I sit at my desk at the corner of vulnerability and exasperation. This year as everyone starts their weight loss resolution, I start a resolution to have a healthy relationship with food.
You see I’m a binge eater. While I put on a smiling face in public and seem to have my life somewhat together, I’m powerless to food and struggled since I was around nine years old. I’m telling my story to be free of the shame and guilt, but also to let other binge eaters know you’re not alone.
I remember when I was a kid I would consume HUGE amounts of food in secret. I would hide wrappers and trash throughout the house; in corners…behind our washing machine…in closets. Food would disappear in the house. I would lie and tell my mother my sister ate it. Mom thought my sister had a tapeworm for years.
I would go to my mother’s office and her co-worker always had candy at her desk. I would disappear repeatedly throughout my time there and run to the bathroom…sit on the toilet and inhale the chocolates and candy from her desk. Drinking loads of water to mask the smell and rinse the candy from between my teeth. Like a drug. Jonesing. Getting a fix.
You see even though I was surrounded by friends and family, I felt alone empty. I felt guilt. Yes at nine I felt guilt. Maybe we’ll discuss that at some other time. But food was my friend. It didn’t judge me and it was always there.
Now at 38, I still binge. While you’re hanging with friends, I’m at home consuming 1,000s of calories in one sitting. I think about it on my drive home. Like a drug. Jonesing. Waiting for my fix. When I binge, I blackout. I forget what I’ve eaten and eat until I’m sick. I hide my special treats and episodes from my boyfriend. It’s easy. He works nights; it provides me with lots of idle time.
I beat myself up afterwards and pray to God to help me stop. I always vow tomorrow I’ll start that healthy diet. Start crash diets. Kick the secret habit. I’ve gone to therapy and read self-help books; it’s help and curved my episodes but every now and again I find myself in secret eating my feelings and hiding.
I’ve recently realized I’m tired of disease. Yes, binge eating is an addiction. Addiction is a disease. It took me a long time to realize and accept those facts. Binge eating is something that won’t be healed by dieting or surgery. So I’m done hopping on the diet bandwagon. I’m going to put one foot in front of the other, conquer my addiction and deal with my feelings.
To those out there who ready my story and can relate, just know you’re not alone. There are many of us hiding in the shadows or in plain sight with smiles on our faces while crying inside. Feel free to get help. Feel free to work on yourself. Feel free to acknowledge what you’re going through.
In coming post, I will touch on my journey, share other’s stories and offer support to those who want it. Just remember you’re not alone, it’s going to be okay and get happy…like a drug. Jonesing.
Janelle Cissell is an editor and resident contributor to Ruby Leonne. To contact Janelle, email her at rubyleonneauthors (at) gmail (dot) com.