ED and COVID19- A perception of a Struggling Muslimah from GCC

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COVID-19 was not the only illness that I was battling to avoid. The demon of eating disorder would creep up on me and before I knew it, I would be deep in a black hole of misery, suffering and despair.

I have struggled with the never-ending starving/binging cycle for years. Whenever I think I have a hold on the situation, it pulls me back and reminds me that I have no control, and I never will.
I can make a meal plan, do the food shop, do the meal prep, but when the ED comes without knocking, everything falls out of place.
I am learning to accept that this ED is beyond my control. This acceptance has changed everything.

“I let it get to me that day. I wasn’t in a good place. And unfortunately I was going through a rough time and I let it get to me a little bit too much. That was it,”

 

Dear Readers,

 

Please find below a post from one of our readers in Middle East on her struggle with current Pandemic and her ED. We share this post for information and awareness purpose only. We will be sharing many more posts in future.

 

 

 

 

ED and COVID19

 

“I let it get to me that day. I wasn’t in a good place. And unfortunately I was going through a rough time and I let it get to me a little bit too much. That was it,”

 

COVID-19 was not the only illness that I was battling to avoid. The demon of eating disorder would creep up on me and before I knew it, I would be deep in a black hole of misery, suffering and despair.

I have struggled with the never-ending starving/binging cycle for years. Whenever I think I have a hold on the situation, it pulls me back and reminds me that I have no control, and I never will.
I can make a meal plan, do the food shop, do the meal prep, but when the ED comes without knocking, everything falls out of place.
I am learning to accept that this ED is beyond my control. This acceptance has changed everything.

Do you think the current situation on COVID contributes to ED?
Yes and no – I think it can go either way.
You can easily fall back into bad habits as working from home results in a lack of routine and an unusual amount of free time. Isolating oneself is a symptom of an ED anyway, and now that we have no other choice but to self-isolate, we can easily over-think and begin the cycle of starving/binging that we worked so hard to break.
On the other hand, you can use this opportunity to build new habits. Making a daily routine of activities and meals and sticking to it will not be easy, but it will be worth it.
Personally, I have used this time to work a lot from home to continue my professional development for my personal self, but I have also tried things I wouldn’t usually with my eating habits.
Living with a flat mate, and having her cook at random times and wanting to sit together to eat was triggering. I did not like the feeling of not knowing what food is making being made, when it’s being made then having to sit together and eat with her. I did not want to be rude, so I sat and ate. I did binge once, but I thought, okay, I don’t want to binge again. I will learn from this and not repeat this toxic behaviour.
There will be challenging situations, and you will relapse because you are human. The important part is what you do AFTER the relapse. Am I going to stay in the black hole, starve and binge, feel depressed and over-think? Or am I going to pick myself back up, forgive myself and live again?

Where am I with my ED?
Living with an eating disorder for over six years, I have learnt numerous lessons.
Life is unpredictable, you have weekends and weekdays. There have been days where I cooked a dinner for the next day, only to go into the work and pizzas are being ordered for staff as gratitude. Am I going to lock myself in my room or am I going to talk, laugh and enjoy food with my colleagues?
There have been days where I planned to go eat with my friends, but plans fail, so am I going to binge or am I going to cook myself a nutritious meal and enjoy a movie alone?
The more you try to control something, the more you will struggle. I have tried to control my ED and I have always failed. You need to train your mind and think practically and logically before eating something, so you are eating with the correct intention.
I have started to eat when I am hungry, stop when I am full.
I am okay with eating seconds and a bigger portion of food that I enjoy.
I am giving myself one treat a week, whether it is nutella pancakes, a cheese burger or a pizza. It’s good for my soul.
I am enjoying eating nutritious meals during the week – chicken stir fry, yogurt, granola, fresh fruit, wholegrain rice, legumes, curries, dates, nuts, energy balls. I love the feeling that I am nourishing my body.
I still feel triggered, I relapse, I recognise when those familiar toxic thoughts are returning, but I stop myself and I breathe. I remind myself of how far I have come.
I am beating this eating disorder, one day at a time, one meal at a time. I am doing this for me.

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About Author

Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.

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