Binge Eating Disorder and the Fear of the Unknown

July 19, 2022 Emma Parten

When I struggle with disordered eating behavior, specifically binge eating disorder (BED), I am usually fixated on thinking about the future. Fear and worry dominate whenever I try to control my food intake or comfort myself with food. The fear of the unknown triggers my binge eating disorder symptoms.

I still think about all the possible paths I could take in my life while I am driving, eating, walking, and all the in-between moments. There have also been changes in the way I react to the feeling of uncertainty. In the process of BED recovery, I've been able to try different ways to comfort myself during times of fear and worry for the future.

How to Get Through the Fear of the Unknown During Binge Eating Disorder

When a stressful thought or event comes, my habits direct me to focus on food. I must consciously redirect myself to a different way of coping. You will get better at observing yourself and knowing when you are fixed on food and probably feeling vulnerable in the presence of uncertainty. These little strategies have helped me feel more confident and supported when I'm going through massive life changes or dealing with the fear of the unknown in BED recovery. 

  • Find or create a personal mantra -- Mantras are usually short phrases containing wisdom that help remind you to come back to the reality in front of you instead of living fearfully inside your mind. One of my mantras is, "I will always be okay." I tell myself to remind myself of this truth. Our minds can be comforted and refocused by wisdom, but we need to be reminded often.     
  • Find a place where you feel safe -- Is there a place you know of where you feel calm and consoled? Maybe it is a park, a walk in the woods, a coffee shop, or someone else's home. Mark these places as safe havens. Return to these places when you are struggling with fears of the unknown. While you're present in these places, remember all the previous times you've come to visit and how you've made it through uncertainty before. 
  • Appreciate what is in front of you -- I think the opposite of the feeling of fear and constriction is expansion and creation. It's helpful to explore creativity to appreciate the world unfolding in front of you. You could try any creative activities like writing, sketching, painting, collaging, taking photos, singing, dancing, baking, or cooking. You can find lists of creative hobbies online and highlight the ones that interest you. The process of discovering these little ways to enjoy being alive will give you something to focus on during times of uncertainty. 

Uncertainty is a guarantee in our lives. What we do in response to this fact is what matters and what we can work to change. Our lives are made up of our days. How we spend our days is how we spend our lives. We can focus, then, on making room for enjoyment, creativity, and support to combat fear.

Recovery from BED is a priority in my life because I want to be able to live a brave, creative life, despite how much I am often preoccupied with the fear of the unknown. I hope you can discover new ways to cope with the fear of the unknown in your BED recovery, so you can live the way you would like. 

APA Reference
Parten, E. (2022, July 19). Binge Eating Disorder and the Fear of the Unknown , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 14 from

Author: Emma Parten

Connect with Emma on her personal blog.

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