The purpose in sharing my food addiction story is to help other people who turn to food, as their “personal” drug of choice, to escape the pains and hurts that our peers do not understand about our learning disabilities, especially my Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).
Due to my peers in my life, and how disrespectful and hateful they were towards me, their hateful behavior triggered the disorder of “emotional eater” from about 15 years old to the recent age of 30 years old. The main reason I turned to food as a “drug” was the results of my peers bulling because I was weird, strange, and different. They really could not understand what my mind and personality was like. They judged me on my behavior, or they did not like that I was intelligent and smart, making them look different. I had really bad social skills, still do, which in return; I could not develop healthy friendships or relationships outside of my family. I came on too strong and scared people too fast (impatience), by being so strong and detailed, expressing my thoughts and feelings, good or bad. This be behavior is the results of ADHD. Because I was rejected by people and trying to build relationship with both male and females, I escaped the hurt and pain of rejection by returning to my food addiction.
To understand my personality traits, we need to understand the characteristic from an ADD/ADHD person’s point of view. “The [characteristics] traits [are] inattention, impulsiveness, restlessness, daydreaming, lack of social skills, enthusiasm, hyperactivity, and difficulty in finishing projects are descriptive of successful and creative people as well as ‘ADDers.’ People diagnosed with ADHD score higher on creativity tests, and highly creative people are more hyperactive than the norm. Similar physical brain differences have even been identified for the two groups. Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin, Nikola Tesla and Mozart are thought to have been Attention Deficit Disordered.” (Born to Explore: The Other Side of ADHD, “Evolution, Creativity and ADD.”
When someone, like me, has either ADD or ADHD, professionals also say that the diagnostic criteria for ADD and ADHD (ADD with hyperactivity) people are also fidgety, losing things, talking excessively, difficulty following instructions, easily distracted, poor attention span, often interrupting others, often shifting activity from one uncompleted activity to another. Other websites contains a typical professional description of ADD/ADHD people, which states, “the cup is half full.”
There is a positive side of people with ADD/ADHD, which studies can not positively back up creativity and ADD/ADHD are linked, but is possible, they work together. “ADDers are often cited in the literature as being highly enthusiastic, energetic, goal oriented and good at trouble-shooting, although these traits are not listed in the diagnostic criteria. They thrive on experiencing a greater variety of what life has to offer. They are good when directions aren’t included (ADDers can’t read instructions anyway). They are intuitive. They are exceptional with computers because computers don’t come with instructions and the results are immediate. The impulsiveness of ADD is an asset at the computer because the ADDer is curious. They are creative and they are explorers.”
Below is from the website: Born to Explore: The Other Side of ADHD, “Evolution, Creativity and ADD,” http://www.borntoexplore.org/evolve.htm#creativity.
Thom Hartmann views the ADDer as a Hunter in a Farmer’s world. Theinformation below shows the negative ‘Disorder’ View, followed by Hartmann’s more positive perspective. From Attention Deficit Disorder – A Different Perception.
Disorder Perspective: Distractible. The ADD as a Natural Adaptive Trait, “The Hunter”: Constantly monitoring environment.
Disorder Perspective: Attention span is short, but can become Intensely focused for long periods of time. The ADD as a Natural Adaptive Trait, “The Hunter”: Able to throw themselves into the chase on a moment’s notice.
Disorder Perspective: Poor planner, disorganized and impulsive (makes snap decisions). The ADD as a Natural Adaptive Trait, “The Hunter”: Flexible; ready to change strategy quickly.
Disorder Perspective: Distorted sense of time: unaware of how long it will take to do something. The ADD as a Natural Adaptive Trait, “The Hunter”: Tireless: capable of sustained drives, but only when “hot on the trail” of some goal.
Disorder Perspective: Impatient. The ADD as a Natural Adaptive Trait, “The Hunter”: Results oriented. Acutely aware of whether the goal is getting closer now.
Disorder Perspective: Doesn’t convert words into concepts adeptly, and vice versa. May or may not have a reading disability. The ADD as a Natural Adaptive Trait, “The Hunter”: Visual/concrete thinker, clearly seeing a tangible goal even if there are no words for it.
Disorder Perspective: Has difficulty following instructions. The ADD as a Natural Adaptive Trait, “The Hunter”: Independent.
Disorder Perspective: Daydreamer. The ADD as a Natural Adaptive Trait, “The Hunter”: Bored by mundane tasks; enjoy new ideas, excitement, “the hunt,” being hot on the trail.
Disorder Perspective: Acts without considering consequences. The ADD as a Natural Adaptive Trait, “The Hunter”: Willing and able to take risks and face danger.
Disorder Perspective: Lacking in the social graces. The ADD as a Natural Adaptive Trait, “The Hunter”:
“No time for niceties when there are decisions to be made!”
My unique personality traits, other than ADHD, are artistic minded, making me different from other people. Some peers do not understand my ways. I am very artistic in my way of expressing myself to people freely, openly, and fast. I also, liked drawing artwork in my childhood, which I am not that good at artwork, freehand stuff. I was good on the computer when I took some drafting courses in high school and I loving drawing house floor plans. I was intelligent in writing as I matured into my teenage years. I could express my strong thoughts and feelings in written form, like poetry. In addition, I still write poetry, when I am inspired, and I do write in detail, like telling a novel or movie script. I could, and still do remember detailed facts when watching documentaries or other forms of media. Last, I took guitar lessons to express my artistic mind. I sung in Chorus in Middle school, which I can not carry a tone now. Last, I can create music on piano, and I never took lessons. However, I do not play by ear on the piano.
I found out that I am cinematography minded, too. I can relate to the writer, director, and artist, Tim Burton, which he has a learning disability, which has been speculated, in the media, that he has bipolar distorter when he talked to a media source in the past years. Like many learning disabilities, people are very artistic, creative and unique, like Tim Burton and me.
The motion films that comes in my mind from Tim Burton’s career, which reflects his personality, creativity, and uniqueness are, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (2005), BIG FISH (2003), THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993), BATMAN RETURNS (1992), EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (1990), BATMAN (1989), and BEETLEJUICE (1988), and that’s just naming a few films he was involved. I grew up watching Burton Films as a kid and adult. I remember watching BATMAN and EDWARD SICSSORHANDS, the first movies I seen from Burton’s career at age 9 and 10. I fell in love with his storytelling or directing as I matured. Tim Burton is one of my favorite writers, directors, and artist in the Motion Film Industry due to his personality.
Like some other critics of Burton, they do not understand Tim Burton’s ways of creativity and uniqueness. They think he may be strange or weird in his creative mind. Which Burton can come out to be strange and weird to those that do not understand his way of thinking, his imagination. I understand his uniqueness. I am like Time Burton in some ways, I may not be famous, or come close to his creativity of strangeness and weird imagination, which some people may see him weird, strange, and different, but I understand his personality. I may seem strange, weird, or different like how some people see Time Burton, because how I come across to people is different. I am intelligent. I express myself freely, openly, and fast (impatience), but that is my personality traits, which is traced back to ADHD traits.
Back to my childhood, I did not see that I was weird, strange, and different. I thought I was a normal kid from birth to my first teenage years. I loved video cameras. I loved movies, and still do. I love being creative in communication, in my on way, with the ability to express myself in art, poetry, storytelling, music, and cinematography. When I got into middle school in the mid-1990s, in North Carolina, life took a turn for the worst for me.
Some of my peers started to bully me, I came across to them as weird, strange, and different. To them I was really different. I believe they were jealous, too. They saw my strengths but also they bullied my weakness of my personality. They did not understand my personality qualities. When the bulling started, I turned to food, food was my personal “drug.” I escaped the pains and hurt with eating food. From middle school to January 2011, I gained about 150 pounds in body weight. I became an emotional eater for 15 years old, roughly. Before middle school I was a cute and handsome little kid, which I do not see that quality, I never thought I was cute and handsome.
Since I gained so much body weight, my confidence went down, pretty fast. I withdrew from my peers. At times, I withdrew from some friends and family members. Most of the time I stayed close to my teachers, coaches, close friends, and my family.
During my full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I was in the safe comfort zone of serving my Lord and personal Savior, Jesus Christ. I was safe from the emotional eating addiction. However, the transition back into the real world, from my mission, I begin to go deeper into my emotional eating addiction. I gained more weight after my mission.
After my church mission, I was hurting due to some of my peers. Some peers thought I was still weird, strange, and different because of my social skills behavior that cames from my learning disabilities of ADHD, and how I expressed myself openly, freely, and fast (impatience).
When attending a local community college, I found my way, myay to use my creativity and uniqueness. I studied Film and Video Production Technology at Piedmont Community College – Caswell County Campus located in north central North Carolina from 2003-2005. There I learned hands-on skills about motion picture in the art form of filmmaking. I graduated with a GPA 3.52, which was Honors in the program. I was an Outstanding Student when I graduated.
In 2005, I could not find a job in my field of study. I applied for hundreds of jobs, including my career of study. However, I ended up in the security field, weeks after my college graduation. That job was part-time and was 3rd shift work, which made me feel like I was not worth anything. And, that was another insecurity I was dealing with for a while in my life. This security company had payroll issues and I was not paid in full for the 3 months I was employed there. That stress from that issue made me go into the addiction of food even deeper. I could not deal with being treated with the disrespect from that employer. I did quit that job and started to work for a local university.
While working at the university, as a security guard as a part-time, 3rd shift position, I took a pay cut and hours. I felt insecure about having this part-time job, too. I was dealing with the addiction of food as well. While working at Elon University I had the opportunity to get my Commercial Driver License-Class B to drive a public school bus. Which I did complete the free course. Sometime after, I became part of Guilford County Schools, based in Greensboro, North Carolina, as a part-time school bus driver.
From April 2006 to the present time I have worked for Guilford County Schools. During this time I became full-time, with benefits. I continued to deal with my food addiction. At the time same time the stressful issues of my job, mainly how rude some children are with adults, how disrespectful some children are, it was like living back in my school years of my youth. Deep down, which I did not realize at that moment, I could not deal with the stress of my job. I continued to have that addiction issue with food.
I had a few insecurities I was still dealing with like my current job, which my co-workers told me that I am so intelligent and smart, “Why are you a school bus driver?” Well, you see, the Lord put me in my current job because the economy was about to go down hill. The most important thing the Lord did, he put me in this job because I had impatience qualities in my life. Also, my insecurity of this current job made me feel low and depressed, lack of confidence. I thought I would not find a female that would accept me because of my job status. I thought she would not want me because of this job. I have always thought, in my mind, woman wants a good looking, handsome guys with good job. That was a mental insecurity I had for years. Because I was insecure about that issue, I continued to dwell in my food addiction.
The biggest insecurity was my body weight and how people looked at me. Some people did not see past my imperfections of my physical looks and my learning disabilities of ADHD. Once some people took their time, patience, and persistence with me, people got to know me very well, they began to understand me, past my issues of my imperfections, physically or personality. I know people can see I am strong willed and come on too strong at times. That is why I tend to overwhelm them or scare them off.
You see, my personality made me stubborn, hardheaded, and very impatience. I told myself I would NOT ever change my ways, no matter what type of relationship I had with myself. Nevertheless, the Lord proved me wrong, eight years later, after my church mission.
Eight years later, in 2010, while my half-brother, Jared Gentry, who was 20 years old at the time, he took charge of his life. He wanted to get help with his addiction issues, that was my turning point for me. Watching my baby brother change his heart, which the Lord took his time, patience, and persistence with Jared, until Jared was ready to listen to the Lord. The Lord used that experience to change my heart.
Watching Jared change his life, the Lord broke my insecurity walls. I begin to love myself for me, no matter if I come across people awkwardly, differently, weird, and strange. Yes, I am working daily on my social skills, along with my learning disabilities of ADHD traits. I accepted who I am recently. Because I accepted who I was, the Lord knew I was ready to have “A Mighty Change of Heart” for myself.
The Lord brought me a blessing in the form of Isagenix, which was developed by church member of my Faith in 2002. This nutritional system aids you to become healthier. In return you do drop body weight. Since early January 2011, I started my path of “A Might Change of Heart” by taking control of my health. My confidence has improved lately. I am loving my life, no matter how people betray my unique personality.
The only approval I need, it’s from my Lord, my Redeemer, my Savior, and my Healer, Jesus Christ and my Father in Heaven. Without the pure love of Jesus Christ and my Father in Heaven, I would not be were I am today. Jesus Christ was beside me, working on me over my lifetime. He had patience with me. In addition, he was very persistence with me. We, as people, need to do the same thing. We need to help those who are struggling with any issues, no matter how big or small. We need be there for them, often, being patient and persistent. Over time, they will open up and will want our help and the Lord’s help.
I thought I would not have “A Mighty Change of Heart” because I was hardheaded, stubborn, stuck in my ways, and impatience, which being impatience has gotten the best of me, digging holes that were hard to get out in my personal and professional life. However, with the pure love of Jesus Christ, He has changed my life for the better. I love people, for who they are, even more. I have always loved a person’s personality and not what they look like physically, or what struggles they are dealing with daily. What attracts me to these wonderful people, it’s their personality and their divined potential of Sons and Daughters of their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
In Closing, I’m grateful that I have found my purpose in life, to share this story about my struggle with emotional eating, which was my personal “drug” of choice, my addiction. Now, the Lord has taken away my insecurity walls. He has allowed me to be “free” from hating myself, in some ways. I accepted who I am. I know I will not be perfect. Nevertheless, I say to myself, which we need to say to ourselves, “Trying is not failing!” Without the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I would be totally lost. I love my Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I know Jesus Christ is the only person that will change anyone’s heart. He has changed my heart for me. He will change your heart, even if you say you will NEVER change your ways because of pride, being hardheaded, and stubbornness. You need to be humble enough to listen to His council. Once your heart is broken down from life experiences and struggles, then Christ will do “A Might Change of Heart” for you. He is always there. He does not give up on you. He is persistent in His pure Love. You see, you will only give up on yourself. Once you are ready and humble, you will have “A Might Change of Heart” through the tender mercies of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
A note from Michael Lantz
Robert has been using the Isagenix Nutritional Cleansing and Fat Burning System since January 5, 2011. Through March 29, 2011 he has released 31 pounds and 43 inches! Current Weight: 286
It has been an honor for me to get to know Robert. He’ll bless many more lives because he cares about others. Once people are able to see through him and see his heart, they recognize what an outstanding young man he is.
Robert has had many right answers come into his life since he started to see results using the Isagenix system. His health has improved but his outlook on life has completely changed. He is transforming into an awesome man!
This is my life’s mission to help people like Robert and open up the flood gates of possibility in their life.