“The truly scary thing about undiscovered lies is that they have a greater capacity to diminish us than exposed ones. They erode our strength, our self-esteem, our very foundation.”
- Cheryl Hughes
There was a lot of lying associated with my binge eating. Lies that, to this day, I haven’t come clean about to those who cared about me. Lies that, to this day, I am so very ashamed about because that person wasn’t me. It was something outside of myself that took control and wouldn’t let go. I’m not a liar; anyone will tell you that I’m far worse a liar than anything else. But the binge eating turned me into a person that I didn’t know, and will probably never know.
The lies started when the purging began. After my first few binges, I felt so guilty and sickened with the idea of gaining weight that I tried my hardest to purge everything I possibly could. I stuck my toothbrush down my throat and cried after every wave of vomit. It has never been easy for me to throw up; I put so much effort into that first purge I couldn’t breathe and my heart was palpitating so fast that I thought for sure I would need medical assistance.
But I didn’t.
Purging became my punishment. The pain and the sadness that was created through the purge was what I deserved for binging. I distinctly remember one time when I was at someone’s house – a man that I was seeing at the time – and I actually binged on his food. His granola, his yogurt, his Walmart brand Christmas cookies, his cereal bars, leftovers that we made…everything. The binge happened after I took a walk into town to buy myself a dress and realized that the smallest size that fit was medium. The purge happened because I couldn’t believe I actually binged at his house and I was so overwrought with anxiousness and shame that I had to purge those feelings out.
I spent a good 10 minutes crying on his bathroom floor, hoping that my cheeks and eyes wouldn’t be swollen by the time he arrived home from work.
I stopped purging a few months later after my mom caught me. Her pain was immeasurable, so much so that she couldn’t sleep for days. I couldn’t do that to her, the woman who raised me to believe I was beautiful just the way I came. So I forced myself to stop.
But the binging didn’t stop I couldn’t. I really didn’t know how. To stop purging was easy for me because I knew how much it hurt my loved ones, but binging quelled every anxious, lonely, and sad moment. It numbed every part of me with food. Plus, I thought I was so good at keeping my binges a secret that no one would try to stop me.
The truth, is that I wasn’t so good at hiding them. My friends and my mom knew that what I was doing.
Why? Because I was stealing their food. I stole snacks and peanut butter jars and anything that I thought I could get away with eating, usually in small amounts over a short period of time. However, once, over a long weekend, I ate an entire box of Cheese-Its and a family size box of Honey Bunches of Oats that belonged to once of my roommates. I ended up buying new boxes of each and throwing the empty ones in the recycling bins downstairs. After a little while, they noticed that things were missing and inevitably narrowed in on me. I always tried to come up with excuses, but they knew, and their opinion of me has forever shifted because I could never admit what I had done.
I did everything I could to keep my binges a secret. I lied to everyone around me. I stole. I did things that I find morally reprehensible.
If I could go back and apologize to everyone and explain everything I was going through, then maybe things would be different Maybe my friends would still respect me and my mom wouldn’t have to ask me “Are you doing that again?” every now and again. But their words, at the time, evaporated into the air. All I could think about was the food. But I know, now, that my desire to end the lying was one of the impetuses to my recovery.