First of all I just want to say that I don’t have bipolar disorder, but I know about it through the experiences of others in my life.
As someone with an ed, I’ve found that time has created extra symptoms and then extra disorders. The struggling leads to more struggling, more unhealthy coping strategies, and ultimately a complex recovery path.
Because of the mental health stigma, and the secretive and shameful nature of most mental disorders, it is common for people to go years before seeking help. the sooner the better
I’m going to just talk about how an ed can change and contribute to other problems.
I think that the lack of confidence and negative self talk (in depressive and mixed episodes primarily) fuel the ed voice. If you feel down and worthless, I imagine one would feel deserving of further mental distress. This could be binge eating, restricting, exercising…. Any ed behaviour really.
What people forget is that having bipolar doesn’t mean you are only ever manic or depressed; you can be in a mixed state, or be relatively stable for periods of time. My observation of others is that the changing mood can heavily influence food choices. Some moods give way to being careless about diet, perhaps overeating or not needing to eat to have energy. Other times, food can become a comfort or a punishment- just like it can be in an eating disorder mindset.
OCD and anxiety disorders
I think that every eating disorder creates anxiety, most obviously around food. For me though, that anxiety just grew and grew until I was having panic attacks daily and had developed obsessions and compulsions. I know that feeling anxious is a part of being human, but if you notice yourself becoming anxious frequently or having rituals to bring down that feeling, then you should speak up.
Anxiety is not weakness.
I knkw there are many more things that can co-exist with an ed, but this post is long! More to come…