Addiction: the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, … to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. 21 days to form a habit that will either change the course of your life or break you. Needless to say that if you’ve been reading my posts you know that a majority of my “habits” have indeed broke me. My problem wasn’t in forming the habit, the problem was in believing that I was in control of what I was doing. I truly did believe that. Once you start believing you’re in control of your addictions is when you realize the addiction has taken over your life. That was always my problem. I could lie to everyone about how I was feeling, what I was doing, but I couldn’t lie to myself. In the course of 20 years I’ve managed to form these addictions with out anyone knowing. When I mean anyone, I truly mean everyone. I’ve always been so self consumed in helping everyone else but I never took a focus to any of my own. Maybe that’s why all of this is hard to say. Hard to show people that this was who I was hiding from the world. My addictions did nothing but leave me heartbroken, alone, and completely miserable. One day you snap and just can’t hold it in anymore. The point of these posts isn’t to gain any sort of sympathy. This is just my way of truly being brutally honest with my feelings and showing people that no matter how many times I said I was “OK”, I wasn’t.
It’s weird to say that. I’m an addict. An addict. Addiction is a funny word and everyone is an expert. People expect you to wake up one day needing help. It’s not easy admitting you have a problem. Somewhere inside you believe you have everything under control. This grand notion of getting help and once you finally admit you have a problem and everything will be okay. Everything you feel will automatically turn off and you’ll be everyone’s perception of “okay”. I wish it were that easy. Just some huge on/off switch that can turn off everything you’re feeling. It doesn’t work that way. Every day is another struggle and only people who have dealt with addiction can truly understand that. My flaw in my genetic makeup is being unable to tell people I am hurting. Somewhere in my mind believing if I told people what I was doing was showing a form of weakness. I knew everything I was doing was wrong for me. Everything was bad and hurting everything inside of me, I just couldn’t stop. I had everything under control, I knew the consequences for my actions but I just couldn’t stop myself. These addictions I had were the only things in my life I had control over.
For most of my life I’ve had a problem with food. It sounds silly to even say that. Of course any one can have problems with food, I just knew my problems were different from most. My weight has always been a problem in my life. As much as I want to say I have never obsessed over my weight, I have. I’m human. I’m female, I’ve always obsessed over my weight. It wasn’t until I started truly obsessing over food was when I realized I had a problem. Food was my escape. Eating was my only way of truly expressing how I felt. The more food I ate, the less I dealt with my emotions. If I wanted to scream out my frustrations, I ate. If I wanted to suppress my sadness, I ate. I was eating my way through every single human emotions because it was better than saying how I truly felt. I was unhappy with my surroundings, my social circle of friends were rotten and instead of changing it, I ate. When my weight ballooned drastically, I became more unhappy with myself. Instead of anyone asking what was wrong; I was mocked, ridiculed and continuously bullied about my weight. When you’re hurting you tend to build a shell around yourself and expect everything to go away. I made up this strong façade and continuously showed people that I didn’t care. It was all just one big huge joke and I again allowed myself to be the punching bag for stupid jokes. I didn’t know any better. I was young, I was stupid, and because of it I just grew more upset. Everything I was doing was wrong and I was absolutely more miserable than before. When you feel rotten you will do just about anything to make yourself feel anything. I was miserable. Absolutely miserable. All I could do was become more self destructive. When I started cutting, I told myself it was a one time thing. Just to take the pressure off of how I felt. I was dealing with so much bullshit because of work, school, friends and my only escape was to cut. It started just a few small slices on my wrist and progressed to running up and down my forearms. I didn’t hide them. I knew people could see them and no one said anything. People assume because you cut, you want to die. I didn’t want to die, cutting was just the only thing in my life I could control. I didn’t cut every day just every time I felt pressure or suffocated, I’d cut myself. So much went on in that time period of my life that I truly believed I wasn’t doing anything wrong. It was my only escape from the harsh realities of my life. Once again I truly believed I was fine.
Around the time that I moved back from my countless attempts of being away from home I started being proactive about my “wellbeing”. I had heard about these miracle diet pills and decided I was going to start being proactive about my weight. You always hear about these success stories of over weight people taking a pill a day and magically all their weight disappears in the manner of weeks. Of course desperate to lose this massive weight gain, I bought every pill you can think of. Hydroxycut? Tried it. Xenical? Done it. Alli? Done it. Green tea extract, Raspberry Ketones, trust me I’ve done it. It wasn’t until I started taking a metabolism booster pill that I started to really notice I was losing weight. Within a few weeks I dropped 10 pounds. I was being active, eating better and before I knew it I lost another 15 pounds. Its amazing how much attention you get once you start losing weight. People were so focused on my weight loss that they didn’t bother asking me how I was feeling. It became just another thing to talk about. This grand weight loss was showing people that I was okay. Once I started getting attention for my weight loss I became obsessed with it. I started counting calories, eating less and if I over ate, I skipped a meal. The pills helped curb the appetite so it was easy to skip meals when I needed to. When I lost my job the second time, it was hard to afford the pills that were helping me lose the weight. Like all great things these miracle pills were anything but a miracle. I was grouchy, light headed, and once I stopped taking the miracle pills I started gaining the weight. Everyone that applauded me for the weight loss were the same people to point out my weight gain. I grew paranoid and started another series of self destruction. Because I couldn’t afford my miracle pills I started taking laxatives to take off the bloat. On top of everything I started all over again with the self mutilation. I was so upset about gaining the weight that I punished myself for letting myself go. It’s amazing what your mind does when it wants something bad enough. Before I knew it, it was one big obsession. When I started vomiting my food it was my secret. It was just something I did when I felt I was overeating too much. Before I knew it I stopped needing the miracle pills. Vomiting helped elevate my weight. It didn’t help me lose any weight it just control my body to the weight I had at the moment. When I say it was an obsession, it truly was an obsession. Before I knew it I was leaving places earlier to go home to vomit. Leaving parties early not because I was tired but because I didn’t want anyone to knew I was throwing up my food. I became obsessed with people noticing my weightless that I didn’t care about how I went about it. I stopped cutting because it became too much to handle and it was no longer something that I found comfort in. The days I would eat I would throw up everything. It was this never ending cycle that just continued to get worse.
The saddest part about all of this was I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. Honestly I didn’t want to. I was fine. I was in complete control of everything. No matter what I was doing, I knew every single detail of what I was doing to myself. I did everything in my power to hide what was going on. Nobody knew, honestly to this day up until this moment I never told anyone. Sure I made a few jokes at the expense of my emotions but nobody knew anything about what was going on. I kept this cycle of self destruction for years until my insides bled and my arms grew sore. It wasn’t anyone’s business but my own. As I was once told “one day people aren’t going to be there for you”, so I kept everything to myself. When you feel alone, you act alone. So I kept quiet dealing with everything that went on because it was no one’s business but my own. It stayed that way until I knew I needed help. It wasn’t until I found myself in the parking garage of my apartment complex completely broken down that I knew I needed help. I was ruining my relationships with everyone all for the sake of being someone else’s perception of perfection. I was hungry, miserable, and worst of all I felt alone. For years I was in constant fear of food. The food that I once considered comfort from every emotion soon became my enemy. I didn’t know any better than what I was doing, I just knew that the longer I hid my problems the worse it would get. I refused to see the light on so many occasions. I refused to believe that I had a problems, that things I was doing was obsessive and that I was truly hurting myself. Worst of all my relationships with people suffered. It wasn’t until I was alone crying in a parking lot that I knew something had to change. It was then I finally realized that I wasn’t okay. I was lying to everyone and I couldn’t do that anymore.
Recovery is a tricky thing. What they don’t show you is how many times you fall until you can truly heal. For years I struggled with my addictions because they were just that MY addictions. It wasn’t anyone’s business but my own. It wasn’t anyone’s fault but my own. The reality of it all was this cycle continued because no matter how many times people tell you they will be there for you, they will constantly let you down. For years I kept my struggles silent because time again the wrong people allowed me to believe that everything in my life was wrong. So I stayed stuck in this cycle of self destruction because that was my cards that were dealt for me. That was my karma returning for the countless years I was a bad person.
I was wrong.
You know they say that when you finally grow up, you’re able to heal from your old ways. That’s just what I did. I wish I could say that I woke up and everything disappeared. That I could hold meals down and I wasn’t obsessed with this notion of being perfect. Its not easy. It’s hard and some days are harder than most. That’s just the thing, I get up, face the world and know that I am better than all this bullshit. Better than my past, better than my failures and maybe one day I’ll be better than my addictions. Just right now I have to be honest. Honest with people, honest with my peers and honest with myself. It’s only when I’m truly brutally honest that I can finally be ok. It’s been a hard couple of years but I know like all great comeback stories, I have the ability to bounce back from this. I will eventually rise from the ashes and feel okay again. I may not know when but I knew eventually I will feel better, I will feel whole. Every day is just another day to turn my life around. Good or bad, I have to accept that I will never be everyone’s perception of perfection. I just have to be able to be proud of the person I am and who I will become. Only then will I ever truly be happy.
In a way this is me saying, I’m going to be OK.