My First Illness

by Val Enriquez 6 months ago in disorder


My First Illness

Growing up as a kid I was never slim but I was never really "fat" or "big". The memory that sticks with me is the one of me playing with my friends as if we were in the Disney Movie of Hercules. We would pick different characters to play and the next day we would rotate them. The kids would always assign me one of the Muses.. You know? The ones that narrates the story while singing every now and then... Well, I was "the fat one" according to my friends.

Looking back now, I think that character is bomb. But what bothered me at the time was the assumption that I was being called fat. I was always told to suck my tummy in ballet lessons, even if I was doing so already.

Those type of comments would get stuck to me like an echo of voices, repeating over and over again that everyone thought I was fat, and I hated that.

My relationship with food has always been rocky as well. My mom would have to hide cookie boxes in her room, candies and other sweet treats; if left unsupervised, I would have eaten a whole package in one sitting. Moderation was not something I knew about, it was all or nothing. I was binge eating since then and I just realized that a few years ago.

Suddenly, I don't really know what happened to me. I was around 9 years old. My dad just came back from a trip to the States, loaded with gifts for me. I tried all the clothes he bought me and instead of falling into a massive depression like I usually did. I looked at myself in the mirror and told myself "From this moment on, you won't ever care about your weight, you will be happy, even if that means being a happy fat girl". Crazy right? A 9 year old saying that to herself.

Two years went by and I was feeling that those thoughts were never even there to begin with, but then my Grandma died. I was pretty close to her and I never got the chance to say goodbye to her. This was the first time I ever felt dark.

After she left us, my thoughts came back, worse than ever before. I remember telling my mother one time after school, "Mom I think I need to go to the Doctor, I want to be very skinny and that's all I can think about, so if you don't take me, I might get to the point where I start puking everything and I don't want that." My mom of course thought this was an 11 year old acting out or crying for attention, but I was being real, I wanted and needed help.

A lot of things have happened since then. I have been on and off of therapy for several reasons, sometimes it helps sometimes it doesn't. I am 26 years old right now, I have tried everything (exercise, meditation, reading, therapy) and I can tell you one thing, I have never been worse. Maybe I am scared.

Scared of leaving my old friend. The one that has basically been there with me since I can even remember. Maybe the idea of changing everything, how I feel and how I look at myself, terrifies me. The anxiety kicks in, imagining feeling so accomplished and so "cured" but then looking at myself in the mirror and realizing that the cost of that is a bunch of extra weight. But I want to get better, right?

I don't know anymore. I am eternally confused on what I want regarding this particular issue that I have. A part of me wants to stop the sickening circle of waking up every morning to weigh myself, think about my meal plan for the whole day, look at my belly in the mirror around 30 times a day, weigh myself again another 5 times throughout the day and feeling so guilty and worthless if I eat ONE meal or ONE thing that wasn't specifically planned for the day. I am tired of yelling at my husband with hate and frustration when he brings me treats, instead of appreciating the gesture. Tired of punishing myself by starving myself on and off and then being so sad and hungry that I end up eating the whole world in just one bite, just to start starving myself right after once again. I am sick of it, I am done with comparing my body with my friend's perfectly flat stomach. I want to have peace, but also I am very scared.

I hope I find the strength, I hope I find the secret.

Val Enriquez
Val Enriquez
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