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Opening Up

This is a tough post to write. How does one let the whole world know that you’re a mess?

I’m not perfect, in fact, I’m a mess.

LOL, well that was easy. OK, seriously though, Yum Yucky’s post on compulsive eating got me to thinking a LOT about my issues. My issues, my uh, problems, my eating disorder, hmm maybe it’s disorders. I have an eating disorder? I have an eating disorder. Can I say that? Guess I just did. Wow…that is hard to put out there.

This is Wikipedia’s definition of compulsive eating:  I think it’s a fairly good definition.  I mentioned in my what I learned in 2010 post that I’m a food addict, binge eater, and compulsive eater.  The lines blur between all of those, but yes, I’m all three.  Yum Yucky’s post and resulting comments got me thinking about all of this, and I’ve decided to share some of my why, my past, why I believe I have these issues.

I definitely learned disordered eating as a child. I can’t really pinpoint it, but I know some of these behaviors stem some from then. I learned an unbalanced/abnormal relationship with food. I also never learned how to handle emotions. Anger was really the only emotion that was acceptable to express.  Now had I just lived a normal happy little life from there I may have been OK. Hard to know, but I didn't.

As a teenager I flirted with anorexia. I don’t think that I ever was clinically anorexic, but I displayed a lot of the behaviors. My weight was never unhealthy though. The smallest I was, was a size 3 and about 130 pounds for 5’6”. But I remember feeling hungry and it felt powerful. Ya, screwed up I was.

Then, I got pregnant when I was 17. The father was a year older than I was. It was a dysfunctional relationship with a capital D. He was in and out of my life until I was about 23. I married him, divorced, lots of drama all around.  I won’t go into details, but he lied a lot, drank a lot, and was violent some. He did some things that cut me to my soul and killed any self esteem I had. I was broken. I wasn’t me anymore. This time in my life was the beginning of my full blown eating disorder.

Briefly after having my son I turned to alcohol. Thank God for my mom and dad during this time (my son was always safely with them when I was being an idiot). This was a bad time in my life. I realized I needed to grow up and be a mom, but still didn’t know who I was or how to deal with life, stress, or emotions. I was still very much so broken.

I turned to food. I never saw it in the same light as my drinking, it was somehow more acceptable. But it became my new addiction, my crutch, my obsession. I thought about food all the time, I binged on amounts of food that would shock you, I ate until I was so full I wanted to vomit, I ate when I wasn’t hungry, I ate so fast and didn’t feel like I could stop myself. I ate in secret.  Food controlled me. I barely even tasted food; I just shoveled it in almost trance like. It was my drug.

I put myself through college as a single mom and met a wonderful man. I functioned well in the rest of my life, but my relationship with food and my weight continued to be out of control.  It was only in the past few years that I realized I had a problem, that it wasn’t just will power, weakness, whatever. I knew my behavior was abnormal, but I never came to terms that it was an eating disorder (for some reason that terminology is hard for me).  I have an eating disorder. It goes far beyond normal overeating. I have been completely obsessed with food. It has been all consuming for a large portion of my life. I have thought about it constantly.  I’ve been filled with shame, self-hatred, and hopelessness for years.

 Healing has come in increments and sometimes one step forward, two steps back. It’s been a long road. But over the last 10 years I have found me again. I’m no longer broken. I like me and I am filled with hope. I may always have to be aware of my food issues; there are still days that food is all I can think about. I still struggle, but I have hope. I have knowledge, and I have support. I know I will beat this. I know that I am worth it.

It may have taken me over 10 years to realize I’m not a piece of trash, but standing here, on the other side, I know that those 10 years have formed who I am. And I am strong.

I believe that this year I will get to a healthy weight for the first time in a very long time. I also believe that I can have a normal, healthy relationship with food. I can, I will, I am strong.