My Journey out of this Prison of Fat
Monday, February 18, 2008
Well I really can't say I ever done a blog before but it looks like its just about saying what you got to say about something and oh what a story there is behind that prison of fat. Don't know if there is a wrong or right way to do this but I figure start from where I believe it all started going South and maybe something will help myself or someone else to unlock the mystery that plagued me with this horrible disease that forces you to live life locked in a prison of fat watching life happen from a distance and trying to figure out why most everyone that sees you automatically gives you that look like you make them sick to have to look at you yet they can't quit staring. Studies have showed that even most in the medical profession are prejudice against the obese and believe me when you get in my category and are classified as super morbid obese its even worse. The problem honestly I believe is that I must figure how to love myself to fix myself and I haven't figured how to really love something like this all though I know I should I just can't find that unconditional love I need within myself. Well enough of that for now all though I reserve the right to slip into pity part mode at anytime during this process which will most likely be a long and several part series of posts, blogs or what ever one may want to call it. I truly don't know much at all about my early childhood as I have blocked out all but brief moments of it. What I do remember crystal clear is when the police came to the door in March of 1967 in Ohio and told us my Dad had died of a massive heart attack. Not that it really matters but he was on the way back from a doctors visit and stopped at a red light and killed over never to return. He was 40 years old and a heavy smoker and a heavy alcoholic which led to his checking out of the game so early. I was the oldest of four boys I honestly believe this is the start of a lot of parental and other mistakes that helped along with some physical problems to start the construction of the prison I live within. At my heaviest recorded weight I was 978 pounds and I am now checking in as of last Tuesday at 742 so I guess progress is being made but what a far cry from being free. Well anyway back to the story that is my life. They buried my Dad in West Virginia with a mountain full of other family members mostly males that died at a young age like early 40's of course my mom decided I was too young to attnd so I never got that closer along with many other things. My grand parents had came from Atlanta and traveled back with us four children in what to this day ranks as the worst ride in my life as we all four were car sick and I believe vomited every 3 or 4 miles the whole trip but we lived for better or worse. Mom got done with the funeral and met up with us after a week or so and we got and apartment and life goes on with a couple of real bad twists that I honestly believe is the root of all the rest of my mess I made in life. The first and probably the most damaging was moms ideal that the death of my father and all the other Perrine males in my family at 40 or so was due to a curse which she even named the Perrine curse. The curse of course was alcohol and tobacco and weak livers but when mama tells you different you believe and to complicate matters sweets makes anything better and mama comforted my loss with lots of junk foods of all kinds and I found comfort in food oh how I found comfort. It didn't last though and of course i would do it again to bring it back again. I eat all my junk and most of my brothers as they didn't seem to be drew to it as much as I was. This was compounded by the fact that I actually had went into some sort of shock or trance when my dad died and set staring out the windows and had to repeat first grade. Mom give me my way and was creating a little monster that was one hundred percent fueled on sugar and junk food. This was the trend until about nine months later when she ran up with a man she had dated in high school and ended up and is still my step dad. At this time my life got flipped upside down again with some very hard discipline being introduced into the picture maybe for all the right reasons but for sure mostly in the wrong ways. I had of course developed quite the need for my comfort foods by then and without reason or structure they were mostly snatched away from me with severe punishment when I would sneak and find something to sneak into searching for that comfort. When I say severe punishment maybe I should paint a little better picture. Some punishments included taking things like chocolate cupcakes and filling them with snuff and making me eat them and me getting so sick drunk I couldn't stand up. Snuff and tobacco were common discipline tools along with whippings were also on the menu often many times with a hickory or peach switch that left blood stripped legs. There was also of course the chain on the refrigerator and locked pantry. The strange thing was we were always promised we would never go hungry and encouraged to eat at meals and offered 2nd's and even 3rd's which I took them up on still hunting that feeling of comfort. We were poor of course and most meals consisted of beans, rice or pasta and cornbread so plenty of potential for extra weight gain there without any intervention whatsoever. Just in case this was not enough to mix up a recipe for disaster dad was a strong believer in chores and this to was way beyond what was needed to teach values. I started doing much of the housework, yard work and was placed with the burden of way to much responsibility for looking after my younger siblings and washing buckets of diapers out. This all started at the age of 8 and continued to increase with age and with more siblings including my brother and sister mom and dad had the next two years and his son coming to live in the home also. Yes count them seven of us and mom and dad and me the oldest was expected to handle most of the load. Well needless to say this brings back many very painful memories that hurt badly and throw salt in some really deep wounds so I am taking a break for now but will post and continue this true story that is my life at a later date. 2/19/08 well when we last wrote we had came to the age of about 8 and briefly described some of the issues and discipline ideals that was facing me after losing my father at six and finding and losing free access to junk foods and sweets all within little more than a year or so. As you can imagine I was heavy even at such a young age but no one worried about it because fat kids are cut and pudgy when they are young and everyone finds humor in it and continues to fatten them right on up with all the wrong foods and no type of structured exercise other than a world of chores that includes dish washing, sweeping, mopping, scrubbing floors and yard work topped off with taking care of siblings, washing clothes and a world of other responsibilities that a child that old is not ready for. This continues with all types of switching and good belt whipping for all the rebellion and for many childhood mischief and mistakes that should not have been handled with punishment. Some examples include" and I do apologize in advance for the graphics but I promise it is true as bad as I wish it was not" When we had a bowel movement and forgot the flush the toilet we were forced to sit around it and squish the feces together with our hands for what seemed like hours and this happened each time one of us may have forgotten and there was seven of us in all at different stages so this was a ritual pretty regular around our house. I seemed to live a grown life with none of the rewards so I decided to try smoking and things like that by the age of about 11 and when I got caught I was forced to eat a whole pack of snuff, tobacco and smoke half of a 3 or four year old cigar and eat the other half. This was quite and experience me and my brother shared and of course we had a party out of it as we were on the back porch and some of the family members and a couple neighbors were more then welcome to watch to boys that thought they were grown throw up all over themselves and wobble around the yard drunk and fall down over and over. As I write this tears stream down my face as it does every time I think about it and I ask myself will I ever heal from these wounds. I sob and tell myself I must somehow and I truly don't know how. This a couple of the many stories that I have including the fact we were basically know as the family from the wrong side of the tracks to put in nicely or trash to put it not so nice. We seemed to move every few months and I know we probably all had light and other utility bills with every company within a two hundred miles of Atlanta before moving to south Ga and continuing the pattern at the age of about 11 which at that time I was probably morbid obese with a weight of about 275. Rather facing all this again and sharing it with the world is good or bad I truly don't know but what I do know is that it is very painful and must be done in segments and the pain for one day is enough so I will continue this journey at different time on another day.
2/21/08 The bring the pain to the light continues.
Well I took a day or so away from the keyboard to deal with and accept the fact that even though I knew it was there deep inside the pain is real and bringing it to the surface it a very painful step to take. Why or how I am making it public I have no ideal when I didn't even speak to my bride of 30 years about it till we were married for over 10 years. I know I am trying to heal, but I think even more I am hoping and praying that in someway the Lord will use my story to help others or at least one person maybe it my eyes then all of it will have been for something I really don't know all though I wish I did. Well on with the drama I guess and enough with the suspense. I was at the age of about 11 when I stopped stroking the keys and sobbing the last entry, but sense then much has surfaced and I must go back and discuss and deal with another very large and painful part of my childhood that started very young and went all the way into my early teen years.
The time has come to make a painful and embarrassing confession of something that must have been a horrible thing and the news is myself and my brother one year younger than me were chronic bed wetters. Why I am still ashamed I don't know I am armed now with knowledge that it is common and there is medical reasons for most including small bladders. My parents of course armed with the backing of an old country doctor that after having us urinate in a cup and declaring our kidneys were fine informed them we were just to lazy decided to go on a quest to find the proper punishment to fix our laziness. There was the whippings of course that went with all the punishments but truly they were bearable other than when the switches were used that brought the big stripes and bloody legs that burned and hurt so bad. Yea that was the easy end of the punishment the nightmares was all the other clever ideals Dad come up with to break us up from what he said was being to damn lazy to get up and go to the bath room. Oh how hard we pleaded and begged and tried to make him understand we were asleep and was unaware when it happened. We were kids though and to be seen and not heard so all the begging fell on deaf ears as did all the discussions and ideals we ever had. So get over it Rick just how bad could the punishment have been well lets see where do I start.
There was the chore of dragging our mattress out to dry and air but no big deal. We also had to scrub our bed clothes and the sheets and everything on the rub board with the wash tub even on the days it was freezing outside of course mom had a washing machine but this was for punishment for being lazy. The worst though without a doubt was the dress up stage at ages of 9 and up even we were put in diapers and given a bottle and forced to parade around the house and even yard at times. Oh lord how this hurts to admit and write down. Oh and what good is playing dress up without a photo session to go with it and we had the polaroid so no one had to wait to see us parading in our diaper and sporting our bottles around. My parents always were the entertainers so never pass the chance to the show off the photos and get everyone else laughing. Oh no I almost forgot getting to wear our wet clothes penned around our neck and wearing them around the house on the weekend. OH and grandma on Dads side she was always eager to help with the discipline ideals and was sure if they caught and cleaned a big warf rat and cooked it for me and my brother this would stop us from being so damn lazy. They only threatened for along time which was enough to mess us up, but then what the heck it just might work. No it did not just in case your wondering but I can mark eating rats off my list of things to do in life. We were not allowed anything to drink after around 5 in the evening and this worked sometimes but not often because we would get so thirsty we would slip and drink water and after being so thirsty we would drink way to much. The other sad parts about this problem is I never went to a friends to spend the night or had friends over as that was taboo with my problems. I remember laying in bed at night and me and Tommy that was my brothers name would try to help keep each other awake. We learned that if we could force ourselves to stay awake till 2 or 3 in the morning we most of the time would be okay. This was so hard though and after a few nights we would be so tired we would fall asleep crying because we knew we were not going to be able to stay awake. We did survive though with wounds and scars and pain that hurts to this day and I haven't wet the bed but once since the age of about 15 when it suddenly left as quick and sudden as it came. I guess all Dads efforts paid off and I finally wasn't to lazy to get up. Oh the one time I did no punishment only love I was grown and married and dreamed I was peeing off the side of a boat. This was embarrassing and brought back all sorts of flash backs but my bride only hugged me, held me and cried with me as I shared with her why I was so upset. We now laugh about it and she teases me out of love every time she sees a boat. Really though it hurts a when I think a grown man has an accident and gets held and loved while two kids get scolded and abused for something totally beyond their control wow where is the logic. Well I have beat that dead horse enough and this must be a stopping point as I must dry the tears and quit whining about the past and deal with the present. I have classes and this is a work in progress so I am closing out this segment and will pick up with another piece of the puzzle later.
2/25/08 Well i believe its time to face the music and drag some more of the pain to the light for the lord to work his healing powers through love. I find myself looking back and find a kid that has really had a rough and terrible time has been punished and stripped of any resemblance of a quote unquote normal childhood. I had a weight problem in truth probably from the ager of six or so and believe me when I tell you kids are cruel though I believe they learn this to from the enviroment around them. Mom had a weight issue too so at home weight problems were not judged for quite a while and I was just chubby I believe was the word used. At about the age of 11 this changed as my weight really had gotten out of control and my weight had probably hit 250 or better. Dad steps in and decides I am just too lazy and exercise is the answer along with some food rationing. He picked up my work load quite a bit on top of what already seemed more than I could handle and added a fitness program to the regimen as well. The weight lifting was one that really left scars not because of the physical weight but instead because of the emotional punishment that went with it. It goes without saying that as heavy as I was my body was no prize to look at and I was very shy and embarrassed about it especially the fact that my chest was larger than any of the girls my age and older. Dad though decides I can't lift weights unless I do it with my shirt off and of course the family and mom and dads lady friend and what ever other company that understood how important discipline was could watch the freak show and make jokes about the boy with big breasts. Oh how I remember begging and crying to just let me keep my shirt on and not wear the shorts or at least the shirt just let me keep the shirt, but of course that was not an option. Sadly though that was not to be. We did from time to time go swimming and of course I would beg to keep the shirt, but off it had to come and more pain and shame was added to the pile. His next deal was football so he talked to the coaches in jr high and had me added to the squad for practice sessions no games or the fun stuff just some good hard work for exercise. The coaches not knowing anything about the story agreed and so there was another good exercise program but it was ok because hard as it was at least I kept my shirt. I did have to dress out in shorts but I survived. The coaches did after a few weeks or months really not sure noticed how my legs swelled in my lower parts and other issues I was having. I always knew everything was not normal with my body development and had told mom and dad this but was quickly told that times were hard and we did not have money to waste running to doctors unless we were bad sick. To shut the coaches up they finally took me to real doctor and i told him my concerns and he checked examined me and determined there was some serious problems that were going to require x-rays, lab work and more testing so he scheduled them and assured me everything would be okay. I believe him and for the briefest of moments had hope only to quickly be shattered. On the way out to the car mom quickly started complaining about how the quacks just wanted poor people to spend money they didn't have and that the family might not have groceries that month. So I felt guilty and there was no way i could have my brothers and sisters going hungry because of me so I told mom and dad not to worry about it and that I was fine. Dad decided it was just the football coaches running me to much so we dropped that exercise from the list. I didn't mind as it was hard work we also moved quickly after that. The foods were not changed in the house at all really other than no sweets for me unless I swiped them from time to time when I could find the stash. When caught though of course I was punished with the snuff filled cupcake and made oh so sick. We would have grits or oats for breakfast all I wanted and at school of course they were just being kind and giving me extra servings because my huge appetite was clearly seen by all. At supper we had beans, rice or potatoes or macaroni and cornbread and could eat all we wanted but that part of my weight problem was never addressed. All about the exercises and after the football deal dad took over and picked his program up to go with the extra chores and weight lifting. To make the stomach stronger I laid in the floor and held my stomach tight as possible and he jumped up and down on it for a while like a trampoline. That really didn't hurt that bad accept for the times when I would accidentally not hold my stomach muscles tight enough. Along with that we had push-ups till you couldn't and sit ups. The push-ups of course worked better if you held yourself up off the ground so he would put a dirty diaper or wet one under my face to encourage me to hold my head up and as an extra laugh for the audience when I couldn't go any further. Wow I had forgotten about some of that man how it hurts to deal with but it needs out to heal. One last part of the program was lap running. I had company for that one though because it served multi purposes as we were all scared of the dark so dad decided we could run around the house at night in the pitch black night round and round the house. He would of course take great pain to set stuff up or jump out and scare us extra and make us cry with fright. This was started when I was young probably about 9 at the latest it just became worst with added laps for me as the weight control plan started. Well enough for one day as that gives a fairly complete detailed of my dads ideal of weight loss program.
Well its time to pour my pain out some more and close another chapter of my childhood terror. My childhood was basically lived in fear of what was coming next I guess would be the only way I know to explain it. Dad seemed to always have a belt or a switch and used it regularly for every infraction of the rules and no one really knew what the rules were after all they were expecting us to be something other then kids and thats all we knew how to be. We were all boys accept for my one sister that caught on brand of hell she is working to recover from or learn to live with I guess is a better way of putting it. I remember when we went to the barber shop we would march in take a seat and not move till called to the chair for our GI haircut. Everyone bragged how well behaved we were but the truth be told we were like frightened pups scared to move. OH how we begged for regular hair cuts like the rest of the children but this was not to be an option and the begging only got a whipping so we learned quickly to keep the crying time to ourselves. We all seemed to have ears bigger than our heads at the time and boy did those haircuts give the kids a school something to laugh about , but dad didn't worry about none of that he had grownup stuff to worry about.
Even church brings bad memories for the most part in my childhood as dad was on again off again Christian. When we went to church that was another nightmare as the rules didn't change you set still or got carried out and scolded and oh what a follow up when you got home. The rules were simple you did not fidget or move in any way once church started. You did not nod or fall asleep. You looked straight ahead and did not nudge or speak to your sibling next to you. The fact is when you add the fact that the chairs had no padding of any kind, the services usually lasted several hours and we were kids the demands were impossible. This meant when we went to church an automatic whipping was in store for us. On the other side of the puzzle was mom and churches helped folks and mom played those cards very well putting us up to doing the begging for groceries or to pay a bill or something and the church members of course heart strings tugged came though with flying colors and mom would act like she knew nothing of getting us to do the begging and we ended up after all was gone with another whipping and dad would be embarrassed or ashamed of us so he would not go back to the church anymore and we would find another one or quit going. I do remember two good memories from church and honestly believe they are what led me back to church and eventually to the Lord when I got saved. On two different occasions when I was young I got to go to the Sunday school teachers and spend the day till Sunday evening of course we knew the rules and what happened at home stayed at home. Those two days though I honestly had happiness and could be a child wow what a feeling it brings tears of joy to my eyes as I write this thanking about it. The first experience was an older lady in a small church that played the piano and taught Sunday school. This lady loved children and hers were grown and she talked dad into letting us go home with her for the whole day and wow she let us play and taught me a little short verse on the piano and gave out hugs oh God how great those hugs were. Tears are streaming now because I look back and can't ever remember getting a hug from dad till way after I got grown and not many more from mom. yep without a doubt her hugs were the most special part of the day. We played we baked cookies, we just were kids all though at the time we thought we were getting treatment only avaliable to very few in the world. Soon after we changed churches and that feeling of being a kid was not felt for quite a while. It did come though another Sunday school teacher this time a gentleman and I never as long as I live will forget how awesome that day was. That was the first time I ever saw the Wizard of Oz. We also cooked hotdogs on a stick outside and he played with us and walked around the field with us pointing out birds and other creatures of God. Wow he even gave us a hug or two that day as well when he hugged his 3 sons. These boys were about our age but we quickly saw had a much different life than us and I believe in my case thats when it started hurting the worse because I knew what was going on at home was so wrong yet I knew we were trapped and the only thing we had was each other and if authorities were called in there was no way we could stay together. I guess this reality hit at about the age of 12 and this meant dad and mom had just gained an ally to help make sure what happened at home stayed at home. By now I am keeping all the younger six anytime mom and dad wen out even up till bedtime many nights. So the chore list now includes all the previous plus cooking and watching siblings and getting them bedded down for the night. This same time is when there new best friends arrived on the scene with 3 more younger children one being a small baby. You guessed it yep they went double dating and I kept three more that makes nine and three in diapers and one really an infant. I of course was mature for my age was the ehco I heard and could handle it with no problem. The truth is I couldn't handle it and an incident happened that I have never spoken to anyone about accept my bride and only once to her. I love children and to this day it rips my heart out to admit it but one of the times they left me with all the kids the baby was crying and he screamed and screamed and I tried to get him to hush oh I tried. He would not quit screaming oh God please forgive me I took a pillow and held it over his little face till he hushed. Oh Lord this hurts I guess maybe I deserve how I am he went limp and wasn't breathing. OH God it scared me so bad I blew in his little face and shook him and he finally breathed and was all right. Please know I am not a monster and I love children with all my heart and soul. I am so sorry God I am so sorry, but I lost it I just lost it I was out of my head and totally over whelmed. I must stop this here as I have dug up so much pain that I had buried so deep inside me and while I know it needed to escape I feel like a monster without a doubt and am starting to doubt rather I am right to love myself or not.
Just wanted to say please keep praying as I have much more to share but that last chunk was a rough one and it will take me a while to work through it. I am improving and learning how to love myself and that inter child that was so damaged. on top of this my brides oldest brother is dying and hospice has been called in and I have no choice but to be strong for her so that is where most of my attention is at the moment. God bless and thanks for the prayers and support.
Well the pain has festered long enough and its time to face the fact that my mom did a terrible job at raising kids. I though must know that she did and does love us all and that some sort of mental illness must be the root of her problems combined with a childhood of her own filled with trauma. My moms sickness without a doubt is what led to my problems today, but only I can correct these problems with the help of the Lord above and through faith in him. As I mentioned earlier my problems I feel started with the death of my heavy smoking alcoholic dad who died at the age of 40.
The things kids believe oh how they can deiceive. My mom started preaching the perrine curse to me at the age of 6 when my dad died. She told the stories over and over and over about the whole mountain side full of Perrine men that died at forty or not much over. Of couse the fact that they were in West Virginia drinking shine like water was not in her story. She combined this problem with buying and treating me with a daily bag full of junk food for comfort which I quickly grew an addiction for along with a healthy appetite. The perrine curse was heard about every day and of course this is mom so it must be true. So the mindset becomes food is comforting your looking at death at 40 so why not eat all you want and be happy.
Sadly though this is but the tip of the iceburg when it comes to my moms episodes. She remarried my step dad when I was 7 and my world changed yet again drastically as he was a very strict disaplanation as I have explained with some warped ideals for punishment to say the least. Sadly though his warped ideals could not hold a candle to the games mom played with the children. I remember well at probably the age of 8 mom would lay in the bed and when we get roudy as kids do she would say we were upsetting her and going to kill her. She would then proceed to lay there in the bed breathing so shallow we couldnt see it and play like she was dead. She only decided the game had went far enough after we were all upset and screaming and crying and begging our mommy not to be dead and feeling so bad because we had killed her by playing and horseing around. I look back now and I still don't understand how this game was supposed to be fun. To her it must have been fun though cause she seemed to play it well and fairly often. She also handeled all the finances and etc for the house as dad couldnt read other than his name. She made a royal mess with that also as stated earlier and skipping out on bills and moving was a regular occasion. Sadly I never remember going to the same school two years in a role or even to one school the entire term.
Mom the drug pusher yes thats what I said at a young age probably 10 or 11 mom was overweight and scored speed in pill form like the truckers used in the day to stay awake and keep going. She would give me one to boost my energy and kick my energy in overdrive where I would fly in and scrub the house, yards and anything else the neighborhood needed. i of course at this age in this time period knew nothing about drugs and only realized this stuff gave me energy and i felt good. All these were good things and I would get them giving to me on a fairly regular bases. Sadly she even gave me strong pain pills as well as Dads phenobarbitol from time to time that was prescribed to him for his epilepsy. I look back and to this day I can't beleive this or make sense out of it and honestly I believe there must be mental issues.
My mom had several sick ideals and games of torture as I call them but the prevous and the next two by far were the most damagaing to me. As I believe I mentioned earlier I knew without a doubt by about the age of 12 or thirteen I had some medical issues of somekind and that all was not right with my body. I finally convinced mom through the help of the football coach at school that I needed to go to the doctor. We finally went and he advised I did have problems and testing was needed. We left and I was made to feel guilty about needing these tests and medical help and was told the family would probably go hungry because ot it so I did the right thing and told her I would be okay and to skip going back. She was proud of my grown up choice and for me being a man and doing the right thing for the family. we moved soon after that I now realize to stop any followup from the school.