Chapter 1: The Food Addict
At 420 pounds I spent my days largely in front of a computer, eating nachos, brownies, mashed potatoes and anything else I could get my hands on. My blood pressure was hovering around 170/110 with a racing pulse and climbing the stairs was becoming increasingly arduous along with showering, cooking, cleaning and walking. My back ached, my jelly rolls hovered over my waist and my breathing was becoming more laborious. I would wake up in the morning tired with bags under my eyes because my sleep apnea was increasingly worse.
The sleep deprivation was having a negative impact on my mental health, increasing the frequency and severity of my delusions.. Even the antipsychotics I took couldn’t quell the abstract thoughts that entered my mind. I had occasional epiphanies that the F.B.I. had tapped my phone or was following me in some manner. I had psychosomatic delusions that the cause of my problems was intestinal parasites, intestinal bowel syndrome or contaminated medication. My mood was often depressed, irritable and unstable.
My skeletal structure and abdomen were unable to cope with the massive amount of weight that I was carrying and parts of me were literally bleeding out of my body and forming a massive hernia. I ignored it, believing that it would magically disappear, but it continued to ooze out of my gut till it hung down by my knees when I sat. It would flop around and swing from side to side as I walked, a time bomb ready to explode. Tick-tock-tick-tock.
People would stare at this massive lump in my gut, thinking that I was suffering from terminal cancer, ogling at it like the tower of babel growing on my mid section. People never looked into my eyes, but looked at my gut with an aura of surprise and shock as if to say; “What the hell is that thing?”
Chairs would creak and gasp when I sat in them, and occasionally snap under my immense weight. Floors would bend when I wobbled across the floor. Seats were rarely big enough. Spaces felt confined and limited. Everywhere I went I asked “How will I fit in here?” The world was becoming too small for me. I felt claustrophobic and ill at ease.
My pantry was stocked with carbohydrates, calories and fat rich foods that beckoned me to bite into its flavors that lacked substance or nutrition. White bread, candy, mashed potatoes, butter, cream, bagels, cake tempted me from across the room. Biting into its sustenance gave me a brief high. When I felt down about my situation, I ate. When I felt lonely, I ate. When I couldn’t cope, I ate. I was drowning in fast food and carbohydrates, choking on their excessive usage, while refusing to acknowledge the problem.
Every morning I would take Tylenol to help alleviate the back pain, lisinopril to slow my racing heart and abilify to straighten my mind. My nights were spent hooked into a breathing apparatus so that my throat wouldn’t collapse from its extensive girth. I avoided the scale, doctors, exercise and healthy foods. I avoided the solution.
Walking around with an extra person hanging on my body made motion increasingly difficult. My bones and back would ache every step I took, unable to handle the massive load that it was carrying. Grocery shopping was becoming more difficult, and I would eye the riding carts at the entrance looking for relief from my pain, but always refusing because I didn’t want to be one of “those” people. Stubbornly I would hobble through the first few rows and pick out all the foods that tasted good, never looking at the nutritional information on the boxes, never worrying about its fat, sugar, protein and calorie contents. My only thought was towards that brief pleasure and comfort I would feel as I sank my teeth into its contents, opening up its flavorful sensations.
Women ignored me, looking elsewhere for companionship. Occasionally I would build the courage to speak with them, but their minds always seemed off in the distance somewhere. I’d convince myself they were uninterested because I was poor, ignoring my girth, lack of sex appeal or the fact that my massive size made intercourse nearly impossible.
Showering in the morning involved lifting up the flabs of skin under my waistline and washing away the stench that had accumulated from the lack of fresh air. My crotch was half covered by the layers of fat that dropped down from my massive hernia. Stretch marks covered my midsection. Reddish lines ran across my body like a zebra.
The hernia hung enormously from my body turning me into a freak of nature. People would stare at me like a pregnant man inside an exhibit at the open air odditorium. My disfigurement made faces around me contorted and disgusted.. Conversations became shorter. Human interaction became scarce. Kindness felt distant. Still I did nothing.
I had just one close friend at the time, who was likewise crippled with various conditions and unable to work. I’d go over to his place and we would talk about card games, collectibles, star wars toys and other subjects. It soothed my mind knowing he was there for me. We had a long history together, we’d been close friends for over twenty five years since the age of 19, and it wasn’t always this way for either of us.