I have debated sharing this for a very long time. I decided today it’s time to start my healing process and stop hiding. I hope sharing my story will help someone else.
I have struggled for a long time.
There are lots of things that have contributed to this struggle exponentially in the past four years since I began college, but the bottom line is, it’s not going to go away unless I take the actions I need to fix it.
First, I need to state that most of this struggle has been contributed solely from me. I have a wonderful support system that consists of the most caring and loving parents that anyone could ever want, and friends that have known me inside and out since I was seven years old. They are the reason I’m still standing today, they’re the reason that I don’t give up on everything at any point. Of course, there have been some outside factors that have contributed to my struggles, but I have realized in the past few months that I can’t keep blaming them for everything.
So what exactly do I struggle from you might be asking? For as long as I can remember, I have had a combination of issues that have ranged from depression to anxiety to panic attacks. They all are interconnected, and all are mostly related to my one major struggle in my life: addiction.
I don’t necessarily think this is something people would expect from me, but it is something I face and deal with on a daily basis. Let me state for the record that I do not have a drug or alcohol problem. I think often that people automatically link addiction to drugs or alcohol. I have never done drugs. I don’t really drink, mostly for personal reasons, but I would be lying if I didn’t say a large contributing factor to this decision that I struggle with an addictive personality. It’s one of the major reasons I’m not at all excited about my 21st birthday in a week.
So if it’s not drugs or alcohol, what could it be? That’s probably what you’re thinking. My addiction is food. It has been my addiction for as long as I can remember, and has seriously controlled my life for as long as I can remember. I think certain people don’t believe that food addiction is real, but I am living proof that it is 100% real and dangerous, and contributes to a lifetime of struggles and pain. My whole blog is about “finding a new life through food” because I’ve been so determined to not view food as an enemy or a friend, yet I literally have no idea how else are you supposed to view it. How is it something that you’re not emotionally linked to every day? The answer is that I have no answer.
I don’t know where it started, I’m sure it hasn’t been like this my whole life, but I can’t remember much from before middle school. I’ve been told my personality changed quite a bit in middle school, the young carefree and outgoing happy child that I was seemed to disappear. Instead, I was replaced with inner demons that have been lingering inside me for ten years.
There are lots of things that trigger my food addiction, and to be perfectly honest, many of them are more personal than I’m ready to share out loud to other people or in this post. I can say for certain, that having control of food is something that I wish I possessed inside myself. Sometimes I feel like I’m having an outer body experience when I’m around food, like I want to tell myself to stop in the moment, but I can’t. My hands and mouth aren’t connected to my brain. I’m telling myself no, stop, don’t take the food in my head, but I physically cannot stop.
The thoughts of food and trying to control myself consume most of my days. It’s a major reason I have trouble focusing doing other tasks, because I’m always calculating and devising schemes about how to sneak food or hide food or not eat food or avoid situations where I have to eat in front of people. I’m constantly try to sit in my room and not think about leftover food I just ate for dinner and not allow myself to secretly go eat the leftovers sitting in the refrigerator. I’m constantly calculating calories and fat and sugar. I constantly binge to the point where I want to throw up, but never actually do.
Food constantly gives me anxiety. I feel like I can never relax because I’m thinking about it. I feel like my brain is never satisfied. I feel like I’m never in control of anything.
I know what it’s like to clean out your closet every year because you literally have eight different sizes of pants. I know what it’s like to stare longingly at pants or a shirt that fit you one year ago and don’t anymore. I know what it’s like to have to buy a new wardrobe because food won.
I know what it’s like to fight a war with food every day of your life.
Let me put you inside my brain for a minute. Let me paint you a picture of my morning today:
I wake up at 8:30AM, and the first thing on my mind of course is food. I’m not even hungry, I’m never usually hungry when I first wake up. Instead, my mind is determined to not eat that leftover macaroni and cheese sitting in my fridge. It is all my mind can think about, so I force myself to stay in bed. I wont let myself get up, but then all of a sudden it’s 9:30AM and I know I should get up. I walk down the stairs and directly into the kitchen and stare at the fridge. I open the door and see the box with the leftovers. I walk away to another cabinet trying to find anything else, but the only thing I can think of is that box. I tell myself stop, you don’t need it, but my body seems to be possessed and somehow the box ends up in my hands. Somehow I have a fork in my hands and I’m eating this cold macaroni and cheese that doesn’t even taste good cold but I can’t put it down. I want to put it down, the whole time all I can think of is how I don’t want this at all and yet desperately need to eat this at the same time. All of a sudden it’s all gone. Did I really just eat it all? I stare at the box and feel nothing but guilt and shame. No one is home, so I don’t have to hide the box and anyone who sees it in the garbage will just assume I ate it for lunch. All of a sudden I’m scouring cabinets and taken handfuls of food here and there and stuffing my face. I step back and feel disgust. I quickly look at the clock and realize it is now only 9:45AM and I feel sick. I sulk back up the stairs in shame and try to calm my anxious mind so I don’t have another repeat episode in four hours. I’m not successful.
That is all for now. There is not much else to say. Actually there is lots to say, but I simply have no more coherent sentences to put together.