There are several eating disorders that people confront with, and the imposed COVID-19 lockdown stimulates all of them. It was to be expected since eating disorders are mental health disorders, and everyone’s mental health was challenged by this unnatural way of living for quite an extended period. And the worst of it is that won’t end soon, even if the lockdown will be eased.
Canada reports a worrisome increase in the symptoms for people previously diagnosed with an eating disorder, due to the lockdown. And there are close to one million Canadians that suffer from an eating disorder, according to Statistics Canada.
Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, pica, rumination syndrome, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder, they are all severe diagnoses. And managing those disorders is an even tougher process. Before getting there, to the point where the patient holds the reigns of his/her eating habits, the patient can lose it all: Family, job, financial resources, everything.
Eating disorders are on the rise during the COVID-19 lockdown
It’s been the case for Canadian Jennifer Thomson. And after all the struggle, and after finally succeeding in the fight with her eating disorder, the lockdown threw her back to “being isolated, being depressed, being alone — you start waking up, and it just becomes Groundhog Day.” The symptoms came back. “You’re just with your demons all the time, and you have nowhere else beyond your four walls that are your distractions.”
Sophie Grey is another case of an eating disorder. For her, it was combined with obsessive exercising. Now, her symptoms came back to haunt her too. But it looks like there is something that helps her make it through. And she is recommending it to everyone else – a journal.
While struggling with the disorder, she kept a therapeutic journal, and she created an app that she hopes will ease the lives of other people going through the eating disorders’ torment. “What journaling allows you to do is to get your thoughts out on paper and see them for what they are. You can start to notice your own patterns, your own behaviors,” said Gray.