For so long I had been hiding all that was wrong with me, all the issues I had, all the frustrations. I thought that life would be easier if I just pretended that everything was fine, that somehow things would get better if I just ignored all the problems. The depression that took over my life, the anxiety that keeps me from doing anything, the eating disorder that kept me weak. I wouldn’t let myself talk to anybody, growing up I was always taught that it was the manly thing to do to suppress all your emotions, because men weren’t supposed to have emotions; men were strong, confident, brave, and able to take on endless tasks without showing any signs of weakness. That wasn’t me. I wasn’t strong, brave, or confident. I wasn’t able to take on everything, I could barely handle getting out of bed. It wasn’t always that way though, but I don’t have any memories from before it started getting bad. My memories consist of constant arguing, fighting, hateful comments, a family more content on bringing each other down instead of trying to make things better. I was an outsider in my own family, I had to actively try to hide my emotions or risk being belittled by my father. I had to hide my weak points, hide the times I was scared because my mom had enough to deal with. I couldn’t be near my sister, because she hated everything that I was and made it a point for me to know how little she cared.
It wasn’t really until I started college that things took a turn for the worse, without the constant need to put on a show for my family I retreated into the blank canvass that I was. I never really had the chance to figure out who I was growing up because I only ever focused on making others think I was something else, something that they would like and get along with. I became a chameleon. I didn’t know who I was. That’s when the depression took over. I couldn’t get up to go to class, and if there wasn’t a test I didn’t see the point. I started failing out of college, which was another thing on the long list of things that I had to hide. Then the eating disorder came in. I would go days without eating, almost as a way to prove that I could do something. Like somewhere somebody would be proud that I could go without food for days, somebody would look at me like I had complete control because I could keep myself from needing even the basic necessities of life. It took me 6 years before I could even tell somebody that I had an eating disorder.
When I told my dad about it, it was the scariest thing that I had ever done. I had to show all my weaknesses to the person I was trying the hardest to keep them from, and for the first time I saw a whole new person. The man I saw before me wasn’t the hard, unforgiving, uncaring father that I knew for 24 years, it wasn’t the person so hell-bent on destroying my mother that he took me down too. He was scared, and I had never seen him scared like this before. I told him that I needed to go somewhere to deal with the eating disorder and he was supportive, and he did everything that he could to make it work.
After telling him, I had to tell everybody else in my family. Much to my surprise, everybody said they would do anything to help me, that they would support me no matter what. For so long, I had these impressions on what it meant for a man to have an eating disorder, it’s always talked about being something that girls deal with. So if I had an eating disorder it really meant that I was somehow less of a man. So I put myself into a treatment center and spent the hardest 3 months of my life trying to get to a better place. Things aren’t better for me, every meal is still a struggle, there is a war going on in my mind every second of everyday, a war between ending it and knowing that things get better. I’m not perfect, I can’t make things better overnight, but I don’t want to stop fighting. I’m tired of these feelings, and I’m the only person who can make them better.
Filed under: Opinion | Tagged: Anxiety, Depression, Eating Disorder | Leave a comment »