As with most people with weight issues, I filled my inner void and pain with food. I stuffed myself until it hurt just so I could feel something there. I knew it was wrong and bad for my body. I always knew that. But there was so much self loathing, fear and guilt it almost became a compulsion.
I have been overweight – obese for most of my life. The issues I mentioned above are many and my gosh I really lived in an environment rife with trauma. This is difficult to write mostly because it will be public once I hit publish. But I also know there are many people out there that experienced the same situations and are going through the same issues. If this makes you feel a little bit less alone, I am glad.
I will not go into specifics, suffice is to say that looking back at my life and what I have been through has stemmed from many years of child abuse. I took the pain and the guilt of what was happening to me as my own. Instead of putting the blame where it belonged I became convinced I was the one with the problem and I was guilty of what had happened to me. When you are a small child you don’t understand and when you finally do and ask for help, and that help is denied from a person you trust it is another devastating blow. I was trapped with no way out. My only escape was to eat. I would eat until I couldn’t anymore. I was literally killing myself with food.
This way of thinking was horrible on my mental and physical health in every way. I went through life with a smile on my face, being bubbly and funny. I made fun of my size and in the same token I never really thought I was THAT fat. In my mind I could still fit into a Large, when in reality I was way past that mark. Deep down though I was miserable. I hated everything about myself. I hated being this fake person to others just to be accepted. I was always the fat sidekick. I was a doormat for many because I felt I needed to be that way to be accepted and wanted. In reality people I thought were friends were taking advantage of my need for acceptance.
Since I began to pile on the pounds at the age of 9 I was introduced to dieting very early. My mother put me on one shortly thereafter. This started my road into dieting hell. In my mind, the more disgusting it was to drink the better results I would get. I know, totally warped way to think. This is how I lived for as long as I can remember now. I took diet pills, I did calorie counting, low fat, low carb, soups, shakes, herbal teas, disgusting concoctions that make me shiver now, in other words, if I heard about it I gave it a try! Diet after diet, starting over again, this time I will do it I would say. I can’t go through another year like this. I need to take control of my life. I want to be skinny and wear pretty clothes. I wish I would just wake up tomorrow and be the person I know I can be.
Does that sound familiar? I could go on with what was going on in my mind. Hoping for miracles, for something to make me happy and skinny. I thought those two went hand in hand. I couldn’t possibly be happy BEFORE being skinny. This way of thinking was a continuous cycle for years and years. How could I be happy if every fiber of my being was telling me horrible things on a daily basis. I was my own abuser, my own punishment and my worst critic. I put myself down to the point where I would raid the fridge! Talk about an abusive relationship. I was really in one of my own making. Thinking back at this time, I was always very judgmental about women that stay in these types of relationships. How could they take that abuse I would scream at the TV screen (I was mostly watching them in shows). That woman is sooooo stupid! She has no self respect! How could she accept that abuse! well you get the picture. Little did I know I was one of them too. Except I didn’t have an abusive partner, I was doing it to myself.
I was punishing myself with food. I was stuffing down my feelings, the horrible memories and the guilt I felt. I knew I had to get help but I was always too afraid to do it. It took a long time and a few break downs. Long enough to realize I really needed help. I was depressed, isolated and suicidal. I reached a point in my life where I knew something had to give. I couldn’t live that way any longer. No one should. I was punishing myself so much for something I had had no control of so many years before. I finally reached out and found a therapist. It was very hard at first. I didn’t want to leave the house so I began with phone therapy. That is where I was. I didn’t even want to go out the house door.
After a couple phone sessions I finally gathered the courage to go see her in person. It was one of the best decisions of my life. Once I opened myself to the pain, the truth of what happened and put the blame where it belonged I began to really see things clearly. It was almost like a rebirth. It was like finding a friend in myself rather than an enemy. Slowly I began to push my abusive voice away from me and accept a kind and caring friend to step into the picture.
One of the things that many of us don’t want to admit is that we don’t really love ourselves. We might think we do, but the way we abuse our bodies really says otherwise. After I began to work out where these binges came from and why it is I do eat as much as I do, the guilt became for something else. I had let those horrible feelings through and they had taken over me and my health. I felt I had let myself down. My body and mind. But this time I can rectify it. I want to make it right and I am going to do my best to make it up to myself. I want to rebuild my own trust and love. It’s something that I have to do if I want to have a long and happy life with a wonderful supportive partner.
Just being kind and gentle with myself every day has helped so much since I started therapy. It’s as simple as an encouraging word when you are feeling down. I became my own cheerleader and friend. It has really been mind changing I would say. It doesn’t mean every day is easy. It doesn’t work that way. I still have difficult days and sometimes that nasty voice creeps in to jab me in the gut. I understand I am still a long way from healing but I can at least understand that and begin by moving slowly towards a better tomorrow.
Whilst I still have a lot of other issues to work through, at least now I don’t feel so alone anymore. I have myself on my side now. I took my gloves off, stopped fighting with myself and finally got on my own side.
If you are also in the same boat I urge you to seek help. Seek someone to help you work through those painful issues and even though it isn’t easy, it will transform your life.
This is a site my therapist recommended to me, perhaps you might also find it helpful: