dose of happiness or my reality is too painful to deal with, I've turned to my best friend food to take me to a place of altered reality where I am happy and pain doesn't exists. In my little make believe world I can't feel the sadness of rejection from all the boys who don't like me back, or the hole in my heart created by my brother's death, or the hopelessness I feel in trying to build a dream career for myself. But in my real life, these feelings swirl inside me, toxic and suffocating. And so, instead of dealing with them, I consume thousands of calories in a single sitting to make them disappear. And it works, they disappear and are replaced with happiness. False, temporary happiness, but happiness nonetheless. Then, because I have this need to be beautiful, I starve myself to compensate for the weight gain caused by my binge, and then I starve myself a little more. I am just as addicted to starving myself as I am to bingeing. Starving makes me feel strong and confident and beautiful. I love feeling all those things. But, from a starve always come the inevitable binge. And so, I continue to live in this destructive cycle of bingeing and starving and physical obsession. Over the past year and a half I have come very far on my journey of mental health and happiness, but my issues with food are still stitched into every part of my life. My eating disorder doesn't care that I hate it. It doesn't care that I don't want it to exist anymore. It keeps me wrapped tightly in its toxic grasp. I am unable to let it go. I am trying, but it is a difficult process. One day I hope I can look at my body in the mirror, say "I love you" and mean it. Here are a few of my diary entries from over the years which delve deeper into my struggles with food.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2014
An obsession is defined as 'The domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image or desire.' It consumes the mind, but develops from the need to obtain something outside of yourself. The obsession gains strength from the idea that once this desire is obtained, a hole within themselves will be filled. An obsession is all-consuming. It becomes the only thing that matters. And soon it begins to control you. Your thoughts. Your decisions. Your actions. At this moment, I am obsessed with losing weight. I know I have always been occupied with the need to be beautiful, but this time is different. Loosing weight has become the sole focus of my life. It is all I can think about. I haven't eaten in a week and a half. Of course I have had to put food in my body, but I can't say that I've consumed more then 500 calories a day. I may eat breakfast and sometimes that is it. But if I feel my body being weak, then I'll consume a small dinner. Today I ate a piece of gluten-free toast with a small bit of honey and butter for breakfast, did 1.5 hours of cardio at the gym, and then made sure my dinner, which I ate at 4PM, was under 200 calories. Today alone, I got on the scale 4 times to check my progress. I've looked at my stomach in the mirror twice that many times. My body aches from hunger, and my mind feels weak, but I also feel strong and in control, and so it is not hard for me to ignore the pain. For the first time in a long time, I feel like it is possible for me to have the body I want. And with that, comes the life I want. My soul is torn in two. Part of me feels strong, and in control, and confident, and worthy and beautiful. And the other part feels depressed and horrible for treating myself this way. I keep indulging on cigarettes and alcohol to distract myself from food. Part of me feels strong, but part of me feels like the obsession has taken control. Not eating and losing weight is all I can think about. I feel as though I couldn't even eat a normal size meal if I tried. As if my body would shut down at the idea. And the sick part is that I feel really happy. How can a person be so happy and miserable at the same time? All I have ever wanted is to feel happy and beautiful. Starving myself has been the only thing that has brought me that. And yet, I feel a restlessness inside me that is ready to scream as soon as I unlock its cage. I am going to continue to starve myself and over-exercise, because for now, that is the only thing that brings me happiness. P.S. Yesterday I told this boy that I liked him. I really thought he would say it back, he didn't. And I'm really trying not to feel sad about it.
When I was a young girl, I developed the very unhealthy perspective that the way I look is the most important thing about me. My self-worth became entirely wrapped up in how I saw myself physically. I believed that once I was thin my life could start, until then I was just passing time, merely existing in this world but not truly living in it. Of course this is ridiculous and lacks any truth, but for me it felt real. It didn't matter how many people told me I was beautiful, I didn't see and it and therefore it wasn't true. I felt that if I was thin only then would I be beautiful and then everything would fall into place: I would get the boyfriend, the acting job, the confidence and the self-worth. But because I saw myself as overweight and therefore felt I was unattractive, I viewed myself as worthless. I held myself back from so many things, not feeling like I was good enough for any of it. And so I would diet, I think I've been dieting my whole life. But, because I am an addict constantly searching for immediate satisfaction, my diets would border on starvation, that way I could get the fastest results. When I was losing weight I wouldn't hate myself as much. I felt a happiness that couldn't be found in any other part of my life. But with all of that came a sense of shame and sadness from knowing that I was willingly hurting myself. I was split in two. If anyone positively commented on my weight loss, I resented them for it. I wanted to scream at them, "don't you know what I'm doing to myself?! Why wasn't I pretty enough for you before?" But of course they didn't know. And my anger was projected at the wrong person. Recently, after a month long run of starvation, my longest yet, I hit my lowest weight. I stepped on the scale and saw the numbers, and then I cried. I didn't feel any happier. I wasn't any more confident. I didn't feel like I was any more worthy of receiving good things. I had put so much importance on the numbers on a scale and I came to find out that lower numbers don't magically transform my world into something wonderful. I thought losing weight would solve all of my problems, and the truth is, it didn't. Focusing my energy on losing weight gave me a distraction from dealing with the unhealthy parts of myself. It was something tangible I could control where as my mental health is messy and uncertain. If I don't eat and exercise I'll lose weight, that's science. If I go to therapy and work through my issues of low self-worth there's no guarantee that I'm ever going to become a bright shining confident young woman - at least not by a specific date. Focusing on the tangible things in life is much easier then trying to change the things we can't see. And so, that's what I did for years, and I can tell you, it doesn't work. Maybe for a moment or two it will, but it always goes away. Since I abuse alcohol and food in much of the same way, it wasn't until I got sober and learned healthy solutions for dealing with all of the messiness inside me did I start to become happy. It wasn't an immediate happiness, it took a long time and a lot of work without reaping any immediate results, but I kept fighting, and when the happiness came, it lasted much longer then the length of any binge. I don't feel hopeless or unworthy of wonderful things anymore, but I do still struggle with the amount of importance I place on the way I look.
SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
I feel so many things and I don't know how to feel. When unpleasant feelings arise I do everything I can to suppress them so I don't have to feel. It's as if I think the bad feelings will last forever. So I keep running from them. Mostly I feel alone, unwanted, and like my dreams of being an actress are impossible. And I keep waiting for someone to save me. For them to bring excitement and happiness and self-worth into my life. But no one ever comes. And I wish so badly that I could save myself. So here is the plan: I'm going to go binge on Popeyes and television. And then I am going to try desperately to make myself throw it all up. And then I am going to wake up tomorrow and pretend like I mean something. Like my life means something. And I'm going to believe it.
I couldn't even throw up. I can't be bulimic. I'm not even good at self-destructing. I guess starvation and exercise will have to do.
For a long time, I looked to outside circumstances to fix all of the destruction that was going on inside me. If only I had the perfect body then I would be happy. If I had a boyfriend to love me then I wouldn't feel so worthless. If I had my dream job then I wouldn't be so depressed. And the truth of it is that our circumstances don't matter, it's our perception of them that does. If we are relying on outside circumstances to make us happy then we will never be happy. I tried tying my self-worth into people and things and all it did was leave me completely at the submission of someone else. If this boy is treating me well then I was worthy of love. If I was getting praise at my job then I am good enough for this world. But then there is the other side. If a boy is not treating me well then I don't deserve love. If I didn't book the acting job then I am not talented. Eventually I felt like I was worthless and should just crawl in a hole and stop trying. I was stitched with uncertainty and and so I looked to other people to tell me who I was. But the truth is, we simply can't rely on people or things to fix us, we have to fix ourselves. When our perspective is the problem, the things around us don't really matter. Things, people, numbers on a scale won't make us happy until we are happy with ourselves. And that won't happen until we change the way we see the world. It took me a long time to understand this. But I get it now. And I work really hard to make myself full on my own.
Time and time again I would justify a binge with the promise to myself that tomorrow I will act perfectly. Tomorrow I'll wake up early, I won't eat, I'll work out, I won't binge-watch TV, I'll act how the idealized version of myself acts. Unfortunately, eating disorders don't work like that, you can't just wish them away. It was like all the nights I told myself I wan't going to drink, inevitable I always would. I always binged again. Maybe the next day or maybe a week later, but eventually I always would. Alcoholism is a progressive disease, left untreated it gets worse over time. For me, the same has been the case for my eating disorder. Recently for the first time, I successfully purged after a binge. As I sat on my bathroom floor I was flooded with guilt and shame and sadness, all the things I was throwing up not to feel. I had evolved from a binger to a binger and purger. Part of me was working so hard on my sobriety and being the healthiest version of myself, while meanwhile I was diving deeper into my eating disorder. I felt like a contradiction. Making yourself throw up isn't glamourous. It's a messy depiction of a girl who hates herself. And I don't hate myself anymore. I had fallen deeper into self-harm and it scared me. I haven't purged since that night. I've fought too hard to be okay to let myself slip into another addiction. I made the conscious decision to stop before I let myself get lost in one more thing.
MONDAY, APRIL 11, 2016
I've started to go to unhealthy measures to lose weight again. Yesterday I bought diet pills, laxatives and water pills. I know this is the opposite of treating myself with love. That I should focus on putting the right kind of healthy food in my body instead of depriving it and force-feeding it chemicals. I know I can't sustain the hardly eating life style, but I just want to be done with being fat. With being self-conscious. With holding myself back. I don't want to be a prisoner of my looks anymore. And so I'm looking for a quick fix, and well we all know how this turns out. God knows I've been on this cycle for 10 years. I just want to feel pretty. For once, I just want to look in the mirror and not hate what I see. I'm just starting to feel that's never going to happen for me. I've been the over weight girl my whole life. She's the only person I know how to be. But I want to let go of her. I really really do. I want to stop looking to food for happiness. I want to stop needing to escape into it. I feel so uncomfortable before a every binge like I know I'm doing something wrong. If I stop bingeing I won't have to feel that way anymore. I just want to stop actively holding myself back and just go after what I want. I want to start believing I can get it.
I wish this blog had a happy ending. I wish I could tell you that I'm better now and my eating disorder is a thing of the past. But that would be a lie. It's still something I struggle with everyday. I don't have a solution, but what I do know is that if I am focusing on treating myself with love then I am not bingeing or starving. And so if I make that my priority everyday, then my lifestyle will become healthier. The more energy I put into my sobriety and mental health the less I binge because I'm feeling good on life and so I don't need to turn to food to feel that way. So why don't we all make a promise today to treat ourselves with love. I promise to do it if you will.