Hoarding and Eating Disorders aren't related...are they? 

Hoarding and eating disorders have a surprising amount in common. Both are psychological conditions that can make lives miserable. Hoarding is rarely about the stuff. Eating disorders are rarely about food. Hoarding and eating disorders are really both about pain. They are a way for someone to cope with pain that they just don't know how to cope with. I'm writing this blog as therapy for myself as someone who has suffered with an eating disorder since 2001, and with disordered eating for as long as I can remember. You can read my recovery diary at Body Hater.

I encourage anyone struggling with hoarding or an eating disorder to get help. There is no shame in getting help. There is shame in making our families, friends, and loved ones' lives miserable because we choose our pride over the people we love.

There are many ways to find a therapist. Your doctor can help you get started on the path to recovery by helping you or your suffering family member find a treatment provider.


There's no official term for the eating disorder I've had. In 2001 I went to college unprepared for life on my own and already depressed, anxious, and blaming my body for the problems in my life. I spent the first six months of college starving myself of food in an attempt to get attention and feel good about myself. 

The stress became too much the day that my now husband's father died. I was so upset, so desperate to make myself feel better that I turned to food. Horribly large amounts of food. It was my first binge.  I gained weight and looked normal to the outside world, as so many women with eating disorders do. Yes, you can be a normal weight and still have a life-threatening eating disorder. Inside I was a mess.

I spent the next year as an exercise bulimic. I purged only by exercising for hours a day. Finally this took its toll on me and I settled into the eating disorder pattern I kept up for another eight years: eat as little as possible for days and then binge. You don't have to make yourself throw up to have bulimia, I learned later. This non-purging hybrid of bulimia and anorexia is officially called "Eating Disorder (Not Otherwise Specified)" by the healthcare world. But for many of us who have this type of eating disorder, we call it bulimirexia. Part bulimia. Part anorexia.

I finally sought treatment in 2009 after experiencing the most catastrophic event in my life up to that point. My grandmother was a second parent to me, more so than my father, and when she died even the eating disorder couldn't keep me together. I got help first with a fantastic dietician, then also with a psychologist who specializes in eating disorders, and finally I added a psychiatrist to my treatment team. I am by no means recovered -- you can see this by the "Days without a binge" counter on the right side of my blog. I will always be a recovering bulimic. But each day, each blog post, puts me farther from my ED and farther from any small desires to hoard that I got from my parents. 

Another day without being hoardED is enough for me.

If you are suffering, please get help. You won't regret it.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful, honest post. Thank you for your emotional integrity. You remind me to take care of myself. Freedom comes from facing reality.


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