Behind My Smile

January 31, 2016
January 31, 2016 Kylie

I felt countless years of sadness before I dove into drugs of all kinds, including adderall, phentermine, xanax, cocaine, alcohol, junk food, exercise, and shopping. And yes, these are all real addictions. Some of them are just more “socially acceptable” than others, and to be honest, those are the hardest to kick.

The sadness I felt, could’ve been resolved and healed much sooner had I just faced it. Instead, I ran from it. Or I tried to at least. Every moment of my existence was an attempt to escape the sick feeling in my gut. Because of this, eating became an insanely huge problem for me.

It was such a problem, that I felt like it was all I thought about. Food did such a great job at filling me up, for such a short period of time, it was impossible to not become addicted. I remember going to places like Target, TjMaxx, a gas station, and regardless of whether I was hungry or not, I would absolutely always get a snack. Family events, parties, really any single place that I found myself in, food was glowing like a diamond in the rough. Life was grey, but food was technicolor, like an instant magic pill to relieve my pain oh so temporarily. I would say I spent 80% of my waking time, shoveling in food. It was my favorite thing to do, and any moment I wasn’t eating, I was anxious, irritable, and exhausted.

“Because I was eating to soothe emotional pain, it was a hunger I could never satisfy.”

I found myself waking up in the night to sit on my kitchen floor and eat entire boxes of cereal, oreos, bags of chips, cheetos, cheezits, to myself, and I also found myself about 20 pounds heavier. Because I was eating to soothe emotional pain, it was a hunger I could never satisfy. I sometimes ate until I physically couldn’t handle anymore. On more than one occasion, I would stuff myself so uncomfortably full, I would throw up. I was disgusted with myself. I went to bed bursting at the seams, and woke up nauseous and desperately craving more.

I knew I had to change something. So, I decided to do the only thing I really knew possible, I went to the doctor. I explained my overeating habits to my doctor. She hears my symptoms, and gladly, hands over a prescription. Celexa, an anti-depressant. And somehow, this is where it really began to go downhill.

The pit in my stomach was something I felt needed to be solved. I knew all along that the food was just a band-aid, but for a moment, I really thought this prescription medicine was the solution, the cure. What I failed to realize, was that my pain inside was something I could only begin to heal the moment I would decide to face it instead of bury it.

This is where my life spiraled out of control.

On the outside, I was still happy, smiley Kylie. On the inside, I was brewing a concoction of suppressed pain.

Although it began with food, I found myself clinging to anything that made me feel better than miserable. I forgot what it felt like to be sad for too long, because I was simulating the feeling of happiness so well through drugs. There were days that it took a drag of a cigarette, a line of coke, an adderall, and a shot of whiskey just to get me to feel up to going to work. I found myself upping the “dose” of any drugs I had access to, just to keep the feeling going until I could finally shut down as my head hit the pillow at night. I often ended hyped, abnormally happy, energetic days, with extremely low, sad nights. Sleeping was interesting..I would be so wired from the upper drugs, that I had to take things like xanax or vicodin just to fall asleep at night. If I ran out of pills, I would often find myself in a panic. I would lose my shit. I became extremely emotional. I felt such a deep fear of having to be alone with myself, with no help from an external source. I had no trust in myself anymore. I didn’t have to make myself happy, I had drugs for that.

I continued to push myself with little to no limits. As long as I had some type of substance to lean on, I was satisfied.

On my nights off, as I felt myself coming down from the hype of my day drugs, including insane amounts of coffee, my poor little heart fluttered irregularly as though it was struggling to beat normally after a rough day. My chronic back and hip pain grew as I pushed myself for longer hours at the bar, further miles on the treadmill. I continued to add toxins to my body and failed to nourish with proper hydration or nutrients for healing. I wasn’t fully aware of the damage I was doing to my body at the time, but I instinctively knew I was putting my organs through massive amounts of stress.

“I had broken myself to the point that death seemed to be near.”

The shame that I felt for doing all of these destructive things to myself, began to eat away at me. Again, I’ve never been particularly confident. In fact, I’ve been paralyzed by insecurity for as long as I can remember. I’ve learned to hide it very well. But the more I hid my feelings from others, and more importantly, tried to hide them from myself, the more my relationship with myself and my worth began to deteriorate. There were many days I thought of ending my life. I wouldn’t say, “I thought what it would be like if I ended my life”… No. When you truly get to the point where you are so fed up with internal pain, you don’t think logically. There was no logic behind the idea. I was fortunately logical enough to know that this too, was just me running from my feelings. This would be me giving up. And I was not ready to give up.

So many mistakes were made in this fragile time of my life. I was blurring my lines of what was acceptable for my life and what was not. My standards for myself were lower than ever. There were mornings I woke up in my bed, not knowing how I had gotten home, finding that I had driven myself. For a long period of time, I was allowing myself drive carelessly. Months went by that I had my eyes down at my phone 90% of the time I was behind the wheel. One day on my way to work, I came within inches of hitting a guy on his bicycle. He swerved out of the way, flipped me off, and went on living. Oh, how my life would’ve changed if I were to have hit him. Knowing this was me makes me sick. I’m ashamed of the life I allowed myself to live, the person I was, but I now know she was very broken.

Every day that went by, I could hear the tiniest voice inside telling me to just stop. Stop the destruction, stop the carelessness, stop the running, stop! “YOU ARE NOT INVINCIBLE!” That same voice kept telling me that it was only going to get harder as long as I continued to run. That voice, my intuition, my true authentic self, knew that none of these external substances were the answer to my problems.

So, I decided to listen. I had broken myself to the point that death seemed to be near. Suicide isn’t just a gun to the head. I was committing suicide every day that I put harmful drugs into my body, every time I drove a vehicle and didn’t look at the road, every time I neglected my body’s cry for love and nutrients. I had killed myself so many times, I was ready to let go. I had put myself through enough.

What I needed was for someone to force me to face myself. I needed reality.

The question was, “how”? How do I even begin healing myself? I was extremely fearful to ask for help. I had mentioned my eating problems to family members and some friends, but its not their fault that its a little bit difficult to take a seemingly thin and healthy girl seriously when she says she’s addicted to food. And how silly, we need food to live, how could one possibly get rid of an addiction like this even if it did exist? Other than the food addiction, I didn’t want to share the rest. I didn’t want my sweet, innocent, clean-cut family to see what I was truly going through. I didn’t want them knowing how broken I was. I was smiley Kylie, as my dad had always called me. I didn’t want them to worry, I didn’t want to hurt them.

I knew I wanted to get clean from everything. No more binge drinking, no more binge eating, no more diet pills, no more cocaine, no more adderall, no more texting and driving, no more pain pills, no more antidepressants. NO MORE. I knew this wasn’t going to be easy, and if there’s one downfall to having an extremely kind and sensitive support group, its that they’re not very good at watching you go through pain. It’s a family member’s instinct to see a problem, and solve it, with love, with hugs and kisses, and comfort. Sometimes love can even cause us to avoid truth, and seek happiness and soothing first as opposed sometimes necessary honesty. I appreciate and love my family and close friends for the love and support they gave. I hold nothing against any of them, as they’ve all always given me more love than I could ask for, and have always done their very best to make my life incredible.

But I didn’t need a hug. I didn’t need comfort. I didn’t want to numb my pain anymore.

What I needed was for someone to force me to face myself. I needed reality.

I needed truth.

And he showed up, just in time…