| | Compulsive overeating to "relieve" OCD urges
Hello everyone. I am here to share my story and solicit feedback and advice from anyone kind enough to read this entire post.
I have suffered with OCD my entire life. From a very young age I had to line up my toys perfectly, touch objects and count to relieve anxiety, wash my hands compulsively, compulsively check the oven, fireplace, doors, drawers, etc.
When I was young these behaviors temporarily "comforted" me and temporarily relieved mounting anxiety. (I was raised in an abusive environment, which is likely the root of my fears/anxiety.)
As I grew older, I stopped doing these OC behaviors because I didn't want my peers to know my secret. I was able to stop the urges, but the anxiety remained present and unrelieved.
Even when the behaviors are gone, the OCD doesn't just go away; it manifests itself one way or another. Thus my OCD went through stages.
When I was a teenager/young adult my OCD became centered on my hair and clothing. I took a tremendous amount of time getting myself prepared in the morning, not because of vanity but because I had to do my rituals. For instance I had to use certain brushes in certain order, and hold the curling iron on each piece for a certain number of seconds.
When I went to college, my OCD transitioned into smoking. This is possibly because I could not keep up my hair and clothing rituals in the presence of my college roommates. So I turned to smoking - a convenient compulsion that I could do twenty times per day whenever anxiety struck.
By my mid-twenties I had decided to quit smoking for a variety of reasons. Eating quickly became my new compulsion. Instead of sticking a cigarette in my mouth, I was sticking anything that tasted good in my mouth.
To this day I compulsively overeat. It's getting worse as I get older and my life becomes more complicated with my career, husband, children, friendships, economic worries and other obligations. I "quiet" my anxiety and intrusive thoughts and obsessions by shoving food down my throat.
I have gained 100 lbs in the past 10 years. (I am 5;7". At age 20 I was 145 lbs. Now I am 245 lbs.) I am certainly out of control. As strange as this may seem, I am also a compulsive exerciser. I work out at least an hour and a half per day, most days. Exercise is a terrific anxiety reliever. However my food intake is so excessive that I continue to gain weight despite my intense exercise sessions.
Intellectually I know how to lose weight, how to eat healthfully, the dangers of obesity, etc. My issue is that I can not stop myself from eating when the anxiety/compulsion strikes, which is dozens of times per day. Logic (about harming my body) is overtaken by the compulsion in each instance.
(I must keep food in the house for my family. Even when we have all "health" foods in the house I will find something to eat - even condiments straight from their containers.)
Can anyone relate, and can anyone offer advice? I appreciate your time.