National Eating Disorders Association

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Eisblume01
School trip and really struggling

I'm on a school trip in Berlin, we have arrived yesterday and will stay here for two weeks. I really like the city and I felt well this morning, but when it came to eating lunch I found myself really anxious and preoccupied. We ate lunch in a canteen, and I was very agitated, as I also have problems eating with other people, and I ended up having just one little plate, while the others had more. Some people, including a teacher, asked me "oh, won't you eat anything else?" "Did you take only that?" , and I didn't know what to say and felt even more anxious... I am afraid it will happen again. I really cannot eat much, I would like to but I just can't, and I am afraid people will notice again and point it out. I don't know what to do.
The only person who knows about my struggles with food is a teacher, who's with us here in Berlin. She always listens and cares and takes me seriously when it come to this, but I don't want to tell her, because I don't think there's much she can do about it. Or do you think that letting a teacher know that there's a problem could somehow help? My classmates don't know anything about it and I think they don't even care that much, as I am always left out and feel so unimportant to them. For this reason I'm feeling very low, and I feel like nothing makes sense anymore. Travelling has always been something that I REALLY love, but now it's just like it doesn't even matter. I had a list of places I wanted to visit, but if I think about it now, it's like I don't care anymore. And even now that I'm in Berlin, I'm thinking it would just be the same to be here or at home...or maybe it's better here, as there's no way I'm going to binge eat as long as there are people around me
Sorry, I just needed to vent. Now I am so scared because I don't want to feel so bad everytime we have lunch...

iwanttolive
Eisblume01

Hi. I am sorry travelling is so difficult. I was in Israel on a class trip and was unable to enjoy it, 19 days, because of the eating disorder. If it were me, and I knew someone knew of my struggles and she was there, I would reach out for some support. It couldn't hurt and may make the difference in how the rest of the trip goes. It sounds like you are dealing with some depression. I am not a therapist so I can not say for sure, but what do you think? I will say a prayer for you. Glad you can still post. Hang in there.

iwanttolive

Alexo_eats
School Trip

I really hope things get better. I wish I could go to Berlin! Its so beautiful there! I find in my personal experience that telling someone else, how you feel helps relieve the burden of your emotions, even if they can't help. Having an ear that listens is so amazing, and important. Wishing you luck, support, and strength. Stay strong!

s.boewer
Hello

Hello- I am so glad you reached out for support and so sorry you are struggling on what you must have hoped would be a fabulous trip. I know what it feels like to be left out of a group of people in a class, and it feels very lonely. I also relate to the difficulty of eating in front of others, and it took a long time in recovery before I felt okay about eating out with others. I agree with the last two posts that you should talk to the teacher that knows and that you trust. She might be able to support you just by listening and encouraging you to overcome the fear you have when eating with other people. Maybe she can sit with you during meals so you have someone who understands that won't comment on your portion size. Maybe she can be assertive and respond to any comments by saying it isn't necessary to discuss what you eat, if you are unable to be assertive on your own. I have had to stand up for myself in the past, and politely tell someone I'd appreciate it if they didn't comment on what, or how much, I was eating. Scary but it helped. I don't know what else to say that would help other than I am sorry this is affecting your trip and I hope things somehow turn around. Take care:)

Eisblume01
Thank you all for the support

Thank you all for the support, it makes me feel less alone in this. I told my teacher, she said she is going to have lunch with me today. Yesterday was terrible, I had an anxiety attack because I didn't know what to eat, and while everyone already had their plate, I was still looking at everything thinking: "I can't eat this because it's too caloric", "this is too difficult to eat" "this would be okay but no one has taken it", ecc... I just wanted to skip lunch to avoid the problem, but it was not possible, I just wanted to cry:(
But in the afternoon I got the feeling I had to eat something, the same feeling I get before a binge, so I went with some classmates to a cafeteria and had a piece of cake, I didn't care that they were there, and I really felt like my problem is not so serious, because if it was, if I really had a problem eating with other people, I wouldn't have had that piece of cake.
I was never diagnosed with depression (to tell the truth, I was never diagnosed with anything, that's one of the reasons why I often wonder whether I actually need help), even though I've thought about it many times

Alexo_eats
School Trip

Eisblume01, did telling your teacher help? I hope it did. All problems are serious, even if not at first they can build up into huge problems. Your struggle is real, your struggle is valid, and you have so many people cheering you on. Your family, teacher, and friends. I was wondering if it is possible to talk to a therapist in Berlin? I know your team is probably unavailable, or maybe even email or texting your therapist if you have one? EVERYONE NEEDS HELP at some point. Just because someone hasn't written it down on paper doesn't mean it doesn't exist. You are so strong, that you could have that piece of cake. You value your happiness, friendships, your independence and ultimately your life more than some stupid eating disorder. Not having that piece of cake doesn't prove you are eating disorder free (trust me I wish that was true). Some days are better than other days, sometimes ED is quieter sometimes he is louder. I'm praying for you! Stay strong girl! I hope you are having fun in Berlin. I would love to her about the places you've visited!

Alexo

Eisblume01
Thank you so much for the

Thank you so much for the support
I think talking to a therapist would be a great idea, even just to have someone to talk to, but I don't know if it's possible, as we're staying here for about a week. Or do you know if there's a way of getting an appointment in a very short time?
I could always call my therapist, but I don't feel very comfortable talking to her about my struggles with food, she makes me feel like I don't really have a problem

s.boewer
Hi again

Hi again- I'm glad writing here is bringing you a feeling of support, that's great. It's too bad you don't feel comfortable talking to your therapist about your eating disorder, because that's what you desperately need to work through in therapy. Maybe when you get home you can try to find a therapist who specializes in ED, of see if your therapist will take this seriously. I agree with the previous post, you deserve help and you don't need a diagnosis on paper before help is required. The anxiety you describe around having to eat is enough to convince me that you are struggling, your feelings are real and valid, and you do not have to wait until your ED progresses to get help. It's great you told your teacher and she ate with you, that must be comforting for you. Foe now try to take a lot of deep breaths and just take it one meal at a time. Try not to over analyze calories or portion sizes and think about enjoying food from another culture and maybe that will help you enjoy the meals. When I started to eat three meals a day to restore weight I had lost, I was terrified at the idea of eating anything. I would just take it one meal at a time and tell myself I could handle one meal, it wouldn't make me fat or make me binge, it was just one meal. Somehow that helped me avoid the panic and fear I had about gaining weight because I wasn't adding calories up for an entire day, and I knew I could get through one meal in a day. I always kept in my mind the idea that I could restrict at the next meal, and at the next meal I did the same thing but always kept the thought that I could restrict next time. I don't know why that helped but it did and I think you can do it one meal at a time too. You are in a foreign country with beautiful sites to see and new flavors to taste and maybe if you also focus on that it will make it more of an adventure and not something being forced on you. On vacations I always allow myself to eat whatever I want or have to eat because I don't have a say, and I know that when it's over my healthy food plan will be waiting. I guess I'm trying to say give yourself a break during this short time away if you can, and remember it is a temporary situation, Use your teacher for support when it starts to cause the anxiety response if you are comfortable doing that, it sounds like your teacher is super understanding which is nice. I will pray for you and hope that your ED doesn't keep you from having a good time. You deserve to be happy and you deserve help so don't ever question that. That is your ED voice talking. Mine still tries to derail my successes even though I have been recovered for 6 months from restrictive eating, and I refuse to listen now. Hope you keep posting as needed because we all care and the updates are nice to hear. Have fun:)

Eisblume01
Hi, thank you again

Hi, thank you again
I called my therapist this morning but it was not so helpful, she basically told me I should focus more on the positive and I shouldn't be so negative...well if it was that easy
I'm feeling a bit depressed, no one ever looks for me. My classmates are nice to me when I ask something or talk to them, but they never look for me, they never ask me out, they just don't care. For example, we go to school in the morning, and during the break we can go outside. I went with them everyday, but today I remained in the classroom because I didn't feel well, and no one even noticed. In the afternoon we do some activities with the school and then we are free to go whenever we want. Today we visited a museum and after that I had to find a pharmacy, and while I was looking where to go, they just went away without even noticing me. That's the reason why I don't really enjoy staying with them. In the end I went to the pharmacy alone and now I'm back home alone (we live by host families)
The positive thing is that my teacher told me one doesn't have to be malnourished to get help, that was really encouraging (I think one of the reasons why I have all these food-related thoughts is because there's a voice inside of me that keeps telling me I'm not sick enough, there's people who have it worse than me so I have to starve myself if I really want to get help, otherwise I can't). Well, I had a very very little lunch, but in the afternoon I ate a butter Brezel (Butter really scares me), now I feel a bit guilty but I decided I am going to get an appointment with the clinic as soon as I come home, my teacher has been repeating me I should do it for a very long time now, and I always tried to wait because the idea really scared me, but this time I promised her I am going to do it. Having someone that told me I am sick enough, I need help, it doesn't matter that I'm still healthy, really made me feel less guilty and makes me worry less about being skinny and more about looking for help. Now I'm craving some chocolate (my period is coming ...) and I guess I'm going to eat a piece of chocolate...
I hope it won't end up in a binge and that I won't feel too guilty after

s.boewer
Sorry

I'm so sorry you are feeling so alone and you are being left out of the group. I can totally relate to how lonely that feels. When I was in law school I was not in the popular group and was always left out of the weekly study groups they arranged. I felt very alone and awkward the entire three years that I attended classes. It's difficult to comprehend how adults can form a clique as if they are still in high school with no consideration for the feelings of those who are left out. I am sorry that your therapist wasn't more understanding too, and that she didn't offer you any realistic coping skills or insight that might of helped you get through your anxiety. I hope you will continue to lean on your teacher's support and that that is enough to get you through the rest of your trip. I am glad you finally feel like you deserve to get help for your ED, and that your teacher was able to help you understand that fact. Maybe when you get home you can find a therapist who specializes in treating ED as it sounds like your current therapist does not know how to treat ED. As for the anxiety you are experiencing, all I know how to do when I suffer from anxiety/panic attacks is to take deep, slow breaths. I try not to react to the anxiety and instead simply accept it and reassure myself that it is temporary and it will pass as it always does. I like to write in my journal when I am overwhelmed also and talking to a supportive friend helps too. Perhaps your teacher can be a supportive friend for you to process your feelings of anxiety. Try not to beat yourself up or feel guilty if you eat a treat or give in to PMS cravings, ED love it when we have those feelings because guilt and shame can trigger more behaviors. It's okay to have a little chocolate or some other treat sometimes, and you don't need to be so hard on yourself (easier said than done, I know). In my recovery, one of the first things my therapist had me do daily is practice positive self-talk because for years all of my thoughts were negative and critical. It was very weird at first but in time it really started to help and it was a vital part of my recovery. It sounds like you are very hard on yourself and perhaps you can use positive affirmations to alleviate some of the guilt you are feeling. I wish I had something super profound and useful to say other than I can relate to all that you are feeling and I understand what you are going through, and I hope that it gets better. I hope you will keep posting on this forum as a way to process the anxiety you are feeling because the people here really do care and it's a good way work through the difficult feelings you are experiencing. Take care:)

Eisblume01
My teacher is actually

My teacher is actually leaving on Sunday, she's coming back home and another teacher is going to come here and take her place. That scares me a little bit, but I have her phone number and can text or call her whenever I have a problem, she always listens.
Anyway, I'm feeling a bit hopeless. Yesterday the piece of chocolate turned into a "mini binge"... I didn't really binge, but ate also some other things, not really healthy...and today I just wanted a Brezel, it was little, but after I ate it I had to buy another one, and I've also eaten a lot of chocolate (I was alone). I feel guilty, I just wish I could start eating and be able to stop. I can't eat just a piece of chocolate, I either not eat it or eat the whole table. I'm so sick of this all or nothing mentality.
I also have to eat out this evening, and I am afraid I won't be able to enjoy it because I am already full and feel ashamed for having eaten so much

Eisblume01
My teacher is actually

My teacher is actually leaving on Sunday, she's coming back home and another teacher is going to come here and take her place. That scares me a little bit, but I have her phone number and can text or call her whenever I have a problem, she always listens.
Anyway, I'm feeling a bit hopeless. Yesterday the piece of chocolate turned into a "mini binge"... I didn't really binge, but ate also some other things, not really healthy...and today I just wanted a Brezel, it was little, but after I ate it I had to buy another one, and I've also eaten a lot of chocolate (I was alone). I feel guilty, I just wish I could start eating and be able to stop. I can't eat just a piece of chocolate, I either not eat it or eat the whole table. I'm so sick of this all or nothing mentality.
I also have to eat out this evening, and I am afraid I won't be able to enjoy it because I am already full and feel ashamed for having eaten so much

s.boewer
Sorry

I'm sorry your teacher is leaving and I hope that you can text or call her if you are in a bad place emotionally, it sounds like she is someone you trust. The all-or-nothing mentality is so frustrating, I understand that and use to behave the same way. I think that for this trip you might want to just accept that you will eat chocolate or meals you wouldn't normally eat, and stop beating yourself up as you don't have total control or much of a choice about what you eat being with a group like you are. Maybe if you have some acceptance around the whole eating part of your trip, your focus won't be so intense or critical and you won't be tempted to binge. I know when I am hyper-focused on food and trying to control myself with will power, it just makes me go into the all-or-nothing and binge. If I just accept what I am eating, even if I don't like it or it isn't my choice, I can avoid the feelings of panic and just get through the meal with no urges to keep eating. I don't know if that makes any sense, but it helped me many times when I was out to eat and not thrilled about the choices. When you get home you can get a therapist that can help you and work on the issues driving the binge behavior, but on your trip you are stuck without professional help so all you can do is accept your situation and let go of the expectations around food. The guilt you feel is your unhealthy ED voice and the more you dwell on that voice, the more you will likely binge. I hope you can somehow be gentler with yourself and find a way to enjoy the trip without the focus being solely on the food. Keep posting here for support and hang in there:)

Eisblume01
Update

Hi, I'm back from the school trip
The last week was very hard, I couldn't stop eating and felt really depressed all day, and I also constantly felt physically exhausted. Yesterday I binged really hard and today I binged too, and we didn't eat dinner yet. I didn't purge and I feel like I'm gaining a lot of weight, and I am afraid tomorrow will be a binge day, too, as I'm by my grandma and she will cook a lot, and I'm very triggered to binge when there's a lot of food around. I'm terrified and feel guilty and hopeless

s.boewer
Welcome home

Welcome home, I am glad you arrived safely home from your trip, but so sorry that you are struggling with binges. It sounds like you started a cycle of over-eating on your trip that is carrying over now at home. Will you be able to see your counselor now that you are back? It might help stop your pattern of binging to talk about your feelings with your counselor. I found recovery through counseling, and work in OA 12-step groups. The meetings are free and the people there also struggle with various forms of ED, and the 12-steps were very effective in my experience with them. Journal writing also really helped and positive self-talk, instead of constantly putting myself down every time I ate. You survived you school trip, don't be so hard on yourself because you deserve kindness, especially from yourself right now. I hope you get support and can engage in self-care, and that this cycle ends very soon. Take care:)

s.boewer
Welcome home

Welcome home, I am glad you arrived safely home from your trip, but so sorry that you are struggling with binges. It sounds like you started a cycle of over-eating on your trip that is carrying over now at home. Will you be able to see your counselor now that you are back? It might help stop your pattern of binging to talk about your feelings with your counselor. I found recovery through counseling, and work in OA 12-step groups. The meetings are free and the people there also struggle with various forms of ED, and the 12-steps were very effective in my experience with them. Journal writing also really helped and positive self-talk, instead of constantly putting myself down every time I ate. You survived you school trip, don't be so hard on yourself because you deserve kindness, especially from yourself right now. I hope you get support and can engage in self-care, and that this cycle ends very soon. Take care:)