“Ok, this is it. This is the month I’m going to do it. I’m going to diet, eat healthy and workout for that body I want. Oh my god that brownie was good. Er, I mean, four brownies. Ok, those four brownies were great. Wait, four? That’s like thousands of calories, what was I thinking?! Oh god I’m not eating anything else today, that’s it. Man I’m starving from not eating all day. Maybe a few crackers will hold me over. How many hand fuels did I just eat?! Seriously? I just ingested 100 grams of carbs! Not cool, I better run it off.” If a similar scenario keeps playing out in your head and you are constantly worrying about food and body image, you may be suffering from an eating disorder.
How do I know if I have an eating disorder and what could it be?
- Anorexia nervosa: When you have anorexia nervosa (an-o-REK-see-uh nur-VOH-suh), you’re obsessed with food and being thin, sometimes to the point of deadly self-starvation.
- Bulimia nervosa: When you have bulimia, you have episodes of bingeing and purging. During these episodes, you typically eat a large amount of food in a short duration and then try to rid yourself of the extra calories through vomiting or excessive exercise. You may be at a normal weight or even a bit overweight.
- Binge-eating disorder: When you have binge-eating disorder, you regularly eat excessive amounts of food (binge), but don’t try to compensate for this behavior with exercise or purging as someone with bulimia or anorexia might. You may eat when you’re not hungry and continue eating even long after you’re uncomfortably full. After a binge, you may feel guilty or ashamed, which can trigger a new round of bingeing. You may be a normal weight, overweight or obese.
When to see a doctor:
- If you feel ashamed, sad, hopeless, drained, irritable and anxious.
- You’re experiencing a host of physical problems such as irregular heartbeats, fatigue, and bowel or menstrual troubles
At some point in our lives, we all experience the common feelings of grief and distress caused by stressful or upsetting circumstances involving our loved ones. That ‘sick to your stomach’ feeling; the constant worrying, jaw clenching, teeth grinding, deep sighing and nail biting that accompanies a misfortune such as debt, illness, unlawful wrong-doings, disappearances and death. In my 23 years, I have been lucky enough to hold on to most of the people I love and care about and was too young to understand and comprehend what this ‘death’ thing truly meant when family passed. November 2013 was the first time I lost a good friend; not to illness or the hands of anyone else but by her own hands, when she overdosed on heroin.
Last Saturday, we said goodbye and laid to rest the remains of Courtland Lambert, my best friend’s boyfriend. Courtland disappeared on March 19th leaving his phone, wallet, vehicle and a note for his parents saying he was sorry if he ever hurt and lied to them; the only item he did take with him was the shotgun that his step-father had bought for him years ago and was reported missing the day of his disappearance. When police decided to search the woods behind the residence once more the following week, they found Courtland’s body with his head blown to bits from his shotgun. His life was an undetected, ticking time-bomb created by years of silent pains, worries, troubles and anger kept deep inside until explosively ignited by a DUI he received the week before he went missing. For a week straight, our efforts to rack our brains and memories for any clues or answers that could bring him back to us were greeted with shock and despair, rather than comfort and joy.
When the word spread about Courtland’s suicide, Trisha was bombarded with flowers, ‘sorry for your loss’ cards, texts and friend requests from strangers seeking information, attention and affiliation. All of these people tried to be involved and show support as a community but in no way could relate to or imagine the pain Trisha was, is and going to be in for the rest of her life as the soon-to-be fiancé to the sweet, handsome genius who seemingly had everything going for him. It is my privilege and duty as her soul sister to be her shoulder to cry on and person to vent to and express whatever emotion arises. It’s very relieving and healthy that Trisha is open to talking with family and close friends about feelings associated with Courtland and Amy’s deaths but a fragile person can always benefit from seeing a therapist.
- Grief, depression and anxiety can lead to missed work, excessive smoking and drinking, and increased risk of developing high blood pressure, a heart attack or even becoming suicidal
- If you or someone you know is displaying suicidal behaviors, call the 24 hour Life Crisis hotline to speak with a trained professional right away who can provide you with crisis intervention and suicide prevention any time, any day of the year