Tucked away into the deep recesses of my life, I hide a Chamber of Secrets… And in this Chamber, resides a trove of “Stories I Never Tell”.
But as I continue to write. As I continue to open myself up. As I continue to share my life. The more and more I feel compelled to unlock this chamber. And release its contents into the world.
My hope is that by bringing these stories to light, that SOMEONE, somehow, in some way... will find help. Will find answers. Will find solace. Will find peace...
So, here’s the story
By now... Most of you who know me or have read this blog in the past, know of my crazy “weight loss” story and my ensuing journey to health.
But did you know that I was “successful” in losing a significant amount of weight one other time before this?
The year was 1989. My last year in college... It was a tough year for me in a lot of different ways, but if memory serves, I think I was reasonably happy overall during that time??? But that happiness quickly eroded as one particular area of my life started to take over. That area was my weight and physical appearance… Throughout my college years, I had steadily and continuously put on weight. Each pound an anchor around my neck. Until eventually, I had reached my heaviest weight at the time of 215 pounds...
In that same year, I remember needing to take a new picture for my Driver’s License. I smiled as I stood in front of the camera that day, but when I finally received my license in the mail, I was no longer smiling. No longer happy… The person in the photo wasn’t me. This person was a stranger. And more importantly, the person in the picture was not who I wanted to be going forward.
So as anyone would do, I started to diet. With the goal of losing weight…quickly.
Fast forward to 6 months later… I was SUCCESSFUL! I was able to lose 50 pounds total, going from 215 down to a normal weight of 165!
YAY!!! HIGH FIVE!!! GOOD JOB!!!
But do you know how I did it? Do you know how I achieved my Stunning Success?
My memory is a little bit hazy, but I was probably Bulimic all the way from 1988 to sometime in 1993.
For people who don’t know anything about Bulimia. Let me break down what that term specifically means for me:
For almost every meal I ate during that time period… Within 30 minutes after ingesting my meal, I would find an excuse. I would find a hiding place. And force myself to throw up the contents of my stomach fully and completely until I was satisfied…
Yeah… I understand what you might be asking yourself right now, “Kyle... WHY? Why would you do such a thing?”
The only answer I can really give you is that... I was tired. I was so beat up and battered from all the constant self loathing that my only thoughts were, “I WANT IT TO STOP.” “I JUST NEED IT TO STOP.”
If you ever have a chance to talk to any addict of any substance, they will often tell you the same thing. That they don’t drink alcohol or do drugs to chase a specific “High”. They self medicate to “Make it stop... Make the pain go away. If just for a moment.” Such was my life too...
The next question being, “Why Bulimia? Why not other methods or even other eating disorders?”
The short answer is... Bulimia worked.
Also, Bulimia offered me one benefit that the other eating disorders could not… Bulimia offered me “The Appearance of Normalcy”.
For when you are doing something in the shadows. You are always on your guard and have to be constantly vigilant for fear of being caught. Trust me. I tried good old fashioned starvation… But when you don’t eat. When you push away your plate at the dinner table... The questions come. The disapproving frowns and the “Holier than thou” judgments come… But with Bulimia, I could safely maintain the appearance of eating “normally” with friends and family. And I could present to the world that “I’m fine. There’s nothing to see here.”
But I wasn’t fine.
Soon after sitting down to enjoy our “nice meal together,” I would smile to your face, pull away, then retreat to my own personal slice of Hell... Always handling my business in the shadows. You were none the wiser. It’s probably better if you don’t know anyways...
My life became a “dangerous game”. Every meal eaten had to have a well thought out game plan and exit strategy. Every meal was accompanied with a convenient lie to excuse myself for 10 minutes as I puked my guts out. Over the years, I have thrown up in toilets, trash cans, yards, streets, and flower beds. I even kept a stash of plastic bags in my car for the specific purpose of throwing up “on the go.”
I could easily take you down into the mind of a Bulimic. And explain to you the sheer amount of effort involved in outsmarting everyone you love. But, if I can share one insight with you, it isn’t really about the food. And maybe, it’s not even about your feelings of inadequacy or the lack of self worth, though that’s certainly a part of it.
The realization that I came to is... It’s really all about the guilt.
When I threw up. I wasn’t throwing up food. I was throwing up all the guilt and shame I felt for eating food in the first place... Every bite was shameful. Every bite an indictment on my flagging and nonexistent willpower.
After every meal, the guilt would come for me. And I needed to get rid of that guilt as fast as I could. In the only way I know how...
Bulimia like any addiction, becomes a cycle of shame, dragging you further and deeper than you could ever imagine. To think that I told lies to everyone close to me every day for a period of 3-4 years is unthinkable to me now.
Not to mention Bulimia’s other costs… Bulimia essentially destroyed my health for years to come. My metabolism wrecked. My esophagus shredded by the constant bile and acid it had to endure. The enamel on my teeth stripped away. The four front teeth I have? FAKE… All of them crowns. I had damaged my teeth so severely that they became pitted and rotten.
Looking back, I really can’t say what pulled me out of that pit of despair... If I had pearls of wisdom to drop on you, I would certainly drop them here.
But I got nothing…
I got nothing but LOVE, COMPASSION, and EMPATHY for anyone who has gone through what I have. All I can offer from here, is a HEART, an EAR, a SHOULDER for anyone trapped in a similar cage.
I tell this tale not for me… I tell it for anyone out there, who is currently dwelling in that bitter place.
If this resonates with you at all… Just know that I have walked in these shoes. I know this place. And I know it well...
Do you see my hand? It is outstretched to you… Reach out and take it. For you are worthy. You are loved so much more than you think you are.
I know right now that you only see 4 walls and no doors. But if I can find a way out of that Escape Room. You can too…
FIND ME. And hopefully. We can find our way together...
#bulimia #eatingdisorder #health
#bulimia #eatingdisorder #health