So what is it that I want to be taken away from this? Why did I share such deeply personal and disturbing things with readers I don’t even know? Why? Because I want to share what I wish someone would have told my parents when I was in the thick of my disease.
One of the biggest regrets I have is how much I hurt my family and loved ones with my deceit. I betrayed their trust and lied to them. Meanwhile, they felt helpless, out of control, wondering what they could do. Wondering how they could snap me out of it.
And sadly, you can’t just “snap her our of it.” Anorexia is all-encompassing. It takes every ounce, every fiber of your loved one and turns it against her. She is no longer herself. And don’t think for a second that it has anything to do with you. She’s not doing this to herself as a way to punish you, or to pay you back for something you did or didn’t do. No. You can let that fear go, because honestly, this has nothing to do with you. She’s doing this to herself because of an inner voice that’s got a grip on her. An inner Lie that is louder than anything else. That Lie dictates her life – it is the first thing that she hears when she wakes up and the last thing she thinks about as she falls asleep. It is the Lie that nourishes her body and drives her to self destruct. The weight loss is merely a symptom or manifestation of the Lie’s impact on her inner self. That’s why people say, “Anorexia’s not about the food or the weight.” It’s about the Lie. And sadly, the only person that can silence that voice and that Lie is her. Not you. Not her best friend. Not her doctor. Not the priest. Only. Her. And let me tell you, the only way I muffled it (I can’t say it will ever be silent) is with the help of Jesus. But that’s another post.
What I want you to take away from this, is that she is the only one that can discredit and silence the broken record in her mind that is feeding her the Lie. That will be the only way recovery is possible. And she will have to make the conscious decision to silence the Lie every single day for the rest of her life. Sad, but oh so very true.
Here’s what else you can take away from this: everyone’s Lie is different. They all have a similar slant, but just like each girl’s ED is different, so is the Lie that is feeding it. And that’s where the work comes in. To beat the disease, you have to:
A) name the Lie B) discredit the Lie and C) replace it with the truth.
This is no walk in the park. For me, my Lie was that in order to be loved, I had to be perfect. Sounds inanely simple, but it took a long ass time to figure that one out. This sounds really conceited, but growing up with straight A’s, getting the lead in every show I auditioned for, being a successful athlete, blessed with friends and good looks, winning awards and scholarships, the bar kept getting higher and higher. And the perfectionist in me wouldn’t allow me to quit or fail…because I was “better than that.” – I always had to keep achieving, keep striving. I felt like I had all these balls up in the air, and the eating disorder was, to me, a way to forfeit by default. I didn’t quit, but rather, was disqualified. It was a way out. Like the red “emergency stop button” on a treadmill. That was my Lie. That was my inner dark voice telling me that my self-worth was tied to those accomplishments. I was not loved for who I was as a person. No. Perfection was the only way to be loved.
If you want to really help your daughter or loved one heal from this disease, you’ve got to help her figure out her Lie. How? That’s the million dollar question….And that’s coming up later this week.