I had a very personal, painful realization as I was stuffing my face with mac’ n cheese last night. I didn’t stop eating until I felt my stomach protest from the expansion and fullness; even then, I didn’t want to stop. It’s the only thing I “felt” since last Friday. This is not good self-care practice. It is, however, a good awakening.
I work in Social Services. I’m aware of the “self-harm” phenomenon, I just could never get my mind around it. “How can someone willingly cut themselves to ‘release pain’ and ‘feel alive, to feel something'”? I have been really critical in my way of thinking towards this. Having come from an abusive past, I could never fathom openly harming myself until I bleed.
As I was sitting on my couch, “shoveling” food into my face, feeling the effects of it expanding my stomach to the point of pain, I strongly realized I am no different. You can’t see my self-harm scars in forms of angry red scars on my skin. Nope. You see it in my weight.
I am morbidly obese; those who read this know this.
I am a health risk; those who know me personally know this.
But, I realized, I don’t eat enough on a day to day basis. I’ve been told time and again by family and friends, “You eat like a bird.” I’ve heard from nutritionists who put me on a caloric intake diet, that I’m not meeting my daily needs by about 200-500 calories a day. This is true. I’ve tracked it with myfitnesspal. I have seen it, black and white, that I’m lacking caloric intake. But, I shrug my shoulders. In a sense, I don’t care. Food is just not a thing for me. When I do eat, or even think about eating, I tend to do a lot of nibbling/grazing. (Which I’ve been told is healthier, but eh..)
On the other hand, when something emotionally charged triggers my C-PTSD, the only thing I can control is my food. Hell, I can’t even control my thoughts until well after gorging. It’s become somewhat of a rebellious act, since my teen years. I heard, “You’re too fat to do that” or “Lose weight and conform” so much in my youth through puberty, I went the route of “Fuck you, I’m going to eat anything I want, and how much I want!”
My sister, whom I love dearly, took it the other route. She has an eating disorder binge / purge. We both are self-harming, but not in the obvious ways we hear about. Over eating should really be looked at as a self-harm, just as cutting is.
So, here I am. Fully aware of my obesity. My mortality. My mental illness. And now, fully aware that I cater to that demon that lives inside me that said, “You only have control of this in your life.” I thought I had exorcised my demons that last few years of therapy. I thought they were shoved back down to the black murky hell they emerged from.
I’m now learning that there will always be one that shows itself when least expected.
Where do I go from here? I’m really at a loss with this reality. I want to fight this like a warrior. I want to show that I can grow through this. Where do I start?