Until I started my journey of recovery, normal to me consisted of the bare minimum day to day. Normal was counting calories in my head as each morsel of food entered my mouth. Little did I know, this endless cycle of restricting, binging and purging that I had been suffering with for so long, is a genuine condition called EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified).
For those of you that haven’t heard of it, EDNOS is the term for eating disorders that don’t fit into the specific criteria for other conditions such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.
I had lived in my obsessive controlling world surrounding calorie counting, weight loss and love of bones for longer than I’d probably like to admit. But in a drunken state one night I finally gave myself and my loved ones the honesty we deserved.
I had never heard of EDNOS before, until the following day, when a dietician told me it was EDNOS that I had been suffering with for so long. I Googled the term and my denial started to fade away as I ticked every box the condition had to offer. The realization that I had been dealing with a genuine condition hit me hard. However, it soon turned out to be a massive relief that I could finally live a life free from secrecy.
It was the binge eating that had kept my secret secure over the years. I would have the odd day where I would binge on whatever snacks I wanted. In the back of my mind I was already planning what I needed to do to compensate for my actions.
To the outsider, why would you think I was suffering with an eating disorder? I was clearly eating whatever I wanted (for that day). How were they to know what was going on in my mind? Or what I would exert my body to in the following hours, days and weeks to follow as I continued through the never-ending cycle? Starve, binge, purge, repeat.
But the cycle has ended.
I have broke free and I am recovering. I’m sticking to my meal plan and I am slowly but surely learning not to associate feelings of guilt with food.
But it’s challenging. Some days are harder than others. But I know I can never expect to be truly happy for as long as I live with EDNOS by my side.
I am having CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) to help aid me along the way so I can retrain my thoughts around my body image and relationship with food. And I’m learning not to compare myself to everyone I see both in real life and in social media, as I know how damaging it can be.
I think it’s so important for people to recognize that someone suffering with an eating disorder does not have to present as an overly thin individual or someone that makes themselves sick after every little thing they eat. Eating disorders are much more sneaky than that.
They come in many shapes and sizes. They know how to hide away and lie to the sufferer and tell them that they can’t have a problem because they’re “not thin enough” to have anorexia or they “don’t always make themselves sick” so they can’t have bulimia.
But EDNOS exists.
If you’re reading this and think you or someone you know may be suffering from an eating disorder then please, be brave. Take the first step and be honest.