Excerpt from the Second Edition of Getting Out of B.E.D.: Overcoming Binge-Eating Disorder One Day at a Time
Suffocating and barely hiding it, I had held my breath under the blankets for so long, ever trying to create the illusion of serenity, but I knew I couldn’t last much longer. I was panic-stricken at the thought of what everyone would think of me when I inevitably began thrashing around under the covers, gasping for air. One day, though, the alarm clock resounded, waking me up to the realization that I had a choice: stay cocooned in bed or stand up and get moving. Though it was at one time a safe haven, my bed had grown increasingly nightmarish, which made my decision that day an easy one. I saw with crystal clarity that progress and life itself would be hindered until I threw off the covers and swung my feet over the side of the bed. My only worry was whether I would be able to make the same decision again at the dawn of the next day.
Trying to overcome Binge-Eating Disorder (B.E.D.) is a lot like deciding whether or not to get out of bed each day. Time and again, I must choose between staying in B.E.D., essentially putting my life on hold, and getting out of B.E.D. to progress forward in life. The choice is mine and, in the beginning of my recovery, there were days when I chose to stay in B.E.D. On those days, the familiar comforts of my security blankets (food and bingeing) made my B.E.D. seem like a warm and inviting place. I convinced myself that the temporary relief from my anxiety, over-excitement, depression, loneliness, or boredom was worth the potential lack of progress that day. Yet, I always knew that if I stayed in B.E.D. too long, the blankets which were once comfortable would begin to get tangled around me, choking me once again with feelings of shame, disgust, and self-loathing. As exhausting as it was to throw off those covers, I reminded myself that it is well worth it to do so at any point in the day. Only then could I stand up and walk away from my B.E.D. …eventually for good.
Throwing off those covers is so empowering, although in the early days of my recovery, I was satisfied just to pull them down from over my head. I’d tell myself, “I will go one day without bingeing.” When I succeeded, I felt on top of the world. The more times I nudged those blankets away from me, the stronger I felt. When the stresses of life closed in on me and I found myself clinging to my blankets again, I resolved to turn to a self-help program and my counselor. I delved into the reasons why I kept returning to my old ways and saw more clearly that my blankets were preventing me from living the life I wanted to live.
It has been many years since I began my official recovery journey. I can say with certainty now that I am fully recovered from Binge-Eating Disorder. I feel stronger and more confident than ever. I don’t spend hours each day counting calories, obsessing over the number on the scale, or agonizing over what I should and should not eat. I’m gentler on myself. I have more space in my head to think about my family and friends. I’m able to make short- and long-term goals and see them through. Just getting out of B.E.D. that first time years ago revealed much of what I had been missing.
If you’ve been in B.E.D. wrestling, as I was, with covers which once provided peace and security, Getting Out of B.E.D. may provide you with the encouragement to push them aside. There are so many wonderful possibilities; not bingeing and obsessing about food are just two of the more obvious ones. Just think of how great it would feel to be free from the terrifying grip of the bathroom scale or to go to a restaurant without worrying that what you eat will later trigger a binge. You may even find, like I did, that you now have the mental and emotional space to tackle some long-term goals like going back to school, revising your résumé, or buying a house. Many doors are waiting to be opened by you. Getting out of B.E.D. is the first step.