I used to eat a lot. I wasn’t exactly happy but the high carbs and sugars kept me full of energy and motivation. My brain worked. However, when I hit puberty I didn’t understand why girls weren’t all over me. Instead of realizing there was nothing wrong and it was just my perception that was holding me back, I decided to blame my body weight.
After struggling with yo-yo diets, I had finally started to starve myself in college. I began to document it in a LiveJournal which I was hoping it would give me the exposure I needed to become a news celebrity (’cause that’s gonna get me women.) It didn’t work but I did lose a lot of weight and kick start my male pattern baldness at the age of 19. It also gave me weird circulation problems and mood swings. My hands and feet were always cold as a corpse that before going to job interviews I would always make a conscious effort to warm up my paws before giving someone a handshake. I had a short temper and at times I would catch myself not being myself. I would either be sullenly slumped in a corner or the biggest asshole on this side of Lake Ontario. Often friends and family would be upset with me and I would forget what I had done. I felt like the abusive husband, spinelessly apologizing to his wife in those PSA ads for domestic violence. I chalked it up as this being my shitty character flaw and I was fucked.
I lived with these symptoms for decades. I started to eat better but because of my foray in anorexia, I had learned to suppress hunger pains which would cause me to forget to eat. I would drink a lot of coffee which also suppressed my hunger but also accelerated my heart rate which I thought was good because it gave me energy. This energy also came with extreme anxiety that I medicated with weed. Amongst my pothead friends, I gained the ridiculous reputation of being the guy who never gets the munchies. On top of all of this, my erratic behavior was getting worse and worse.
With all the caffeinated anxiety and THC-laced paranoia, there was no way I could maintain a relationship with anyone. I couldn’t deal with dating and the few friends who would put up with me would get sick of my chronic flakiness. Family was always a source of unconditional love but they were struggling with their own problems. Ironically, it wasn’t until I started to pay attention to their health problems that I was able to identity my own.
Everyone in my family has type 2 diabetes. Both my parents struggle with it and my sisters were diagnosed with gestational diabetes after they had kids. In case you don’t know, type 2 diabetes is the one you don’t need to inject insulin for. It’s partly from genetics and mainly from a shitty diet/rough life. The poor man’s disease. Everyone told me that if I didn’t watch out, I would get it. I accepted the inevitability but always assumed it would happen when I’m old and gray. I would get yearly check ups from my doctor and everything seemed fine so I paid no heed.
Just as I lost my hair prematurely, all of these mood swings were pre-diabetic symptoms and I was on the edge of getting full blown type 2. It’s called hypoglycemia and explains a lot of my problems with bad circulation and horrible mood swings. I was just hungry and human beings need to eat.
As I am typing this an alarm is sounding off on my phone reminding me that it is time to eat. To deal with my disassociation of hunger with hunger pains, I use a small app (3 Hour Diet) on my phone to remind me to eat and drink enough water throughout the day. As stupid as it sounds, it has helped me manage my hypoglycemia. Incidentally, eating every 3 hours is what you are supposed to do to keep your metabolism in check. Doing that and getting the right exercise everyday has helped me become a little less of a psycho which I’m sure the people around me appreciate. In fact, it has allowed me to be around people instead of shutting myself in.
Part of me wishes I (or a medical practitioner) had figured this out a decade ago but I also know dwelling on the past and blaming others is worthless. I’m happy that I was finally able to identify my weaknesses and treat it properly. I’m much more optimistic about life and excited to focus on my career and relationships that were being neglected do to my ailments.
To summarize; Mortal Kombat taught me that knowledge is power and GZA from the Wu-Tang Clan preached that knowledge of self is the ultimate power. These are both Westernized, pop culture versions of ancient Eastern philosophies that I wish more people would take to heart. The struggle of life is never over but it’s important to keep on fighting.
Deconstruct everything around you so you can learn to build a propitious future.