It may sound like an overstatement, but it's the truth and unfortunately it is a painful truth that I live with every day of my life; that I must face in front of my children, my husband, my friends and my family, every new person that I meet. I am morbidly obese. It is not illness that prevents me from managing my weight and my problems are entirely my own - they are my own creation, my own issue, and unfortunately figuring out my problems has been something that I have struggled with for nearly three decades with no success.
It would be easy to claim that I am exaggerating, but anyone who has ever known me knows exactly how unhealthy my relationship is with food. It is destructive, it is hurtful, and ultimately my dependence upon food to lighten my mood and to better destroy painful emotions is what will eventually kill me. That should be a terrifying eye opener but instead it drives me back toward the chocolate and the comfort foods that I and millions of other Americans turn toward daily for comfort and sustenance.
But mostly food.
"But surely you understand what you're doing is bad."
Well, of COURSE I do. I'm not an idiot. A smoker can likely name off a good portion of the health problems associated with imbibing in their addiction and may even deny entirely that they rely on smoking to calm them, entertain them, and to satiate their inner need for peace. (Of course, some smokers are completely aware of their situation.) The recent and tragic death of Robin Williams has brought to light the disparity in America of the treatment of obvious physical ailments versus mental problems - issues like anxiety, depression, BPD, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and every other mental disability under the sun aren't going to just go away if someone changes their frame of mind or thinks positive thoughts. Hell, Robin Williams played fucking Peter Pan of all people in Hook and the life lesson of "thinking happy thoughts will set you free" didn't exactly help him, did it?
Hulk new friend named "Ground". Strange name for new friend.
So, yes, for the majority of us who realize that most of our issues started in our heads, we're well aware of what we're doing and that it is inherently destructive. The problem is that knowledge of where the issue originated or even just knowing that we are not "physically" ill isn't enough for us to suddenly sigh in relief and declare that our problems are solved because they aren't. Not by a long shot.
Think back to when you were in grade school. Wanda told Billy who told Jenna who told Frank who told Amanda that Pat doesn't actually like you like you, just sorta likes you, and OH MY GOD you spent the next TWO WEEKS wondering what the hell you did wrong and was it that Mickey Mouse shirt you wore last month because seriously as much as you love that shirt you will totally give it up forever if it means that Pat will give you the time of day again. You spent every single moment of every day playing out scenarios in your head and preparing for anything and inwardly telling yourself that you just must not be good enough because if Pat won't like you, nobody will ever like you. Ever. At all.
What WERE you thinking, anyway?
Now imagine that being every day of your life, except you're an adult and people expect you to get the hell over things like any other human being. They do not expect you to have such insanely low self confidence that you avoid looking in the mirror, they don't consider that you refuse to look them in the eye because you struggle with social anxiety problems, they don't really want to think about the fact that you are over two HUNDRED pounds overweight not because of the thyroid problem you claim to have but because that girl looked at you funny and also you are behind on your bills so TIME TO EAT!
Is it healthy?
Of course not.
Of course not.
Do we know that?
But the problem is that as long as people think that mental issues of any kind can be resolved purely through thinking about puppies, we as a nation will continue to shutter those who are truly in need of help into the dark recesses of our society because we just don't want to think that maybe, just maybe, our problems are caused by something we cannot easily predict nor change without serious help and dedication. Or sometimes with therapy and medication.
My problem with food is one of those things that will require a complete mental reboot.
And since I look like pretty much every other fat person out there, before you pass judgment on someone because of their size.. Consider their state of mental health.