I have worked on this blog post for about four weeks. My inspiration to finally completely disclose my addiction came from one of the most influentical professors in my life, Brad King. He was talking to a fellow student, Tiffany, about starting her blog. He told her about how a woman called and left a minute voicemail about how his stories shaped her life. Finally, she encouraged him to keep writing. Sometimes parts of our life aren’t pretty. It doesn’ t make us proud when we look back, yet this unchangeable past is part of who we are today.
I kept trying to perfect my story. In a way, hoping the story would change. But it didn’t. And it won’t.
I don’t remember how my addiction started. I can’t seem to remember the exact day that I realized eating less food would make me thinner. Seems like common sense, but looking into my past seems like the only logical way to understand the development of the addiction that transformed my life.
As a young child, I remember constantly trying to fit in. I didn’t really get into fashion and make-up as a young girl. I would rather play baseball with the boys than go shopping. I would rather get dirty than get dressed up. My idea of the perfect outfit was basketball shorts and a sports team hoddie.
All of that changed when I entered high school. I wanted so desperately to catch people’s eye. I wanted the football star and wrestling champion to notice me. So, I started working out. But then my addiction with losing weight caused me to eat less. I would skip breakast. Eat five bites of my salad at lunch. Run five miles after school. Do 300 ab crunchers a night. And then try to skip dinner or simply have a few bites of something just to aviod the conflict of my parents asking my why I never ate anymore. Or did I have enough to eat? No, I didn’t. But yes, I said.
But then I realized eating food released stress. So I started to binge. I would sneak home after school before cheerleading or track practice and eat an ENTIRE pizza to myself. Then, I would rush to the bathroom. I turned on the shower trying to cover up the sound of me purging, which was hard to cover up. And really, how many showers does someone take a day? If my family was keeping track, I took about five a day. Binging and purging became a huge part of my life. After every meal, including the holiday meals, I would run home in antipcation to control my obession with “looking good” and “being healthy.” I did this knowing that I could get rid of it all. Maybe it was about control. Maybe it was about “my health.” Whatever it was about- it led to dangerous consequences. My heart started to skip beats. I would be running and I could tell my heart wasn’t like it used to be. I would cough up blood during the winter when the cold air burned going into my fragile lungs.
Ironically, I titled my blog “my secret addiction.” Addictions typically aren’t secrets. Most of the time, people around you know. For me, people saw my outside appreance change. My weight dropped. My hair was falling out. My voice was tougher. People probably knew. Just like other addictions. The people around you seem to know you have a problem before you realize what you are doing is causing much harm to yourself. Even more so, your addiction causes much more pain to the people around you.
I don’t know how many people have read this far into the blog. If you have, I owe an explanation of how my addiction stopped. But let me inform you that addictions always live within you. The urge to puke after a heavy meal weighs on my mind daily. Just as a recovering alcoholic walks into a resturant and glances at the beers on tap. I don’t need to puke and they probably don’t need to drink. But sometimes the want still lives within.
I finally realized that each and every time I stuck my fingers down my throat, I was taking away days, months, years- away from my family. My future children need a mother in their life. Right now, my sisters need a positive influence in their life now. I can’t be that person that believes doing damage to their body to look good is a justifiable thing.
People without an addiction like this don’t understand the things that I say. For example, a girl in class told me she wanted to join the peace corp. and my first reaction was, “I know someone who did that and he lost a lot of weight.” The average person would think of noble good this individual is doing, but my first thought goes to weight. I can’t control it. I rememebr wanting to go on the show “Suvivior” just so I could lose weight. That is patethic. But that is part of who I am. I am a work in progress.
So here I am today. I haven’t purged in about one years. I have relapsed a few times in college, but maybe only five times total since high school- a huge accomplishment for me. I have gained all the weight back. My addiction to controlling how I lose weight didn’t work. Trust me, it never works. Your body needs food. Your body needs to physical activity. Right now, I’m just trying to remind myself that these few extra pounds are worth it. I can lose weight the healthy way -away from the scale and away from the toliet. But not a day goes by that I don’t think about my addiction or my desire to look good again. I guess I am just some where in the middle. A lost child in the store. I’ll continue to look down every isle until I find myself right where I need to be.
I’m hitting “publish now” hoping that this helps fill up the holes of my past.
My final thought: help someone if you know or suspect they have an eating disorder. And if you are doing this, stop. I promise, it will save your life.