To truly fix a problem, one must find the crux of the issue. For me that meant diving deep into my sorrows and retracing my steps in order to gain full understanding. Continuing from my last post, I began my investigation by looking at the history of my eating.
For many years I have had a poor eating habit. My parents had always left for work early in the morning so breakfast was never in our routine. Through most of my elementary and high school years, I often skipped lunch as well. On the rare occasion that I would feel hungry, a small snack usually sufficed. I would put the lunch money that my mom gave me towards buying books and magazines. My parents never knew about this, and I think I’d rather keep it this way.
Most people find it hard to understand how a person can get through the day on pretty much one meal and not feel hungry. My high school friends used to call me Twiggy since I was so thin, and they joked about me being anorexic. I knew very well I wasn’t because I didn’t restrict my food intake in fear of gaining weight, as people with anorexia nervosa often would, and my main reason for not eating was the lack of appetite. Since anorexics don’t experience a loss in appetite, I was fairly certain I didn’t have an eating disorder. With that said, my eating habits were certainly not normal either. I didn’t know it at the time but, in retrospect, the loss of appetite was probably the very first sign of depression that I was subconsciously denying.
From barely eating through most of my school years, a great change in appetite occurred during my last year of high school. As I mentioned in Part 7: My Second Addiction, this was the time I experienced my first real breakup, and it sent my appetite in the completely opposite direction. I started going out to eat lunch with my friends pretty much daily. It was my subconscious way of dealing with my battered emotions. Although I was now eating I wasn’t paying attention to how healthy the food was, often bingeing on foods I craved. I also didn’t know it at the time, but my new eating habit was slowly contributing to what would eventually become my severe depression.
You’re probably wondering how all this is related to the indigestion problem I left off with in my last post. I assure you it’s all related. At this point you may think that it was a good sign that I had started to eat. The truth was I created a new problem for my body. Unlike people who’ve grown up with three meals a day, I had been eating one meal a day for many years and my body was not used to processing a large volume of food. When I started to eat and binge, I was creating a situation where I was overwhelming my digestive system because it wasn’t used to having to work so hard. And there was never any consistency with my eating. Sometimes I would binge, sometimes I would starve. Like a machine that I kept turning on and off, my poor digestive system was quickly being worn down. As a result of my mistreatment, my body finally said no in November 2005.
You might recall me saying in Part 12: How Monsters Are Created, “for every cause there would be an effect, and that everything we do today will affect how we are tomorrow.” This is especially true as I very openly write about the history of my eating in relations to my health. I feel it is important to share these personal details in order to clearly show what I mean by cause and effect. I’d like to think that I’m lucky to have made it through all those years without experiencing any vitamin deficiencies or becoming malnourished. However, I am very much aware of the damage that has already been caused, as I have suffered and continue to suffer from the effects. And you can be sure that this is not the end of it.