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telling family / asking for support

(33 Posts)
runningLou Wed 09-Apr-14 11:34:21

Hi all I was just diagnosed yesterday with bulimia but my experiences are not as severe as some on this forum so I apologise if it's the wrong place to post. I have non-purging kind so alternate binges with severe calorie restriction and intensive exercise. I have not told anyone about the diagnosis. My sister has just been diagnosed with anorexia and is waiting for treatment. I am 34. DH is unaware, as are the rest of the family.
Who should I tell? What are the ways they can help me? Uncertain how to move forward from here.

Sleepwhenidie Tue 15-Apr-14 21:18:32

Running I'm worried that I've completely blown your mind with the concept of a planned binge and scared you away. Please come back! If it's just too much to contemplate then don't do it, I thought it may give you a sense of control and less stress about eating constantly (and feeling out of control) at your mum's, if that isn't the case then don't try it smile. There's lots of support here for you as Fighting says - don't go away smile.

FightingBed2014 Mon 14-Apr-14 21:07:48

Hi running, although I can't offer much advice. I'm always about to talk things through. uour post gave me the courage to talk to my mum a bit more about my condition. It was hard but actually she was really good about it. not as scary as I imagined.

Sleepwhenidie Mon 14-Apr-14 15:50:57

grin I know it sounds crazy! But to use some kind of analogy...imagine the binge food as a big scary dog that lives in your house...its on your mind a lot, you try all you can to avoid it, but often you just can't and you hate it when you are in the same room and then you sort of lose the plot...it's sort of stopping being scared of that dog. Staying calm, breathing, letting it closer, little by little so that gradually you become less scared, you can stroke it, let him lick your hand, then walk away happily, not traumatised....you realise that it isn't vicious, just over friendly....

By being curious about the way you are feeling when you binge, by eating slowly and mindfully you will (gradually) diminish the food's power. By not checking out mentally and dumping an entire pack of biscuits into your tummy in one go you will learn to recognise when you have eaten enough and naturally stop (so you will probably eat less than you think, but yes, the first few times, you may eat til you feel sick but it's a process and the more you slow down, taste the food and practice, the more you will recognise how you feel). By giving yourself permission to binge, making it 'right', acknowledging it is a coping mechanism for you and not something you should fight...you also remove the horrible feelings of guilt that follow.

Right now, before you have had any help/therapy, trying and having any expectation of successfully fighting your urge to binge for a whole week at your mum's, especially given the circumstances, sounds unrealistic to me. And you sound very stressed about it all. So compromise, take control, decide that there is one binge available each day if you need it, so you can relax slightly, know that you have the choice, the food isn't controlling you by being 'banned'. Have plenty of healthier, filling choices available to snack on too, if you want ideas just shout smile.

Beyond this you can start working on allowing yourself to feel and express the emotions you may be suppressing, or deal with the deeper issues that may be underlying your whole relationship with food and body and learn a healthier way of eating....but as I said, hopefully your therapist will do that deeper work with you. Part of that will no doubt involve telling your wider family about the issue but that's obviously hard right now. Here, I am trying to help you over the next couple of weeks, which sound as if they will be tough flowers.

runningLou Mon 14-Apr-14 14:32:58

But what's the point of 'planning' that kind of binge? That's exactly the behaviour I want to avoid - I mean taking two more as many times as I need. That will be until I feel physically sick or someone notices what I'm doing!!

Sleepwhenidie Mon 14-Apr-14 14:27:09

That's great you agree about breakfast...could you use full fat yoghurt? Cutting down on the starchy carbs is a good thing, but you need fat - EFAs for proper healthy body and brain function but saturated fat (in meat and dairy) is good for keeping you feeling satisfied. The only fat I'd avoid are in takeaway/ready meals/ deep fried food.

Fantastic you like Pilates and have alternatives to running. Could you ponder looking at exercise as stress relief and enjoyment, rather than a way of burning calories? My whole approach is to get you being kind to yourself, allowing yourself to feel pleasure, learning to care for and respect your body, rather than hating it and punishing/depriving it?

Re the 'planned' binge-there are no limits on how many biscuits you can eat....but take two from a packet, put them on a plate, put the others on the cupboard. Eat and enjoy as slowly as possible...then if you want two more, go for it, as many times as you need. It seems counterintuitive I know...and it won't be easy, but keep practising smile

runningLou Mon 14-Apr-14 13:53:03

Ok I have just called a gym near my mum's and booked on for 3 x spinning classes next week, on the Tues, Weds and Thurs evenings. I could swim Friday, and I always run Sat mornings. Mon will have to be a rest day ...
Now I need to plan food for evening meals when I get back from the gym to prevent bingeing after. At least this will be a valid excuse not to eat with the rest of the family in the evening, which I hate! Lunches are not too bad I can generally be restrained.

runningLou Mon 14-Apr-14 13:37:56

TBH I've already been thinking about breakfast as I completely agree that a carby breakfast will set me up so badly for the day in terms of carb bingeing. I have been planning to bring some things with me from home - I normally eat 0% fat Greek yogurt with nuts, berries and oatbran. I will either bring these from home or buy when at mum's. The issue is the fact that there are other foods available - I find it so hard to resist the contents of my mum's bread bin / cupboards!
I find the idea of a 'planned' binge very strange and it will take some getting used to!! The problem is I could very well 'plan' to eat 2 biscuits when stressed, but find myself 20 mins later having scoffed half the packet!
I find yoga difficult as I have a dodgy shoulder that dislocates easily, but am doing pilates, swimming and cycling whilst I wait to see if my knees improve. One of the problems with this is - again - that these options are much more difficult at my mum's as I rely on going to the gym near my house. I will have to look into going for a swim at her local pool, or other possibilities. One of the things I love about running is that you only need to pack trainers and there you go, you carry a stress remedy around with you ... I know my legs need to rest but I find it such a dilemma when I want to run to burn calories and evacuate stress.

Sleepwhenidie Mon 14-Apr-14 13:21:30

Ok, in the interest of damage limitation, by which I mean your mental/emotional state rather than your weight smile whilst you are at your mum's (you could practice this week before you go)...could you first of all take charge of preparing breakfast each day? It's been proven that if people eat white carbs/sugar for breakfast then people crave more of the same all day-as cereal fulfils this definition perfectly choose a delicious and protein rich alternative. Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs with some wholegrain toast, Greek yoghurt with raw nuts and berries/banana, peanut butter and banana on wholegrain toast, buckwheat pancakes with fruit and full fat yoghurt, asparagus and dippy boiled eggs, bacon, mushrooms and baked beans, spinach and poached eggs on wholegrain toast....

Plan - yes plan - a 'binge' for each day. It sounds as if you are very aware that bingeing is inevitable so choose it and have it on standby for when you really feel you need it. By giving yourself permission to eat 'bad' food, to use it as you need to (because a binge does serve you in some way, it is a coping mechanism) you take away a lot of the food's 'power' - does that make any sense? So when you feel the impulse to eat, try and stop and think whether what you are feeling is hunger (in which case could you choose to eat something more nutritious than sugary carbs) or stress/something else (in which case could you take a walk, go for a run, rant on here, have a bath, paint your nails?) If you are at that place where you need the biscuits (or whatever) then have them, but try and slow right down, breathe, taste and enjoy them.

With all this, keep in mind that your coping mechanism of bingeing could be much worse-drugs, alcohol, gambling for instance do much more harm than food. And you, as you recognise, are in a place where you can relearn (though it will take time, practice and patience with yourself) better ways of coping and being in relationship with food and your body. Your sister isn't so lucky sad, she's much further along that road of control, I hope she gets better soon thanks

Wrt your knee, I sympathise, I love exercise and being injured is so frustrating. Is there a yoga class near you that you could try?

runningLou Mon 14-Apr-14 12:24:15

Getting out of the house with DH and DC, going for a walk, probably always something involving fresh air and exercise.
I love running and another reason I am currently finding things difficult is that I have terrible knee pain so am having to reduce my runs per week.

Sleepwhenidie Mon 14-Apr-14 12:14:29

Ok, I suspected you might like running! Anything else you can think of that might make you feel happier/calmer?

runningLou Mon 14-Apr-14 12:06:51

It would probably be early in the morning when I am on my own in the kitchen with DS before anyone else is up. I would eat bowl after bowl of cereal and endless slices of toast washed down with sweet, milky coffee. If there was no food available I would fret and fret, then when DH woke up and could take charge of DS I would go for a run.

Sleepwhenidie Mon 14-Apr-14 12:00:41

Ok, can you envisage a particular time, the low point if you like, where if you are at your mum's and have managed to eat well for a while but then really need to binge, when would that be and what would you eat, if you could choose anything? Also, if there was no food whatsoever available at that point (and you can't go and get any!) what could/would you do instead?

runningLou Mon 14-Apr-14 11:46:07

Bingeing can be either of those ... on weekends it's often a combination of the two, steady eating with peaks of eating loads in late afternoon and evening. At my mums it can be worse - I can start off with a breakfast binge and then continue through the day. Trigger foods are biscuits, cakes, bread, bagels, cereals, crackers ...
Emotions - I'm not so sure ... probably involvement in a situation that I can't see how I can change the outcome. On Friday afternoon I spoke to my dad (separated from my mum) on the phone about my sister's issues, then after having had a good day up till then I went and ate a bag of chocolate buttons I'd been saving as a treat for DS (currently potty training). I know it was only a small thing in terms of quantity but I felt awful.
I think I managed not to binge this weekend because I planned meals in advance, planned not to buy biscuits or desserts, went to bed early and deliberately ate more protein.

Sleepwhenidie Mon 14-Apr-14 11:34:31

sad. Ok when you say you 'binge' do you mean ongoing, steady eating through the day or is it a short frenzy type thing? Also do you believe you have trigger foods or is it particular situations/emotions that trigger you? Why would you say you managed not to binge over the weekend just gone?

runningLou Mon 14-Apr-14 11:21:27

No, I can't get out of the visit, or cut it short sad We are meant to be moving closer to my mum in the summer and visit next week involves job interviews for DH, visiting future school for DD, and also (very sadly) funeral of family friend, so I need to be there. I wish I could get out of it as I feel more in control of things at home. I am very stressed, but that's just a normal state of affairs at the moment (think that explains absence of AF as I'm definitely not under-nourished), so just trying to carry on.

Sleepwhenidie Mon 14-Apr-14 11:08:59

Hi running, given all of the above, please tell me if you don't want any advice from me and I'll butt out, but I'm concerned about how stressed you sound. I know it's not going to work as a long term strategy smile but can you get out of the visit to your mum's? Would it make you feel better - right now and for the next week or so - if you did?

runningLou Mon 14-Apr-14 10:16:20

Thank you Fighting, it's good to know people are listening. Really struggling at the moment for a number of reasons ... One of my sisters has just been diagnosed as anorexic also, and my issues just pale into insignificance in relation to what she's going through as she now has total food phobia, is barely eating and having panic attacks. She is losing weight very rapidly, is signed off work, and has moved back in with my mum. I feel like I have nothing to worry about in comparison. I've never got to the stage where I was really endangering my health and I've always had enough physical and mental energy to look after the kids.
Also, I managed not to binge this weekend, which is a really big thing for me, as Saturdays and Sundays are normally when I go mad, mad, mad on junk carbs and this weekend I was really focusing on veg, protein, and eating at meal times. Anyway I did it, weighed in this morning and I weigh more than I did at the end of last weekend - which included a big binge. No idea what to make of this. It could be hormonal. AF is completely AWOL at the moment so no idea where I am in my cycle. Am fighting to control the urge to take laxatives as I feel really bunged up from all the protein.
Am very, very worried about next week to as we're meant to be going to stay with my mum for the week (Mon-Sat), and her house is carb city, and I always binge there without fail, and also my sister will be there not eating anything and looking skinny, and I know the combination of her presence and my mum's biscuit tin / bread bin will be lethal for me in terms of bingeing. I haven't told my mum, as she is so worried about my sister ... No idea how I'll cope next week.

FightingBed2014 Sat 12-Apr-14 15:07:33

Scottish, what on earth would your issue with another poster, have to offer the op looking for help? She has said it's hard to talk about and you derailed her thread. not nice. I am a MN who has been pulled out of a dark place quite a few times by
Sleepwhenidie. just like any other MN could. She just happens to have more understanding and experience in this area than most. I know others that benefit too. To me, it's no different to well known MN members giving advice every day.

op how are you doing? Firstly well done for having the courage to ask for help. I'm sorry that DH didn't grasp all you were trying to tell him. Is he perhaps the kind of person who could do some research to improve his knowledge with your help?

That aside there are plenty of us here, (many lurking too) that are happy to listen and talk through things. Even if its just general chit chat. I think we all find it helpful. In New Blog posts we have a rather long chat going, if it's something you want to join in it's always great to see more names. I will watch this thread, so if you need to talk I can come back.x

scottishmummy Thu 10-Apr-14 18:58:31

yes that's the thing as it's unregulated job,so I could legally proclaim myself expert.yes indeed
I could set up the scottish school of eating psychology coach and award a diploma
And there lies the issue,unregulated jobs that allude to having experts and knowledge set

Sleepwhenidie Thu 10-Apr-14 18:53:44

Yeah ok Scottish hmm, you've made a judgement about what I do, knowing nothing about it, you are clearly an expert in the field, so I'll leave you to it smile.

scottishmummy Thu 10-Apr-14 18:48:30

Anecdotal accounts,are just that.anecdotal and placebo effect

Sleepwhenidie Thu 10-Apr-14 18:35:43

Scottish I'm not about to have a row about my qualifications on someone else's thread (but for the record it is a training course based in the US), if you'd like to chat about 'testing' then there's at least two long term mn'etters that I'm sure would be happy to send you testimonials with details of their experiences with it and me.

scottishmummy Thu 10-Apr-14 18:30:58

So in fact the unregulated status,non-standardised training meaning it's not a skill or knowledge set
It's random,untested,no scientific basis,and anyone could set up now and practice
It's not a skilled role

Sleepwhenidie Thu 10-Apr-14 18:26:29

It may not be regulated but I most certainly do have particular knowledge, it is effective and I explained how I work.. Stating my job title was clarifying that I am not a psychiatrist. Most eating disorders will feature issues with self esteem at their core, not exactly a specialist viewpoint.

scottishmummy Thu 10-Apr-14 18:21:35

By prefixing with eating psychology coach You're alluding to having a particular knowledge and you have veered into giving advice
You have no more knowledge than a member of public I'd stay clear of discussing her self esteem and strategies
As an unregulated job,you of course know it's not standardised training and title is unprotected

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