Weighty Matters

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We Aren’t Terminally Unique

on April 4, 2012

Before I hit rock bottom with my compulsive overeating/binge eating and started going to Overeaters Anonymous, I carried around as much shame as I did body fat.  There were so many things that I’d done with food or behaviors I’d employed to try to hide my overeating, stuff that I just new nobody normal would even consider.

If someone who was a drug addict or an alcoholic had told me that they’d stolen drugs or that they’d sneaked drinks so nobody saw them drink, I wouldn’t have thought twice.  Those behaviors seemed logical to me for addicts.  But I, like many, many other people, didn’t really believe that food addiction or any eating disorders were also diseases.  I believed that all of the activities that brought me so much shame were the result of my not being able to enforce my own will power.

I lived in terror of someone finding out about my abnormal food behaviors and, even worse, confronting me about them.  The shame was a constant presence that I couldn’t walk away from any more than I could leave behind my own skin.

One of the earliest and best lessons I learned in OA was that I was not the only person in the entire known universe who did the things that I did.  I was not terminally unique.

I can’t begin to adequately describe my relief.  My spirit, so weighed down at that point, lightened immeasurably.  More and more people in the OA meetings shared their stories and they’d done so many of the same things.  Over time, the shame dissipated.   I wasn’t a bad, crazy, awful disgusting person.  I was a human being with a problem, a disorder.

Many, many years later, I still feel that glorious freedom and I remind myself time and time again that I’m not terminally unique and this is a very good thing.

I can see by the stats that there are a lot of people dropping by to read these posts, although the vast majority of you do not leave comments.  That’s absolutely okay.  It’s your choice whether to comment and share your stories.  I respect that and honor your anonymity.  That said, I believe that some of you are also struggling with eating disorders and it’s possible that you’re dealing with shame of your own about behaviors around room.  Maybe you need to hear that you’re not terminally unique, that you aren’t the only one.   I thought I’d share some of my past food behaviors as well as some of the things I’ve never done but that I’ve heard shared by others.  Hopefully, if you’re in a not-so-great space right now, hearing these will help ease some of your shame, too.

Friends, you are not the only person who has ever . . .

Gone through a fast food drive-through and ordered two drinks so the staff would think you were ordering to feed two or three people.

Sneaked food out of someone else’s refrigerator, freezer, drawer, cabinets or candy dish and eaten it when nobody else was looking.

Faked a conversation with someone else while ordered pizza or some other delivered food, again so it looked like you were ordering for multiple people.

Slept-walked to the kitchen in the middle of the night and eaten food, but had no memory of doing so the next morning, even when you saw the empty wrappers and containers.

Eaten a small, “appropriate” amount of food in front of other people in public, and then gorged on more in private.

Thrown food out, determined to not eat any more and then dug it out of the trash and eaten it any way.

You are also not the only person who weighs so much that you’ve . . .

Had a chair collapse or break under you.

Had to get out of a ride at an amusement park because the safety features wouldn’t close around you

Not been able to climb up into a van or truck without help.

Gotten stuck in a bathtub.

Been unable to adequately “clean” yourself and maintain good hygiene.

Not been able to buckle a seat belt in a car.

Gotten momentarily stuck in a turnstile.

Been unable to have a medical test or scan done because you weighed more than the equipment’s capacity

Been told that they had to buy two seats on an airplane

There are probably 100 more examples I could give that I’ve heard or experienced over the years, but this looks to be a pretty good start.  Hope it helps!

 

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3 responses to “We Aren’t Terminally Unique

  1. londonmabel says:

    Brave list!

    I totally agree about the uniqueness. One of the things I love about the internet is that when I’ve got some issue or problem, I can find other people going through the same thing. And oh man it really is a sigh of relief when you see that what you’ve been going through is a common pattern!

  2. Skye says:

    You are strong and brave to do all that you are doing. I’ve done one or two of those things on your list. You forgot to add ate an entire gallon of ice cream, even though it hurt, just to numb yourself. It’s amazing what we will do to protect ourselves from pain, even if the protection causes pain itself.

    I have a friend who is up around 450 — out of choice. He has none of the addict behaviors — in fact, he has a healthier diet than I do — but he has had to develop a thick skin due to the behavior of others, and because he cannot always buckle his seat belt and has to buy 2 plane tickets.

  3. lunarmom says:

    It does. Thank you. Again.
    And again.
    Julie

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