Hey there! I’m Brian, the owner of Substance For You, and a male with a prior eating disorder. I struggled with anorexia, and over exercising, for a few years into my early recovery from alcohol and drugs. I got to devilishly low weights, but I still felt like I looked fat; which was a little bit of body dysmorphia. Today I’m healthy, but I do remember a time when putting food into my mouth, seeing it, or talking about it just plain hurt and caused me to get even sicker.
For years I struggled with drugs and alcohol. Among this time, I had gone from skinny too skinnier. And then, when I found my first bit of recovery I seemed to turn to food as a crutch and over ate. So this wasn’t the part of my story where I dealt with anorexia, but we are getting close.
As many of you know, many addicts replace things like drugs with food. I did that for a while and got up to a dangerous 320 pounds right after detox. I spent 18 months like this and then relapsed on heroin, alcohol, weed, and pills. I gained another 10 or so pounds in just that month of my relapse and my liver was so swollen there was nothing that was going to fix it but death or completely recovering.
I only spent a month in that relapse, and as some of you know my full recovery date from drugs and alcohol is Christmas 2010. During this time, I had a negative self-image, I couldn’t sleep, and worried to the point that I couldn’t get over seeing myself as an ogre, while having PTSD flashbacks of when I was skinny and all of the women loved me! Pretty soon the body dysmorphia took over and I kept hearing from the people around me that I was a so called, “Fat ass!” Or at least that’s what I thought they were calling me. What happened next was something that I never thought would happen…
I started back at a University soon, right around 2012, and wanted to get into shape so no one would know me as the obese Brian. That’s when I began starving myself at 300-600 calories a day on a good day, and less than 300 on an even worse day. I also dove right into the highest intensity workouts I could handle at that huge body weight, and then when I could handle it, I did two extreme workouts a day. I was eating minimal calories and some days only a protein shake or ensure just to make sure I was at least awake. During these days I was drinking ensure and burning right around 2000+ calories a day. It was unhealthy and I was addicted to the OCD that anorexia perplexed me with! Plus, the new high that working out gave me was unreal.
During the next 11 months I'd moved to the University and started more high intensity workouts, and tried to make it through the day without blacking out. It was taking a serious toll on my mental health, and eventually, I was down to about 120-125 pounds less than what I was before; in only 11 months.
My body was deteriorating at an enormous rate, and so was my mind. I had one last night, the night before final exams at the University, and then I snapped! My body let down and I couldn’t move without hurting. My psyche also collapsed due to the pain, and although I did try to eat at this point because I knew something was wrong… it just plain hurt to put food in my system. Every time after that for a little over a year I would usually dry heave or hurt when I tried to get food into me, relying on mass calorie drinks to get me by.
I ended up with an auto-immune disorder that was caused by the lack of food and proper nutrients. It left me nearly dead, as 1-100,000 get this rare condition. I had full body nerve damage, chronic tremors and migraines, as well as tics and debilitating suicidal tendencies. These suicidal tendencies came on because I couldn't bear the pain, ended me up at an inpatient stay in a mental hospital over my third year clean, Christmas break. I had a complete break from reality and was told that I was threatening to “do it, or else they could do it for me!” I was completely manic, not sleeping, not eating, and living on a dangerous path. And although the mental institution did nothing for me in the short term, they did stabilize me from killing myself and enabled me to get back into working out with a professional trainer to put weight and muscle back on. This eventually led me to being able to eat meats and protein again.
After I started working out with a personal trainer 5 days a week, I haven’t looked back. I continually strength train and make sure to drink enough water and eat enough protein and proper nutrients. It wasn’t easy but I knew I needed a support system. That support system came through my parents and my trainers at the gym who were very good at their job. Eventually I gave back in and started to drink less water again thinking I was holding too much body retention of water… but I found a woman that I married who drilled it into my brain about the essentials of food and hydration! Plus, she makes some pretty badass Filipino food because she is from there!
Today I couldn’t be happier, as I went from barely being able to lift myself, to a power lifting machine and one of the most muscular guys at the gym! I’m a beast, but I'm also careful of not overdoing it! I just got off a 10-day complete de-load from the gym where I did nothing except rest and get my body full of nutrients and restored my hormones right! I know my limits now, but I didn’t always.
I’m Brian, and I survived anorexia. Just for today, I am healthy, clean, and eating right! AMEN!