Some people think that quitting the binge eating habit may work for others, but not them. They think their lives are more complicated, that their binge eating developed for deeper reasons than others, or that they have too many struggles in their lives to just stop. First of all, know that you don’t have to “just stop” if you don’t want to right now, but also know that you are not alone in thinking that your case is different. Everyone can find at least one unique problem in their life that they think may prevent recovery, but I believe that most people can move forward despite that.
We are all guilty of thinking we are somehow different and have a tougher road, even in other parts of our lives. One example where I am guilty of this in my own life is in trying to be a more patient mother. I often read inspirational blog posts and books about motherhood, which address how to be more understanding with your kids, enjoy them more, put their misbehavior in perspective, and stay calm. While these writings are great and helpful to read, I often have a voice in my head telling me that most of these posts or books are or must be written by women who have 1 or 2 kids, and that the youngest is or must be at least 5 years old, and that the kids are or must be in school or daycare. But I can’t possibly stay calm with a 1, 3, 5, and 7 year old, while homeschooling and never getting a minute to myself, and trying to keep up with my writing at night.
I’ll often hear something like this in my head: “well maybe patience is possible for that mother because she has less kids, or maybe a maid, or nanny, or live-in grandparents. I, on the other hand, am doomed to be stressed out every day.” That voice is not the truth. There are many moms in my exact situation, and those who have more kids and taking on much more than me, who handle it all with grace. Even if an inspirational mothering blog is written by a mom of a 9 and 11 year old who are in school most of the day, it doesn’t make it any less meaningful—that mom certainly has some reasons that she feels uniquely taxed beyond her means. That mom could find many justifications in her own life for becoming impatient or unhappy in her mommy role.
The point as it relates to binge eating recovery is: even if someone else’s life looks better than yours on the surface, you have no idea what that person is going through. I realize that in Brain over Binge, it may have seemed like my life was good at the time I quit. I didn’t have major trauma going on, I was happily married, and enjoying my job. That’s true. But, there were still countless problems under the surface, and my life was far from being easy. The truth is, we all can find an excuse. We all can find a reason that we can’t accomplish what someone else has accomplished. We can all find a reason to remain stagnant, to keep analyzing without acting, and to attribute other people’s success to their circumstances or their easy lives.
There are things that make you different, that is true; and that is why not everyone will recover on the same timeline and in exactly the same way; but whatever you are facing, you can make recovery work despite that. There are definitely reasons that some people stop binge eating right away and others take longer, just like there are reasons that some people have an easier time being patient with their kids! That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, or that you should give up. If you feel like you can’t stop acting on binge urges right now, and you think there are some issues holding you back, then get to work on those issues if you feel it will help; but know that the “my case is different” thoughts will likely still be there afterward–and at any time you attempt to quit.
I think the best course of action is to treat the “my case is different” thoughts as neurological junk. They are just habitual thoughts that you’ve grabbed hold of in the past, so now they keep coming up automatically. There is no need to give these thoughts any attention or value. Everyone’s case IS different, but everyone can find a way to recovery.