Guest Blog: Matt's Story
When I launched Orthorexia Bites, I hoped to connect with other individuals like myself. The ones who defy the stereotypes and stigmas associated with eating disorders and mental health. Recently, I connected with a man who courageously shared his story with me. A story that resonates with me. Our individual battles connected us and I am so glad to now call him a friend. With that said, please join me in welcoming Matt to the Orthorexia Bites family. Here is his story.
My name is Matt, and I suffer from an addiction. No, not a typical vice, like alcohol, drugs, or gambling. This addiction does not fit neatly into a single term or diagnosis. It rears its ugly head in many ways, keeping me constantly on my toes to change my strategy for recognizing it and combating it. Starting in my childhood, it loomed in the shadows during my adolescence but manifested more frequently and severely in the past several years. At my lowest point, in November 2020, it contributed to if not resulted directly in me being hospitalized in the neuro-ICU over a weekend amid a global pandemic. It has caused pain, mentally and physically to not only myself, but by extension my spouse, my parents, my friends, and other family members. My wife felt helpless at times, unable to open my eyes to the damage I was doing to myself and our relationship. My parents lost sleep; fearfully waiting to get another call that I had been re-admitted to the hospital, or even worse. While the fault rests on no one and is rather the outcome of a confluence of many factors over several years, many have tried to take the blame for it or find fault with themselves as a result of it, especially me and my spouse. Sometimes it takes the form of OCD tendencies. At other times it shows up as an unfailing, habitual addiction to the exertion of my body through exercise. It can manifest in general anxiety or overthinking a situation or even a single decision. It ebbs and flows with time; its tactics constantly evolving.
My name is Matt, and I have an eating disorder. And while it brought me closer to danger and even death than I’d ever want to acknowledge, while it brought me to the lowest of lows and inflicted suffering on myself and more regrettably others that bore the consequences, I’m still standing.
I reluctantly began recovery in December 2020. It has not been easy. There are no quick fixes or simple solutions. I struggle daily. I have had highs, and I have had lows, but through it all, I have learned more about myself, my mindset, and my capabilities than I ever imagined. I have been trusting the process (for the most part…) through the present and will so for the foreseeable future, perhaps throughout the rest of my life. Every day presents a new challenge. Starting recovery was the first step of many. I will fight the fight and adjust my tactics daily just as my disorder does, to maintain my edge.
In the months that have followed my support squad (spouse, family, therapist, nutritionist, PCP to name a few!) and I have seen material, noticeable progress. I feel more positive and happier than I ever have. I feel freer mentally and physically from my prior habits and dysfunctional mindset than I ever thought I could be. I’m gaining back control of my life and as a result, seeing inner beauty in myself and the world at large. Recovery is a journey, and it will be a lifelong one, but it’s more worthwhile than any past endeavor I’ve undertaken. I’m still fighting daily, but at the same time, I acknowledge that now is the right time to open to others about it. To possibly lend support or a listening ear. To connect with others going through similar struggles regardless of what stage they are at in their own process. To make good out of a bad situation. To learn from others while hopefully teaching and supporting them. To make a positive impact in someone else’s life, and in some small way, to thank everyone who has and will continue to support me. To spread some of the love I’ve received from others and make it grow.
My name is Matt, I have an eating disorder. I am on the road to recovery, and I’m here for the long haul, to fight my fight, and join others in their battle.
I would love to hear your thoughts and anyway I can help. I would also like to keep in touch as I continue my journey.
Feel free to contact Matt directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.