• Erin Fitzpatrick

How Quarantine May Be Triggering Your ED & How to Cope

If you didn’t already know, I’ve struggled with eating disorders for most of my life. I can remember the moment where I began to question my physical appearance and weight which eventually led to my infatuation with being skinnier. Not just thinner, but extremely thin. Seeing my bones translated to success for me.

I have bulimia. I have anorexia.

Although it has been a long time since I’ve starved myself, I continue to fight the urge to binge and purge.

Whenever I overeat, or feel “full” after a meal, it is like a knee-jerk reaction to want to rid myself of that sensation as quickly as possible, and I’ve been working on resisting that urge for years now. I’ve been finding it more difficult to resist since COVID-19, the coronavirus, forced us into a quarantine in our homes.

As a result of the quarantine, I’ve found myself eating… a lot. More than I’d care to admit. With every day that passes, I become overwhelmed with boredom or stress and find myself wandering back into the pantry for a quick snack.

I’ve been doing my best to turn to healthy foods, but I can’t deny that I’ve caught myself running through the drive-thru at Taco Bell just to get out of the house.

So here I am. Trapped. Isolated. Lonely. Stressed the f**k out because there is a horrible virus killing a lot of people. So yeah, I’m eating more than usual. To be expected, right?

Well for someone with an ED, it can mean relapse. It is taking every ounce of emotional, mental, and physical energy that I have left not to purge. And I’m happy to say that I haven’t. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other people out there struggling with the same things right now, who may need help or support or just advice on how to cope with this extremely unique and unprecedented trigger.

For that reason, I’ve compiled a short list of some of the health coping mechanisms that I’ve been using in order to resist my bad coping mechanisms (eating, purging, etc.). I don’t know if this will help anyone. I am not a professional. But I am a survivor, and I want to share my experiences, thoughts, and feelings, so that if I can help one person, sharing my deepest and most personal areas of my life will be worth it.

  1. GET OUTSIDE First thing I do when I have urges is get outside. I go sit on my front porch or back porch or near my garden, or I take a walk around the block. I do this because for one it is distracting and it takes my mind off of the emotions that I’m feeling. Second, I do this because nature and fresh air are proven to be good for your mental and physical health, so why not? And lastly, I do this because rather than synthetically try to remove the contents of my stomach, moving my body by taking a short walk is a HEALTHY way to diminish the feeling when I’ve overeaten, even if it’s just a little bit. Bringing me to my next point:

  1. GET MOVING This one is a given. When you have the full feeling in your stomach moving around will increase your digestion and metabolism. As long as you aren’t doing this to excess or to punish yourself in any way, this can be a great way to take your mind off of your desire to purge. When I say get moving, I personally like to just have a mini-dance party and throw on my favorite music and move my body in ways that feel good. This also brings me back into loving feelings about my body rather than negative feelings.

  2. GET CREATIVE So with this one, I’m talking about letting these feelings out in a creative way. For me, that’s writing. I’m writing this post because I was feeling these feelings after a day of eating what I believe to be way too much candy. For you, it might be art or music or something else. Whatever it is for you, you have to let these feelings out. The more you ignore and push away the urges, the bigger and stronger they become. You have power over them when you confront them head on.

  3. GET HELP I don’t ever want to write a blog post or anything in my career/life where I don’t suggest that you reach out for help. When you’re having these feelings or urges about your body and yourself, or you feel yourself slipping back, you can talk to someone you trust, or reach out to a support group, or find some other way to connect with someone who can just be there for you. Hey, my inbox and my Facebook Group is always open for you 24/7! That’s why I created my website and my social media pages for exactly this reason. I want to help. And there are others who want to help too. So even if it isn’t me or my group, there are plenty of others out there to choose from. So don’t wait until you feel the urge, reach out now and make connections so you have that safety net there for you.

At the end of the day, YOU ARE AMAZING and YOU ARE A WARRIOR. Everything that you’ve been through has made you even stronger and more incredible than before. If you don’t believe me, then make a list of all of the trauma and sh*t that you’ve been through in your life, and try to tell me that you aren’t a bada**.

And if quarantine is triggering you and getting you down, that’s okay. You aren’t alone. We are all in this together and I can’t wait to add this to our list of sh*t we’ve been through that has made us even stronger than before.

Stay well.

Love & Light Always,


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