I am away from home, visiting my daughter in Chicago, and when I get back home next week, my new HEALTH plan begins in earnest. I had a serious heart to heart with my rheaumatologist and he referred me to physical therapy, a nutritionist, and I set up an appointment with a psychologist I haven’t seen in 2 years. You see, food issues are not just a diet for me. They are a reflection of a life gone wrong. I was the typical overweight kid, teased in gym by the popular kids, and shy. But when I went away to college I was determined to create a new life for myself away from the small town I grew up in. Then, at 18 I was date raped and sunk into a deep depression. It threw me into a 25 year long struggle with food. I became anorexic almost immediately, losing 50 lbs in just 3 months, eating 30 calories a day. I kept cutting back until most times I was eating only every 3 days or so. My skin was downy, my periods stopped, my bones stuck out, I had constant stomach aches, I shivered relentlessly as I was so cold (I live in Michigan). I kept this up for several years and the doctors tell me it is a miracle my heart did not kill me. Finally my desire and total obsession with food gave in and I discovered bulimia. I thought I had entered a new way of life which enabled me finally to eat hat I wanted and stay thin. Again, I am lucky that the only long lasting effects were loss of some enamel on my teeth. But the torment in my mind cannot be described.
Whether caused by the rape or not, I had begun to show symptoms of bipolar disorder. It went untreated for 30 years. Between the BD and the food issues, I was a mess. Throw in 2 divorces and you have a recipe for disaster.
However, in all that mess, I earned a Master’s degree, and earned a law degree and found my dream job practicing law. And I had my beautiful daughter, a joy to raise. So things weren’t all bad.
Then, 8 years ago, I was raped again. This time I was left bruised and bloody for a week. I spiraled down into another depth of depression deeper than before and attempted suicide twice. I have now been treated for the bipolar disorder, so my mood issues are stable. But my weight has ballooned as a result of the rape to over 250. I just want to hide. I have other health issues related to my weight, arthritis, I have had 9 knee surgeries and repeated knee replacements on my left knee, and I also have spinal stenosis (my spine is narrowing and it moves, pinching my nerve), and lupus. So taking off this weight and dealing with all this baggage isn’t just a diet, it’s a matter of saving my life.