first try so don’t be afraid to try someone else after a few sessions. I have been seeing the same therapist for over two years now and honestly, it’s been life-changing. I am more conscious of habits and thinking that have been pulling me down and I am making progress into eliminating these habits and thoughts through more productive means. (end PSA about therapy)
I want to speak mostly about the last item on my list; experiencing an eating disorder. I suffer from binge eating disorder. This is not something I’ve ever shared publicly or with anyone other than close friends, family, and my therapist.
My binges occur typically when I’m stressed/depressed or unable to control a situation that is making me feel anxious. They almost always happen when I’m alone. Sometimes they’ll happen at events where food is served buffet style though. I will casually go up repeatedly for small amounts of food maintaining an uncomfortable level of fullness. There is this underlying fear sometimes that I need to keep eating so I can try everything before it’s gone. When I binge at home, I usually buy a fair amount of fast food (usually one restaurant) or binge on what I have in the cabinets/fridge. I’m thinking about how good Taco Bell sounds as I write this and I already ate a pint of Ben & Jerry’s tonight. Typically after a binge I feel extreme shame and guilt. One thing to remember is that binging isn’t just about quantity of food. It’s about how you consume it as well so while I may not be eating a ton more than normal, because I am eating quickly, secretively, and using food as a coping tool it qualifies as a binge. Ironic that I eat to fill an emotional deficit and all I’m really doing is hurting myself physically and emotionally. You can find a link to more information about Binge Eating Disorder at the end of this post.
So why am I sharing this with you? Well binging has been something I’ve hidden about myself since I began doing it which I think was around junior high school. It’s part of me that I’ve always been embarrassed of. I figure if I try to normalize it by sharing it with you all, I might be able to truly begin the recovery process. I want to escape this cycle I’m in. This cycle of repressing feelings and using food to cope with life. I want to move forward and share what I’m going through. Maybe my story can even help someone else.
So that’s my secret. This is me at my most vulnerable. You know something about me that few knew before this post. I hope you’ll follow me on this journey of recovery. My goal is to post here regularly about my progress on removing binging as a coping mechanism and furthering my progress on eliminating other codependent tendencies. On Instagram I’ll post when I feel a potential binge coming on as an attempt to distract myself and use the people in my life as a resource to help process instead of food. I’ll also be sharing lots of information I find in Melody’s books which I’ll share a link to below, along with other resources I come across online and in therapy.
Thanks for reading,
Check out Melody Beattie here -> https://melodybeattie.com/
National Eating Disorder site -> https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/bed