First Person: Battle with Binge Eating, Major Depression a Constant Fight

Yahoo Contributor Network
First Person: Battle with Binge Eating, Major Depression a Constant Fight
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Shanna Dayton.

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) will be released in May. Yahoo is featuring first-person stories from Americans who are diagnosed with some of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. Here's one story.

FIRST PERSON | As far back as I can remember, I've struggled with binge eating. When I was a kid I used to wake up extra early to binge on cookies while everyone else slept. I used to keep a candy stash in my room which I was constantly refilling. It didn't help that my parents showed affection buy supplying unlimited amounts of food.

I kept my binge eating somewhat under control until my husband killed himself in 2009. One day I was a wife and the next I was a widow at 29 years old.

The first two years after his death was a blur. I was comfortably numb while selling all of our things and looking for an apartment as our Milwaukee, Wis., home was being foreclosed on. When the dust settled I soothed my neglected feelings with food.

I would challenge myself to see how much food I could eat in one sitting. Gorging myself became a game. I developed favorite binge foods: cheesecake, ice cream, chocolate chip cookie dough, chips and onion dip, doughnuts, chocolates, pizza, cookies, and honey barbecue chicken wings. I would get so excited on my way to the grocery store it felt like I was high on a drug. I would even start eating in the car on the way home.

I would eat until I felt like I was going to die maybe I even wanted to die. My stomach would hurt so bad I would cry. I would be so disgusted with myself I would throw all of the leftover food away. A few hours later, when I was feeling better, I would dig the food out of the trash and start eating again.

This behavior continued for two more years until I broke down and confessed to my gynecologist during a yearly exam. I told her I couldn't keep doing this to my body and I needed help. I was having chest pains and at 5'2" I was nearing 220 pounds. Over the next year we tried several different antidepressants causing awful side effects.

Now I see a psychiatrist for medication management and I have been given an official diagnosis of binge eating disorder and major depression.

I've tried therapy in the past, but I like to think things out alone instead of talking to a stranger so I'm learning to treat myself through trial and error. Besides my antidepressant, taking extra vitamin B has greatly improved my mood. I keep all of my trigger foods out of the house. I'm still working on finding the middle ground between binging and dieting. I also struggle with consistent exercise.

Each day I have to mentally fight the cravings to binge. Win or lose I keep fighting.

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