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Do I have an eating disorder?

A

agitated

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Hi everyone. I think I might have an eating disorder. Something triggers inside me when I’m pushed to eat or when serving takes long, when I’m hungry. I get agitated and I refuse to eat.

I’m quite sure that things started when I was a kid. As a newborn child, my mother was overfeeding me. I have photos as a 1 year old child, and I’m overweight. Then I started refusing to eat the extra quantities. As my mother puts it “you closed your mouth”. That brought me back to a normal weight at the age of say 2 years old.

As a kid my mother “wanted the best for me”, like the best food etc. and she started making food seem like a big deal. Instead of being offered what was available for everyone else, I had to have something “special”, whatever was supposed to be of a better quality. One of her bad habits during dinner, that she still possesses, was that she would mess with my plate and food after serving it. Like adding something to my plate, that she consider I might want etc. Or giving me advice what to eat or how to eat. This is something that annoys me big time now, when I am served and someone speaks about my dish, points at it or interacts with it in any way.

Needless to say, it’s been years that I don’t eat at my mother’s.

Another thing was her pressure to eat a couple of dishes that I didn’t like. Spinach for example. I didn’t like the taste. As a grown-up I discovered that it was not spinach’s taste that I didn’t like but rather the taste of mint she’d put in it. It was the same with lots of different foods. She’d put things I didn’t like in lots of meals, like raisins in apple pies, and all kinds of Mediterranean herbs in her cooking, which I still despise. Herbs like mint, dill, laurel, celery, basil etc. to name a few. It’s funny that it took me years to realize. I remember as a student at college cooking a dish, using nutmeg, not realizing that I didn’t like nutmeg’s taste.

That has happened with other tastes too, not connected to my mother. It took me years, as a young man, to realize I didn’t like the taste of white wine. I mean, I would drink it with friends, not like it, and not realize I wasn’t liking it. I know, it sounds kind of silly.

And all that despite having a sensitive sense of taste. I think I can make out the ingredients of a dish better than the average. Sometimes I think that it might be my sensitive sense of taste that makes me dislike all these strong flavors. Then it might be the other way around: I can taste the flavors because I am too aware of them. I should mention that there are a few strong flavors that I do like, like cinnamon.

My list of things I don’t (like to) eat is quite long and contains important entries like rice, peppers, fish etc. But for the rest, I’m quite easy to satisfy. I can do with just bread and cheese, fruits or salad. Pasta being my top preference.

The problem is when I interact with others and especially in case I’m hungry. If someone’s pushing me to eat, for whatever reason, that thing triggers, something like a neurosis I suppose, and I feel annoyed and miserable.

To give an example, I enter some self service fast food place, with company. I’m very hungry. I enter last, my wife has already given her order, the place is crowded and the employer kind of pushes me to give my order, too. My wife looks at me awaiting. Then it triggers. I say that I don’t want anything, despite the fact that I am starving. This little pressure is more annoying than the feeling of hunger. These feelings both mix and I feel miserable. Hunger usually dissolves after that. I sit at the table, everyone else is eating, and I try to master my misery and get back to normal. It can take something like 20-30 minutes.

Another way for it to trigger, is when I sit at a restaurant to eat, I order and it takes them too long to serve. That’s what happened tonight. We were out, my wife, my son, a friend and I, we ordered simple grill staff and it took them 40 minutes to bring us the order. Originally I’m ok, but as time passes I get agitated. I hide it, since I don’t want to ruin everyone’s fun, but when after 40 minutes I dared mention it a little, I realized that that annoys my wife, who later accused me of being problematic. I suppose I am and it occurred to me only then that this might even be some sort of eating disorder.

When I got served my hunger was long gone, and was feeling just misery. It took me 20 minutes of eating on a slow controlled pace, to get rid of the misery and being able to be part of the discussions over the table, once again.

Another thing that makes me nervous is when I am eating and someone, who is not, comes and starts talking to me. And yet another thing, when food is served partially at a restaurant and one person is eating when the other is not.

Usually I don’t expect anyone to understand my problem and for the biggest part, exactly because I know how to avoid it, it doesn’t trigger often. When it happens it is more of an inner fight and I end up apologizing to others, like my wife, who seems to get annoyed by me just mentioning they are late to serve.

Either way, I thought I’d search the internet for a forum about eating disorders and ask there about it. Does it seem to you as an eating disorder? And if yes, does it have a name?

Thanks for bearing with the long post. :)
 
calypso

calypso

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:welcome: to the forum. I'm not sure if you have an ED or not and I can't diagnose on a forum obviously. I think you have developed problems around food obviously. I hope that you can see a therapist to get to the root of what exactly is going on and show you techniques to deal with it.
I use Mindfulness to get around problems. Its not an easy fix but over time it can help you. We have a very brief intro on here but you really need to look it up for yourself. Its not a cure all but it can help with the emotions. Marsha Linehan wrote a lot about it.

 
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Lizaje

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I don't know of an ED with such behaviour. I think you should see a doctor and get treatment so you could talk with a professional about these things. If this causes you a lot of anxiety or if you're depressed the doctor might suggest you try medication as well.
 
A

agitated

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Well, I don't plan to see a therapist. It happens seldom, since I know how to avoid such situations, and then it's a 30 minutes long misery. For the rest I'm a well balanced, happy person.

True, you cannot get diagnosed over the interent, I just wanted to know whether this sounds like an ED.

Thanks for writing here and for the tips. :)
 
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Lizaje

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But based on your post you have serious issues with your mother. Those sound like something worth dealing with. Even if it isn't a problem now, sometimes such things become a problem later on.
 
A

agitated

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Well, not really. For the rest she has been very cool and suportive and I have lived a great life. I'm 50 now so there's little space for surprises.

It's only this one thing, and I thought I'd ask.
 
JessisMe

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To me these don’t represent symptoms of an eating disorder....eating disorders usually involve withholding food or binge eating then purging and frequently have a root in excessive concern over weight. Your issues seem more like behavioral issues you have developed surrounding food. As others have mentioned they can be treated using similar tools one would be recommended for an eating disorder. Mindfulness simply teaches you to be aware of the unwanted reaction or behavior and choose to act in a different more favorable way.
If therapy isn’t an option you might be able to look into these methodologies or different solutions through self help books. While we cannot diagnose here it doesn’t sound like a conventional eating disorder to me.
 
A

agitated

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I suppose it might not be an ED, then. Mind you though, when it triggers, even though I might be starving, I refuse to eat. I feel charged and agitated inside and I need to calm down.

Anyway, thanks everyone :)
 
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