By the time I reached my Junior year in high school, I weight approximately 280 lbs. and boasted a size 58 waist. My years of binge eating, both recreational and competitive, coupled by my lack of any modicum of physical activity had led me to this point of being a morbidly obese child. My parents intervened as best they knew how by sending me to dietitians but to no avail. I hated myself for what I allowed myself to become; I hated myself for not stopping it sooner; I hated myself for not having the restraint and discipline to follow the dietitians’ plan; I hated myself mostly for loving the food more than myself. Despite the satisfaction I derived from beating people in pizza-eating contests, knowing all the capitals of the countries in the world, and having fulfulling relationships with random adults, I simply hated myself.
The Bleak View of the Future
The final few years of my morbid obesity were psychologically taxing. By the time you are in high school, you are deftly aware of the opposite sex and your station in their life and your own. I mentioned already in The Opposite Sex that I never thought I would ever be intimate with a woman. I contemplated a future of being alone with few friends…but with a lot of food to comfort me. I envisioned a future where I would be the adults at The Big & Tall Store, struggling to walk a few steps without passing out due to my 500-600 lbs. girth. I envisioned no other future than the present and the past with which I was accustomed. I was fat…I would always be fat. If anything my weight would burgeon exponentially fueled by the aforementioned self-loathing.
I detested my body. I never looked at the stinky, baby powerdered-laden fat rolls in the mirror. I couldn’t even look at my own face when brushed my teeth or combed my hair. I didn’t wanted to be reminded of the hideous beast I had become. How could anyone ever possibly want to be near me…much less love me? The depression increased. I would put on a smiley face at school around my nerd friends to maintain the façade. I would chuckle when the popular kids ridiculed me, but internally I was struggling whole-heartedly.
At home, I would cry alone listening to George Michael ballads and other sappy love songs. I would order more delivery pizzas, pay kids at school to give me their junk food, and ate and ate and ate. I began cutting my final year of obesity. On several occasions, I used my mom’s steak knife to slice my upper arm. I had never done it before and I honestly don’t know how I even knew about it since cutting wasn’t big back then. It felt good to do it. To get that temporary respite from the obesity shame to focus on another pain. No one ever found out about it…even later in my “skinny life” when I resumed it again.
The Dark Night of the Soul
I turned to my religion for succor. I prayed fervently to the Jesus, Mary, the saints…anyone who would intercede on my behalf. But I heard nothing. The faith that buoyed me through my adolescence turned quiescent the moment I needed it the most. I entered a period of questioning my faith and even the existence of God. It was my own “Dark Night of the Soul” a term which Mother Teresa used when she entered her period of spiritual aridity of 10 years when she questioned the existence of God. I heard nothing from the supernatural. All I heard was the food whispering to me to eat it as echoed in The Locked Cabinet.
As the binging accelerated so did the thoughts of suicide. And honestly why wouldn’t I? If you have never been morbidly obese, or if you have had a normal upbringing, it might not ever cross your mind. You have such a bright future. Maybe, I did. Maybe I could be a world-famous doctor like my father. But I didn’t see that. You are so myopic in your distorted prism when you are suicidal. I only saw the future as a morbidly obese, constantly gawked-at and derided, and likely unemployed since who would want a smelly lardass at their work? A total piece of shit. The negative thinking snowballed day-by-day. I began to think that I would be doing my family a service by killing myself. To spare them the ignominy of having a fat-ass in their family. I wanted to kill myself.
I contemplated different ways to do it, but frankly thought all were too painful. Hanging…stabbing…car wreck. We had no guns in the house so the only option was pills. My father wrote my mother’s prescriptions for her depression and anxiety meds, chronicled in Why did I became fat? That would be the easiest road. There came a time in Sept 1990 when I invaded her medicine cabinet when they were out for the night. My brothers were in college; I was all alone. But I was a coward…I couldn’t do it. I wanted to end my life, yet I lacked the courage to do so.
And of course I hated myself for that as well. “You are such a piece of shit you can’t even kill yourself!” I screamed at myself. The binge eating and darkness continued. I told some of my friends about it, but it didn’t seem to stir them. No intervention from my parents or school. I continued my bleak high school experience day-by-day…contemplating if/when I would have the courage to make another attempt.
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A. Gregory Luna, Certified Health Consultant
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