Warning: This may be hard to read.
Something happened to me today that made me catch my breath.
I was talking with a guy this afternoon, and we were talking about our former high school sweethearts. I pleasantly reminisced about my past, and “edited it” to not include my eating disorder, as I always do. I’m still not at a place yet where I can talk about my ED past openly.
But that’s not the point of this post.
In the next sentence that came out of this guy’s mouth, I literally felt like I got punched in the gut.
He said, “My girlfriend died from anorexia.”
My girlfriend died from anorexia.
My heart dropped. The wind was literally knocked out of me.
He said he got a phone call while he was away at college from her mom, asking him to come to her funeral.
You guys, this post isn’t going to have any flowers or rainbows or sunshine. I know I post witty #RecoverySass on Instagram (@beauty.beyond.bones) that are funny and take a jab at ED. But here’s the truth:
People die from anorexia.
This guy I was talking to, he knew first hand that this eating disorder is deadly.
That conversation was a reminder. A blunt, cold, strike-to-the-chest reminder of that fact.
And maybe, just maybe, you need to hear this. Maybe you need to be reminded of that. A reality check. I know when I was in my disease, I definitely did.
I didn’t think I was going to write about this conversation – it was too “doom and gloom” or “hellfire and brimstone” to post on here. But here’s why I did:
When I was in my disease, I was so preoccupied and absorbed in the little things — in the minuscule details that controlled my life, that I forgot that I was playing with fire. And if I did remember, I didn’t care. I didn’t care that my body was sending me sign after sign after sign that it was in distress: hair falling out, the constant coldness, the purple lips and fingernails, mental fog, brittle nails, thinning bones, an emaciated frame — those were all SOS cries from my body telling me that it was literally shutting down – decaying – slowly dying.
Engaging in your eating disorder is playing with fire. Seriously. Ask this guy. He will tell you.
And you know what else he will tell you? That EDs don’t just affect you.
Sure, right now, all you may be thinking about is the scale and your next meal, and how to get out of it. But hear me when I say this: those actions do not just affect you. His girlfriend’s death affected him. Her mom. Her dad. Her siblings. Her friends. Her community. Her teachers. Her puppy. They have all been left, absolutely shattered – devastated – to go on without this vibrant young woman who was battling the very same disease that I did.
There are people out there that love you, that would be completely wrecked if anorexia took you from them. Because it can.
It is not some game to tinker with in order to fit into short-shorts and crop tops.
It is not some crash diet.
It is a deadly disease.
But here the thing: YOU CAN BEAT IT.
You have the strength and the courage and the heart to reclaim your life from ED, whose only goal is to have you end up just like this girl. That is a very very hard pill to swallow and is incredibly difficult to hear, but guys, it is the truth.
If you need a wake up call, THIS IS IT.
You might be asking how people actually die from anorexia. Well, your body is in a state of starvation. And in order to keep itself alive, it has begun to eat its own muscles for fuel. That’s why your arms and legs become so skeletal: because your muscles are literally deteriorating in an effort to keep you alive. But here’s where the deadliness part kicks in: your organs are muscles too. And so they also deteriorate to make up for the fact that you’re not consuming calories to be used as fuel. And lastly, your heart is a muscle and so it deteriorates and eventually becomes so weak that it just gives out.
Guys, I think you know by now that I am an encourager. An uplifting, positive person. But this is something that is the honest-to-God truth and needs to be heard. And it’s not flowers and rainbows.
I often forget this life-or-death-ness about the disease. But boy, when he told me that, I knew that I just had to share it. I’ll be back with the positivity tomorrow. But right now, I need to share this reality check.
There is hope though: You do not have to do it alone. You may not know how to get out of the ED prison that you find yourself in. You may not know how to shut ED up and focus on the truth.
There is a simple solution: Jesus.
He will come into your heart and help give you the strength and the courage to stand up to ED and make the decision to nourish your body and face fear foods and increases.
And when you let Him into your heart, He will slowly begin to chip away at the walls you’ve built around your heart, and begin to heal the brokenness.
He was the only way that I was able to beat my anorexia.
In all honesty, I could have been the girl in that story. My anorexia was so severe that my story could have ended quite differently. But praise God it didn’t. He saved me. And He will save you, too.
Jesus will get you through this.
I believe in you.