Brian Kearney: I Was An Eating Disorder Pro

Brian Kearney
Twitter: @kearneybrian
I was always a bigger kid growing up. I wouldn’t say fat, because I was always playing sports and physically active, just big enough to give off the impression that said “Don’t mess with me because I could probably kick your ass.” I never thought twice about what I ate or how I looked because when you are younger, that stuff doesn’t necessarily matter yet.

I was about fourteen years old when I realized I wasn’t like all the other guys I hung out and played sports with for seven years. They started talking about girls and who they thought was “hot”. I had never felt attracted to females and it was at that point I realized I was gay.

After coming to that realization, the following months were filled with anxiety and such panic that I thought for sure I would have a heart attack or mental breakdown. I am an only child but I am also the only male in my family, meaning it is my responsibility to keep my family’s last name going by pro-creating with a female. Obviously, that wasn’t an option for me.

I wasn’t like other gay people I saw portrayed on TV or other places. I was, and still am, very masculine.  I believe it is because of my masculinity and personality that I never had an encounter with a bully or any other form of mistreatment, thank god.

I started to find out that the gay world, not the entire LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender)community, is a cruel, judgmental and catty place. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.  That is what sparked my eating disorder. I wanted to be perfect like the gay guys that were shown in the media.
It started out as a small thing; just to lose some weight. My schedule did not have any free space to pencil in a gym visit and quite frankly, who wouldn’t want to eat whatever they wanted and still lose weight. Being bulimic was so much easier.

Then, it became a way of coping for me. It became the way I escaped my anxiety. I noticed how using my eating disorder behaviors made me feel numb and I liked it. I always made sure I had a way to use them and I got good at it. Obviously my thinking was distorted in many ways. I thought I was an “eating disorder pro” – until I got caught.

My parents immediately placed me into a rehab facility. What a horrible feeling it was, to lose something I cherished so much. Unfortunately, my eating disorder still had the best of me and I manipulated the staff as well as my parents. Eventually, after about twenty days, my parents signed me out of the facility, thinking I was cured of my addiction.

Of course, I went right back to my eating disorder behaviors. This time, I made sure I kept it a secret. Little did I know, my downward spiral was just beginning. I missed over 150 days of my high school career and was in treatment centers two more times, once at the age of sixteen and again at eighteen. I was also in the hospital for fainting and having a seizure; that’s what not eating for three days can do to someone.

Now, I am twenty years old and happy to say that I am free from my eating disorder. When I look in the mirror now, I have no problem with what I see. I realize that how I thought I looked back when I was sick was the opposite of what people saw me as.

It’s funny, because I actually realize that I’m kind of good-looking and have been the whole time.

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Copyright Ark Stories 2011


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