Let me paint the picture for you. On March 14, 2014 I was a 28 year old who was incredibly miserable in life. Emotionally things weren’t so great, physically things were even worse. I have binge-eating disorder (BED) and it was completely out of control. I don’t know what I weighed precisely, but it was probably in the 330-340 lbs range. For a class project I had to write a letter to something I wanted to say goodbye to. I chose Binge Eating.
Dear Binge Eating,
For many years you’ve been a friend. It’s weird saying that because you are wholly unhealthy and oppressive. But when I needed you, you gave me comfort, even when I didn’t know I was in need of it. It seems difficult to pinpoint when you came into my life. I always come back to Evan and the events of that day. It will be 10 years next week. 10 years is a long time to suffer. You brought release from that pain. A place where I could lose myself – in what, I am not sure. What is so comforting about eating a whole bag of cookies in one sitting? Perhaps I was projecting my pain onto the food and devouring it piece by piece. Perhaps I was longing for a sweet taste after such bitter in my mouth. Emily asked me the other day why I let you control my life. I know the answer. You gave me comfort during hard times, but you also kept me alone. I am consumed by you in every way. The weight I carry is a gift from you. And I needed it once. I was too scared to face what Evan did, what I did and did not do. I was too scared to be around men again, to let them have any part of me. The weight became a barrier; it kept me safe. It kept me alone. When my medication dulled the pain it was like you went on vacation.. You weren’t around to protect me and the barrier was melting away. And then Mike happened. The pain was agony and it nearly crushed me. But you slipped back into my life and I was saved. And I got through the loneliness with even more of you. And now here we are – I don’t know where you stop and I begin. You are a parasite that won’t let go. But I need you to so very much.
Yes, I am completely terrified of being without you. I feel naked and vulnerable. I feel unsure. But none of that compares to how you have begun to make me feel. Ugly. Worthless. Because of you I feel like no guy will ever love me how I deserve to be loved. You served your purpose when I couldn’t handle the idea of men or love. But now I feel the weight of loneliness and it is killing me. And in order for me to love someone else, or have a chance to experience love from another, I have to love myself. And I cannot do that with you in my life. You make me so miserable and full of guilt. You are no longer my protector, but rather the source of my pain. If you stay, the hate will stay, the guilt will infest me, the sadness will poison me until I am so far gone that there is no return – there is no going back.
I am grateful for your protection. The comfort you provided was both healing and damaging. I need you to go away and never come back. Your ability to calm and comfort is gone and all that is left are a bunch of bitter thoughts and too deep scars. In order for me to move forward, to find companionship and love, my relationship with you has to end. Please don’t fight this. Don’t beg to stay or hold on to me any longer. Let me go so I can live and find happiness. You did your part, now the rest must be up to me.
God is my new protector. Pain is not my enemy, but a testament to my strength. So a year from now, when this letter finds its way back to me, I pray I will be gone and I will be healthier and happier. Even with no man to love – if that is how things play out. Your death will bring me hope and love for myself. Which is now what I require to heal. Again, thank you for being there when I needed you. Now please go away. I do not need you anymore.
I continued to binge eat right up until my bariatric surgery in January 2015. I continued to let food own me. But now, a year after this letter was written, so much has changed. I am not chained down by food anymore. I am not a prisoner to BED. I have lost 72 pounds in about 3.5 months. My BMI has gone down from 57.63 to 45.82. I fit into clothes I long grew out of. And I am still losing. The journey has not been easy, but man has it been necessary. And I am looking forward to the day when I can say not only did I reach my goal weight, but I have kept it off for at least one year. I do have a long way to go, but now I am hopeful that I can make the journey. And though BED will always be a part of my life because that’s just the nature of the disorder, I no longer feel like a hostage. I am free and I am hopeful. And that my sparkians, is a beautiful thing!
(Left - 364lbs, Jan 05, 2015; Right - 292lbs, April 20, 2015)