Monday, February 8, 2010

Wheres the food

Last Year I started college for the first time and I took an english 090 class. I had to do a cultural lens essay about something in my life and this is my submission. Please be aware that this is the FIRST essay I had written in 12 years so the grammar is hideous. I plan on re-writing it this summer. I thought maybe this would give everyone some insight to my past.

Where’s the food?

I spend the majority of my time either thinking about food or eating it and purging it. This has been my life for the last four and a half years. There are a few key factors that have lead to this crazy obsessive behavior. Behavior that I would compare to that of a drug addict. My thoughts of when I am going to binge again. The meticulous planning of my schedule to include adequate time for my daily rituals of stuffing my stomach so full that I am in pain then going into the bathroom and forcing all the food out of my stomach till it feels as empty as my heart and soul. Sometimes this might include going through drive thru and ordering twenty dollars of whatever looks good on the menu. I might just stay in and eat a whole package of bagels, three or four boxes of cereal and top it all off with a whole package of cookies with milk. Eating Disorder, that is what it is called! I never thought this would be me. That my depression and low sense of self worth would lead me to this obsessive behavior of what the number says on my scale every morning. I can pin point about three periods of time in my life that have pushed me to this extreme life I now lead. Living in Las Vegas and raising my sisters two small children, moving back to Grand Junction to be the care giver for my dying grandmother, and becoming a mother myself.

I was seventeen when I left to live with my sister in Las Vegas. I got a great paying job almost immediately. I held onto it for about six months until I abruptly quit. While at this job I met my boyfriend who was quite charming at the time. After work I would come home and take care of my sister’s two small children. She had decided that going out drinking, gambling and cheating on her husband were far more important too her then raising her children. Even though I worked forty hours a week and then came home to take care of her children, I was still made to buy groceries for the household, pay rent, and whatever else she could come up with until my check was depleted. After growing tired of this I decided it was time to move out. I was scared but I knew I couldn’t do this anymore. I went home and told my sister that Rudy and I had decided to move in together.

My sister always complained about her kids wanting me and calling me mom that I thought she would be happy I was moving out. Well, I thought wrong. In a fit of rage she began to grab my belongings and throw them down the stairs. Yelling and telling me what a bad person I was for using her. Getting into my face, spit flying everywhere as she continued to scream at me. Her children are in the back ground crying and scared, unsure of what is going on. I managed to get all my stuff outside the door as she pushed me and told me to never come back. I waited outside for Rudy to show up. I was thankful. We lived together for about three months. In those three months I had dealt with even more abuse. Getting spit on, slapped, verbally assaulted and being held against my will. I felt more alone then I could stand. So I called my father and had him come and get me. I ended up moving back to Vegas again a few months later only to experience a déjà vu occurrence that resulted in a scared 18 year old girl sleeping at a Keno game in some random hotel off of the Freemont Experience. I only stayed a few weeks later when I was told that my grand mother was dying and getting moved to Grand Junction. This started the next section of heart ache in my life.

You could smell the cancer the minute you walked into the house. She was 63 and looked like she had lived for a century. Unable to walk, her thoughts are scattered, unsure of where she is. It is 3am and I hear yelling. Annoyed I get up from my bed and make my way across the trailer to the living room and say, “What Grandma? I was sleeping!” “What are you doing?”, she asked. “I said I was sleeping” I yelled as I went back to my room rolling my eyes. I had been living with her for two months at this point. I was the one wiping her butt, bathing her, feeding her. I never got any help from my family. Her condition continued worsening right before my eyes. I am nineteen, scared, alone, untrained, and I am afraid I am going to go out in the living room and find that she had passed on. My aunts and uncles had gotten word of her worsening condition and decided to make a trip down here. In rage they accused the doctor of not doing her job. They accuse me of trying to kill her. The doctor and I are in the kitchen crying and scared to even open our mouths. At this point there is nothing they can do and so they leave the house just as fast as they had arrived. For a brief moment in time, the air and water stood still.

I was sleeping when I heard a knock at the door. It was my aunt and uncle. They have requested to spend some time alone with my grandmother and would appreciate it if I left. Out of respect I got up, shower and head out to my fathers for the day. Expecting us to hear from them, hours pass and nothing. We load up and head over just knowing something isn’t right. When we arrived the house was completely ransacked. They had rented a truck and were taking my grand mother back to Denver. My grand mother was not really able to understand what was going on and had signed over her legal Power of Attorney to my aunt. My room had been gone through from top to bottom. My belongings gone through and taken if they so pleased and my grand mother, stolen. I was left feeling lost, beaten and destroyed. She died three months later in my aunt’s basement. She was left alone most of her final weeks. My aunt decided to file criminal charges against me. So low and depressed, my boyfriend moved down from Pennsylvania to help me.

Two years have passed. I am now a mother. My boyfriend and I live together. I went from working and feeling self reliant to becoming completely dependent on him and being stuck at home alone with a baby. I have become depressed and to help bear with it I turned to food. I began to binge on bags on candy, whole pizzas, bowls of cereal, etc… All while I watched my weight steadily incline. By the time it was all said and done I had reached an astonishing 280lbs by my sons second birthday.

One day, and I am not sure why, I decided to stop. I joined a weight loss program and for the next nine months I did everything the right way. I had lost 100lbs eating right and exercising. But why was I still unhappy? I knew I was tired of watching my husband and friends eat whatever they want while I sat there counting points and calories.

I remember the exact moment I became bulimic. I had just finished over eating food we ordered from a Chinese place. I was scared that I had eaten too much and was going to get fat. If I put weight on then people will think I failed. I remembered a neighbor talking to me about a problem she had with throwing up her food. At that moment it dawned on me. I could go try this! If it doesn’t work it is no big deal. So I went into the bathroom, leaned over the toilet and tried to throw up my food. Success! I was excited. I had found the cure to my unhappiness. I could eat whatever I wanted and not worry about getting fat because I had figured out how to make it all go away. In fact, it was helping me to lose weight! At first I only did it once or twice a week. Like with any drug, alcohol or substance abuse problem it only got worse.

Here I sit, ashamed that it is now four years later and I am still addicted. Every meal turns into a binge and purge session and I am now scared to even eat because it will just start the vicious cycle all over again. I am unable to stop, scared of becoming morbidly obese again. I have lost all feelings of self worth. I still feel lost, beaten and destroyed. My life in Las Vegas has made me feel worthless. My ex boyfriend had made me feel small and insignificant and my sister had taken my freedom. My grandma’s passing has left doubt in my mind, if I had contributed to her death. Did I really have her best interest at heart? What follows are feelings of self doubt in becoming a parent and if it was a life I wanted. All of this has lead me to this eating disorder. I hope to one day wake up and be cured of this. Too find happiness inside of myself. That One day I may re write such an essay about my cultural lens and what shapes me, but it will be filled with joys and moments of happiness. That I will no longer be obsessed with the question, Where’s the food?.

If you made it this far, thank you for reading. :)


Me said...

Time to forgive, my love... forgive her, forgive him, forgive them, forgive yourself. You did nothing wrong. You are a loving person and life happened to you. You didn't ask for this. Thank you for opening up a piece of your soul.

katyainsf said...

I am amazed at the amount of strength you have within you. I am amazed at all that you had to deal with in life and the fact that all you got out of it was an ED. It could have been much worse considering the load you had to carry. Your life is in YOUR hands dear. I suffered with this (even up until three months ago) to such a degree that I considered ending my life practically every day because of the despair I was feeling. I felt that life would never get better and that I'm some kind of feral animal, not a human being. But one day, I got up and decided that no one (no treatment team etc) can help me get rid of ED unless I give recovery 1000%. Unless I make conscious steps towards getting over this addiction. Unless I sit through urges and make the choice to call someone and talk rather than b/p. Things won't get better unless YOU decide you want to start living again. But YOU must make that decision and until you do, ED will continue tormenting you. It's scary, it's difficult, it'll be painful to deal with your feelings BUT it's completely worth it in the end! Tell your boyfriend to watch you. Ask for help. Don't isolate yourself with ED. You had the incredible strength to deal with all that you mentioned in your essay - face your memories, face your past, forgive yourself, you were young and an easy target (that's right - target). None of those things were your fault. You took the best care that you could of your grandmother - it was the cancer that killed her, not you. You had NO control over it - don't make this about yourself. Celebrate her life, remember the good times you shared, accept her fate and move on. You had nothing to do with the abuse you had to deal with. NOTHING. Face these feelings, and let the past be the past. The future is still out there and it doesn't have to be dark and isolated. It's in your hands and I KNOW you can do it. ;-)



Sairs said...

You have certainly had it tough and it is good that you can write it down because in doing that, I think it starts the healing process. It is so hard. Although I don't suffer from bulimia, I have an eating disorder too. I am currently trying so hard to recover and it is a daily battle and it's certainly not easy. It took me nearly 5 years to get this eating disorder, so now I have to learn a whole new way of doing things and treating myself better. We are both more than the number on our scale, though I know that number can set you up for a bad or good day. Just know that you are not alone and I hope you can start to heal now.

Eating Alone said...

Wow lot's of life suckage there. Just rememeber that you didn't ask for any of it! Nor do you deserve it!

They say that you can't pick family but you can. If they treat you like crap write them off. You don't deserve it. You deserve to be happy and safe and nice. If someone spit's at you just turn and walk away (Ok I so want to tell you to kick them but that's not a good thing).

You have to find a way to value yourself as you. You can do that and should. You are a great you. The you that could be you is you.

Heck you were thrown into some really crappy situations and that doesn't make you bad. It makes those that abused and took advatage of you as bad.

lisalisa said...

wow, you have really been through alot. It sounds like in your life people have used you and generally walked all over you, and you turned to food as a comfort. Sometimes I think of our EDs as a way we nurture ourselves, but in a sick way. We need to find healthy ways to soothe and nurture ourselves and deal with the pain.
I wish you had insurance for counselling. There is so much hurt, abuse, and betrayal in this essay alone, I am amazed that you are doing as well as you are. I think you are a really strong person to be alive and kicking despite everything you have been through.
Do you live in a big city? Maybe there are free support groups in your area? Or community mental health?
Thank you for sharing this essay.

Lost in Obsession said...

Thank you everyone for your words of encouragement. I am certain that I should be going and talking with someone, mostly about my grandmother, but I know that all the other crap I have (for the most part) moved on from. Last year when I wrote this essay I was really hurting inside. I know that these 3 things aren't the only thing that has caused me to mistreat myself, but I just felt like sharing more then my thoughts of my ed, but really share an intimate piece of my history. Thank you all for reading it, I am surprised. :)