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Eating Disorders

(10 Posts)
mangosteen Tue 18-Mar-03 15:30:28


I am wondering if anyone out there has experienced similar feelings to me. I had suffered from various eating disorders for approx 8 years, and then 18 months ago managed to admit I had a problem and sought help. I had counselling for a year, and it was amazing - really opened my eyes, and changed my whole life around. For the first time in my life, it felt like I was really getting somewhere and food stopped dominating my every thought. Then I fell pregnant. I am now 5 months pregnant, and am finding it quite hard not to reach for food as comfort. It is the lack of control I have over my changing body shape, and food is back dominating my life again. Although I make sure my baby has the nutrition it needs I top myself up with the foods I want to please me. I can kid myself, that once I have had the baby, I will get myself back on track again, but realise that at that time I will be extremely vulnerable and it may be harder. I know it is something that I have to sort out myself. Just wondering if anyone else out there has experience of the same thing, as I don't know anyone else who understands.

musica Tue 18-Mar-03 15:44:29

mangosteen - I have experienced the same thing almost exactly - I have had eds from being about 17 (so for about 6 or 7 years). I'm pregnant with no. 2, but particularly with no. 1 found it very difficult to eat a 'balanced' diet - I would either eat too little, or eat junk, and I did put on too much weight in the pregnancy. This time has been better - I have eaten much more healthily, but I have to confess I still have that 'voice' in my head.

I'd really like to discuss this with you some more - it is a hard thing to understand if you haven't been there!

Tillysmummy Tue 18-Mar-03 16:14:36

Mangosteen, I had an eating disorder from age 13 to age 28 ! It was only when I fell pregnant that I really started to sort it out and all of a sudden there was something much more important than the way i looked or how much I weighted. I felt very anxious about the whole putting on weight thing. I used to be careful about what I ate in terms of nutrition when pregnant and the odd treat for you is good. But dont' fall into the trap of eating too much and then putting on too much weight and not being able to shift it - that is of course if you think this will bother you. If you don't think that it will bother you putting on weight that's hard to shift when baby is born then don't worry about it.
Sympathies to you and anyone else who has / is suffering. I used to be so jealous of people that could go to a restaurant and order after looking at the menu whereas I'd still be debating it for half an hour, what do I fancy vs what I should have to 'be good'. Same in M & S buying a bloody sandwich !

Tillysmummy Tue 18-Mar-03 16:15:04

sorry meant weighed !

pie Tue 18-Mar-03 19:42:13

I too have had to live with an eating disorder, since I was about 14 in fact. During my fist preg with DD I had to come off Prozac which had been helping. I was bulimic all the way through and have never got over the guilt.

I am now 10 weeks pregnant. The week before I was addmitted to hospital with dehydration I lost 18 pounsds (I am now very overweight, when I used to be anorexic and very underweight in my early 20s). I was vomitting purely because of morning sickness. Now the morning sickness is getting better I am actually freaking because my appetite is better and food is staying down. So far I have not induced vomitting, but the urge is SO SO SO strong. I really don't want to go through another pregnancy like the last. But my thinking is so ingrained that I don't even know what a normal appetite or diet is....

For instance today I have eaten:

A single scrambled egg
Japanese noddles.
Stir fried Tofu.
A spring roll
4 apples
a single piece of bread with a smear of nutella.

And its almost as if my fingers are fighting to get into my throat. I keep telling myself what I have eaten is ok...but it doesn't feel like it. Especially after the morning sickness, all food feels like too much.

mangosteen Tue 18-Mar-03 20:08:59

Is good to know there are other people in the same boat. It can feel very lonely when you feel like you are the only one who has this difficulty with food. Musica, you do sound like you have been in a similar situation to myself, and it really helps to know that. The reason I am finding it difficult now is the opposite to your experience Tillysmummy. I thought I would feel the same about being pregnant, that it would make me think so much about the baby, that I would only eat healthily. Whereas it hasn't happened. The personal reasons for myself having an eating disorder was due to never thinking about myself and thinking I deserved looking after. I suffered from very low self esteem and considered that everyone else's problems were far more important than my own. I didn't tell a sole about it for 8 years, until I managed to face it and seek help. I think I am finding it difficult now because I am not putting myself first again and having to think of someone else. Therefore my needs get forgotton, and I block them out by eating food to give me that quick fix. I know all the theory behind it, just hard putting it into practice. Each day is a new day again, and yes, that voice is there and am having daily battles in my head.

Pie, have you ever had any counselling or help? If you haven't, I cannot recommend it more highly. It was a huge step for me to take, but having spent most of my live convinced I was just greedy and lacking willpower, it was so enlightening to find out there were reasons behind it. Having been bulemic since I was 17, I made myself sick for the last time 15 months ago, which was the week that I first sought help.

I know that I will struggle with binging and wanting to eat instead of face up to what is really bothering me, probably for ever, but I know I will never make myself sick again. Sometimes, I think about it, but I have passed that stage. All I am trying to say, is that if I have managed to pass that stage, then you can too. However, I wouldn't have been able to do that on my own.

Good to know people are out there - and we are all normal!

pie Wed 19-Mar-03 08:45:55

mangosteen, I have had counselling and drug therapy for 15 years now, 3 years at a specialist eating disorders clinic. Thanks to the wonderful NHS I have never seen the same doctor more than 3 times. I have turned up twice and been listening to the doctor wondering what they are on about only to notice they are actually working from someone elses file and don't know who I am. I have had individual therapy 3 times a week for 2 years. I had couples therapy with my 1st husband, but my husband now finds the idea of therapy intrusive. I was on Prozac for 5 years and a year ago switched to Efexor which I have had to stop since finding out I am pregnant.

I feel incredibly let down my the psychiatric services in my area, but they are notoriously bad. I used to work for the Home Office and I worked on a report about mentally disordered offenders and their rehabillitation, so I know that on a professional level that the services are very bad where I live.

Luckily about 4 years ago I moved to an excellent GP, and she along with the drug therapy have managed to help me focus on the depression that leads to my behaviour rather that the ed its self.

But as you know being pregnant challenges everything. The issue of self image and control becomes.

I don't mean to sound doom and gloom, I just feel like my family and I have been dealing with this pretty much alone. My ed are better. When I was 21 I lived on 62 calories a day, 150 laxatives and swam a mile before going into the gym for an hour everyday. In the 5 years since bulimia is more the problem than anorexia, but having been anorexic I know that I have the will power to do anything. Before gettin pregnant I was probably only inducing vomitting about once a fortnight, when a few years ago it was about 5 times a day. I know that I can change my behviour and everyday I see myself as starting over, thinking any further than a day is too daunting.

And so far I haven't made myself sick once since finding out I was pregnant. Well morning sickness has taken care on that

But I'm not sure that I will every be able to talk through the underlying issues with anyone and I have to say I have more faith in the drugs.

Sorry to rant on but as I have said there isn't really anyone else!!!!!

mangosteen Wed 19-Mar-03 11:08:27


Am really sorry to hear that you have had such bad experiences of help offered to you in the past. It must feel awful having been passed around from doctor to doctor and not feeling understood. Am glad to hear that eventually you found someone who has been able to offer some positive help.

I think I must have been very fortunate, as I have only seen one person (privately) who I immediately felt understood me. In October I had reached the stage whereby I only ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was full. Having had my whole life and thoughts dominated by what I could eat or not allow myself to eat, I can’t tell you enough what an amazing feeling this was. I suddenly understood what food is about to most people, and wanted to eat healthily and do exercise because I cared about myself and how I felt. Pregnancy has changed that. It was pretty much instantly. This is my first pregnancy and had no idea about the mental challenges I would face. The tiredness and therefore lack of desire for exercise and the feeling that there is little point as you are going to get big anyway has really come into play. Through the Counselling, I thought I had cracked it. I faced up to every skeleton from my past, and there is nothing more that I need to hide from and turn to food for. However, when your mind has operated in this way all your life, it is very hard to retrain it. It is much easier to go back to the habits that you know.

Like you, I know that we can do it, it’s just not an overnight thing. It is the arguments in my head I find hard. I have really problems with sweet things ( that have always been banned and labelled as bad foods in my past). I can have the desire for chocolate or something, and then the battle begins. Most of the time, the part of me that wants it wins, and I block out the thoughts and feelings I have about not wanting it. It is like needing drugs. The desire for that quick fix is stronger than the knowledge that in the long term it won’t be beneficial for me. At the moment, there seems to be so much else going on in my mind with the pregnancy, that I don’t want to face the struggle and think about myself.

There is no point telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. Of course we know it isn’t good for us to make ourselves sick etc, and having people tell us what we should eat etc is very patronising. As If I don’t know what I should be eating..

Maybe this thread will help us and anyone else who has experiences of this to feel they can air their thoughts and worries to others who can understand and empathise.

Take care.

pie Wed 19-Mar-03 12:43:00

Thanks for the support and understanding mangosteen....

If there is anyone else reading this then please know that you are not alone. It is hard, but its not impossible.

Mangosteen....are you south east asian or just a tropical fruit lover??

mangosteen Wed 19-Mar-03 14:16:22

Very much a tropical fruit lover who also loves South East Asia!

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