PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020) – When people hear the words anorexia and bulimia, they think of a disorder that affects women. However, many men also suffer from the eating disorders.
One of them is Pittsburgh native Brian Cuban, author of “Shattered,” a book that details his struggles with Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
He joined the KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway to give some insight into his long struggle and how he got help.
Brian, younger brother of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, says it all started with “a very difficult relationship with my mom.”
He says there was, “a lot of fat shaming [by her].”
He says her mother experienced the same thing growing up. It was something “she had done to her by her mom.”
As the “harsh words” continued he became depressed and gained more weight. He says he started getting bullied by kids in junior high and was even, “physically assaulted,” when students ripped off a pair of pants he was wearing and threw them in the street.
He says that was a defining moment when he saw himself, “as sort of the fat kid my mom told me I was and this bullied child who couldn’t stand up for himself.”
He says the depression and bullying progressed until he got to college at Penn State. While there, he started starving himself and became anorexic and bulimic.
Many people think of a female when they hear that someone has anorexia.
“A recent study shows that about 33 percent of those diagnosed with eating disorders are male,” Cuban says.
There is shame and a stigma associated with an eating disorder for both male and female, but Cuban explains that it is different for men.
“Society teaches us we’re leaders, we’re wage-earners, [and] we’re cavemen. We don’t starve ourselves and we don’t binge and purge and those stereotypes unfortunately have not changed much for men,” Cuban says.
Cuban was also dealing with “drug addiction, steroid abuse, two trips to a psychiatric facility and a near suicide attempt.”
He was even hit by a car when he was high on cocaine.
He says what he was trying to do was “change this image in the mirror, [to] give me [a] few seconds of feeling accepted.” He says it is all part of something called Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
He defines the disorder as “taking a non-existent or small defect in your body and exaggerating it to the point where you engage in all these destructive behaviors.”
“For me, I imagined I was this fat pit [with] this huge stomach,” Cuban says.
He says his family tried to help as much as they could, but he says unless the person wants to help themselves, there is nothing anyone can do.
“[I] realized I’m about to lose my family, they can’t cure me. They can’t force me to recovery,” he says of when he decided to get help. “There are limits on [his family’s] willingness to see you destroy yourself if you’re not going to put yourself in a position to recover and I was afraid I was getting to that point that that frankly scared me worse than death.”
Cuban has completely turned his life around since therapy and he says he is very close with his mom.
“I have a mother who was willing to address where she was coming from and step into my recovery and address where she was coming from and the way she was raised,” he says. “Recovery is a process. I live every day as its own lifetime.”
He says he doesn’t blame his mother or the bullies for his problems.
“It’s about understanding. Once you understand, it’s easier to forgive,” he says.
For more information on Brian Cuban visit www.briancuban.com