The Importance of Feeling Safe
Do you currently feel alone? Do you think that no one can possibly understand you or what you are going through? Do you think you are the only person in the world suffering such shame?
Feeling safe and secure is a human necessity. We all crave it whether we know it or not. Psychologists agree that feeling secure in your environment and with your life is the most basic human need and must be fulfilled before any other need. Human needs in order of importance are: physiological, safety, love and belongingness, esteem, cognitive and finally, the need for self actualisation.
I would argue that love is the most basic human need; love for yourself and love for others.
Without love, life would be unbearable.
Those who do not love (or even like) themselves are more likely to turn to self destructive behaviour such as binge eating or alcohol abuse and this in turn leads to a further dislike of oneself and a lack of understanding of how to fulfil your purpose in life.
I have suffered with disordered eating myself and binge eating disorder is the one I found most difficult to live with so not only do I understand what you are going through, I will not judge you.
Although I had a very happy and secure childhood, as soon as I reached my late teens I didn’t understand myself or my purpose any longer. Perhaps my childhood was too safe and secure because going to university for me was agonising.
I didn’t feel that I fitted in anywhere and spent a lot of time alone and not understanding why as I’d never had this problem before. I felt out of control, living in a big city with no one holding my hand. Controlling my food appeared to be the only part of my life I could control.
I was alone so no one really knew what I was eating so I got away with eating next to nothing every day. I thoroughly enjoyed having this secret and it got me positive attention so I assumed I was doing something right. But I still didn’t feel safe. Secretly I wanted someone to notice what I was doing and to help me, but no one did.
When I went home for the weekend to my lovely family I was told how well I looked so this encouraged me to carry on with my new way of eating (or not eating).
I was in a safe environment at home and if they were telling me I looked good then it must be ok to continue.
For various reasons I decided to quit university after the first year (looking back now, loneliness was a big reason). The stress and worry of that and not knowing what I was going to do with my life sent my eating spiralling out of control. Months of denial and calorie counting were suddenly forgotten about and I found myself desperately searching for food and eating it as quickly as possible. My poor body obviously didn’t know what was happening after so long of barely any food so I gained weight very quickly. This obviously disgusted me (and in my mind, everyone else) so one night after a huge binge, I decided that the only option was to make myself throw it all up. As disgusting as this was and although I was horrified with myself, the sense of relief I felt was immense.
So I could eat as long as I throw it all up? Great, an answer at last! So within a few weeks I had gone from Anorexia to Bulimia.
Bulimia is exhausting and all consuming. I became obsessed with food and nothing else. I would have days where I would eat nothing at all and then spend the night eating and throwing up. Or I would spend all day eating and throwing up.
There was no pattern. It was my whole life.
People must have noticed I was suddenly gaining weight (as you simply cannot rid yourself of everything you have eaten) but nobody said anything. Apart from the weight gain I looked unwell. I was sweaty, spotty, tired, my skin was sallow and my hair was lank). It was truly exhausting. But nobody said anything. Maybe this was down to being polite but I needed to feel that somebody cared about what I was doing to myself.
I have mentioned that self induced vomiting is exhausting and time consuming. I would turn down babysitting jobs because of it as I would eat all the food in the house and then spend hours purging it.
I turned down shifts at the local pub for the same reason. I couldn’t live a normal life but the whole time everything I was doing was a secret. I was still lonely.
Eventually I was unable to continue purging. Physically it hurt more and more and mentally it was taking its toll. I was lying to people and making excuses for my behaviour every day. I just couldn’t face the exhaustion anymore and one day after a big binge I didn’t vomit. I just didn’t have the energy. It felt great not to have the responsibility of purging (because it felt like a responsibility) but it felt terrifying to have lost that control.
How would I control my eating now? My life was no longer my own and even though on the outside I was coming across ok, on the inside I was a mess.
So this where anorexia turned into bulimia now turned into binge eating disorder.
I was back living at home and working in local, non-food based jobs, all my friends were either at uni or travelling and I was LONELY. I really needed someone to talk to about my disordered eating but I was ashamed to bring it up. I honestly didn’t think anyone would understand.
I eventually moved to London to work and dabbled with all three eating disorders. But this time I introduced laxatives into the mix as well. I would take 100 at a time and make sure my flat mate was out for the night as I knew the consequences of taking that many would mean I’d be in the bathroom for most of the night. So once again I was being secretive, and I was exhausted. But at this point I was thin, and that’s all that mattered to me.
I met a lovely man through my flat mate who instantly made me feel good about myself. I didn’t eat for 3 days before our first date and I ended up telling him that which was the first time I’d ever told anyone about my problems. He didn’t force me to eat and neither did he seem horrified by my disorder. He just made me feel normal and loved. He encouraged me to think about my feelings as more than just weight and food related issues and to think back to my past and perhaps talk to a professional about it all. This is the best move I made and slowly everything clicked into place. It was from this experience and all the consequent learning through nutrition and eating disorders training that my Food Freedom Programme was born.
Can you relate to any of this? Does it feel like you’re reading your life story? Do you feel safe and secure in your surroundings?
It’s so important to talk with someone who understands and empathises and encourages a safe space.
Without dealing with BED in the right way you can become disconnected from friends and family due to feelings of shame and not being able to talk about what you are going through for fear of judgement, or worse.
It would be useful to find someone to guide you through how to reconnect with those you love simply by being there as a new connection for you.
I understand what you are going through as I was a BED sufferer myself, so I will not judge you and instead I will do my best to help you.
This is one of the most important parts of the whole programme as those with BED are so ashamed of their eating habits that they descend into a hole of shame, losing connections with loved ones and living a life of solitude where food is their only friend.
Even though you may not see it just yet, there is a way out of this and through my own experience and the experience of helping my clients, I have put together a unique step by step programme that makes it possible. Click below to find out more:
If you would like to speak to me to find out if I can help you, I offer a free 30 minute discovery call. Just click below to book a time that suits you.