How Did I Recover?

I’ve been sitting, staring at this blank page for about 2 hours now.

Granted, I’ve taken a few breaks to peruse Buzzfeed, watch a Korean makeup video, and get ready for bed, but let’s face it. I’ve got writer’s block.

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Which royally stinks.

So I’m going to go back to my roots here tonight. Return to why I started this blog in the first place.

Sometimes, when I think back to when I was in the throes of anorexia, it catches my breath. Thinking about all the ways I was ruled by this menacing dictator in my head: ED. Days were calculated to the minute. Choices and moments were heightened, inducing high stakes anxiety attacks. I was in the most extreme vortex of panic, all the time. About food. Exercise. Movement. Calories. Body image. Fear. Stress. Routines. Schedules. Secrecy.

I was trapped. A prisoner in my own disordered mind.

And honestly, thinking back to how entrenched I was – truly, in every sense of that word — completely consumed, suffocated, — I honestly cannot believe that I escaped. Because during that time, I would have never thought that freedom from that state of strangulation was possible. The thought of being recovered, it was simply unimaginable. Overwhelming to consider. It seemed completely unattainable.

And I don’t think I’m alone in that. For a lot of girls trapped in an eating disorder, imagining a life free from ED is downright impossible. Just the thought of the next meal is enough to send you into a full-blown panic attack, so the thought of a recovered life where you eat without fear, have a healthy body, and accept who you are…it’s simply out of the realm of possibilities.

So how then, did I do it?

I think that’s the question I get asked the most. How did I break free? How did I embrace recovery when I was so sick.

And I know, the answer “It was God” is enough to give you eye strain from the severity of the eye roll it solicits.

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But here’s the truth.

It only takes one baby step. One decision. One choice: I am going to begin the journey of recovery.

One moment of looking up and saying, “help.” Because that’s it – you don’t have to have all the steps figured out yet. You won’t. Guaranteed. You won’t know what you will need, how you will do it, what tools/strategies/methods/obstacles/detours you will need along the way, but that’s okay. You don’t have to.

Because that’s where God comes in.

That’s what I mean when I say, “It was God.”

All I had to do was make the decision to try. To begin. To start.

It’s like that scene in Aladdin (I know, I’m a sucker for classic Disney. Don’t give me none of this Pixar crap…)

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Aladdin takes a step off of Jasmine’s balcony, and as he’s about to fall, the magic carpet swoops in and gives him footing.

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God will give you what you need for the journey. He’ll give you everything necessary to succeed.

But I had to give Him my “yes.” I had to choose to begin.

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Were there days that I slipped up? 100%. Heck, I had a period where I relapsed. Hard.

Where was God then? 

Well I’ll tell ya. God’s not the welfare system. I mean, He is...Grace is the biggest “government” handout we’ll ever be privileged enough to receive.

But – we have to actively work, too.

I had to make the conscious decision every day to stick to recovery. I always have. Always will.

But when I choose to make that decision, and ask for help, I get it. Every time.

So that how “I did it.” That’s how I broke free.

I said yes, He provided the way.

Now…back to those Korean make up videos…

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*And a huge thank you and shoutout to Fr. Mike for being my inspiration for this piece 🙂

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279 thoughts on “How Did I Recover?

  1. Thank you Alex for liking my blog. You’re the first non-family member to like. I am spanking brand new to the blogging world and have a ton to learn, but like you said in this post…you just have to start! Thank you for sharing with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a hard question to answer! I’m surprised you only suffered two hours of writer’s block when trying to describe such a tremendous and personal struggle… Something like a journey through ED recovery defies the limitations of language. If I’d known what was in store for me when I first walked in to see a psychologist for help with my depression, how I would gradually reveal all of my secrets, and the total destruction of my life that would follow (which was necessary before the reconstruction could begin), I never would have taken that first step. In the Catechism, it says that God reveals himself to humans gradually, because if he revealed himself all at once we wouldn’t be able to bear the tremendous was and awesomeness of his power and glory. I am so glad that he also only shows us enough of the path ahead that we can *just* take the next step. If I knew everything that was coming, I think my head would explode! I really loved reading this post. What honest reflections on a topic that defies words, and a wonderful reminder to trust, to surrender, and to let the one who creates us do just that – keep creating us. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. OH MY GOODNESS. I’ve only just discovered your blog today, and already I’m sitting here reading closing to all your posts. Your writing skills are very down to earth, conversational whilst also getting be plain truth across.

    This is helping me to see the logical side of my ED obsession, and already I am so thankful for every word and the quote you’ve contributed. You actually make me want to read MORE, rather than being triggered half way through an article. Thank you kindly, friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In such like situations I’ve always found it best to in a sense sleep under my shield of positivity. Your fears are more than often worse in your waking hours, so its best to sleep under your shield and to be on the ready for these early morning and waking hour attacks.

    Stay strong in Jesus.

    Above all take the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all of the fiery darts of negativity.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so glad you said God, because when I mention God to others I get the eyes rolling. That’s Ok, because surrendering to God is the biggest step, think of what others are missing out on by not accepting God and His Son Jesus into their lives. God never goes back on His promises,with His Son Jesus on your side, you will triumph and Jesus will give you the strength for each step of the way. Kudos to you Caralyn.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am so proud of you Caralyn, you are such a blessing to us all, comfort in trials and a huge encouragement to us all! sending you lots of love (& maybe some butternut squash ice cream) 😀 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. All HE does require of us is that we acknowledge the fact that we’re in need of help (and that’s the first step) – His help – and like the “Magic Carpet” you mentioned, He swoops in and saves the day. There’s this saying my priest – Fr Jude – is fond of: “God who created you without your consent, cannot save you without your consent.”

    Really good post

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree that chasing after perfection sets you up for failure, shame and guilt! Chasing after Christ not only frees us from the guilt, shame and feelings of failure, but He replaces all that JUNK with life and truth! Keep up the good work!!!! I love your blog and your new open photos of yourself as you reveal more truth about yourself and your relationship with Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I definitely get it! When I struggled with food, God is definitely the one who brought me out of it too. It’d be so nice to say, “Oh, hey, I took this magic pill and suddenly all my struggles were gone…” That’s what people want to hear sometimes. But there is no magic pill. It’s deciding to move forward with your eyes focused on the One who can walk through any storm with us. It’s a journey! But it’s definitely a journey worth taking. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thank you for all your support on my blog. It’s not going unnoticed. You are such a blessing and encouragement. A God sent. We have similar stories and you have a real gift for sharing the truth. Thank you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Was there ever a time in recovery that you had to completely refrain from working out? If so… How did you deal with it? Im battleing quite a few aspects in my recovery… Trying to really get the idea of what real meals look like. Right now… They just look like a chaotic mess to me. Any advice you could give would be amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there! Yes there was. For an entire year-11 months I was actually on bed rest for my ulcerative colitis. And that was really the test for me because I had been clinging to outrageous workouts. And I had to go cold turkey and it absolutely changed everything for me. I learned to trust my body. And I now no longer am enslaved to exercise. I want to encourage you to try it:) know that I am cheering for you and believe in you:) big hugs to you beautiful xox.

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  12. I honestly love reading your blogs, you are an amazing writer and a true inspiration. I don’t know how hard your struggle has been but I do have a husband in his own recovery (for Drug addiction) and me, sort of in a recovery of my own. Keeping sharing your story, you have such a strong message to carry. Thank you xx

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am happy for you for your progress, your freedom. Your trust in God. Who can do things on their own without God’s help? Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.
    I like your Aladdin illustration. I watched Aladdin many times. I also like the song “I don’t know about tomorrow…but I know who holds my hand. Take care. You are an inspiration to a lot of people.

    Like

  14. This post really pinpointed my health and weight journey – even though mine was on the opposite end of yours – overeating and obesity. God has been my strength and I’m giving it all to Him everyday. I love to see how God works in and through our lives. God Bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: How I Recovered from BeautyBeyondBones – cultural atheist

  16. Grace & hard work. Yes. I recall reading an 18th century sermon some years ago (what I do for fun at night…), in which the Episcopal Bishop of Charleston, SC, Robert Smith, preached on the topic of whether we are saved by Grace or Works. His answer was, “Yes, both”. Grace was not a free-pass to continue sinning. Doing good could bring someone to understand grace. Enjoy the gift.
    Oscar

    Liked by 1 person

  17. What you say is so true for anything you want to change. You just need to start walking away from it and God fills in the gaps, the potholes along the road. Looking at it from a mathematical point of view, a few steps might not be a huge change. However, as you keep walking, the gap between where you are now and where you would have been, has noticeably changed. I am not a maths person and I have dreadful spatial awareness but for some reason, that picture has always spoken to me.
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi I read this post and found you a brave person, I know when someone is brave and we don’t have to do big things, sometimes the tiny things we try to do ourselves to recover from an illness or condition it always requires strength and it is indeed a long dark path to foloow; I might be wrong but when I look into your photo I see dark sad eyes, somehow empty and with sorrow… at leat you are brave to post a photo of yourself 🙂 . You know, as for writer’s block, oh dear I have for a couple of years now, can’t manage to finish to write my two novels nor write my poetry 😦 . Just keep fighting, you’re not alone here and as far as I can see you have a lot of support from readers which is great. Wish you all the best

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    • Thank you so much Chez. I appreciate you taking the time to read and respond! You’re right. And thank you for your reflection on my photo! I hope I don’t give off an empty sorrowful vibe, because I am definitely full of hope and joy and gratitude for the healing I’ve received! Haha but I can see how that may have come across. It was more of a stylized photo haha I was having fun with my new camera lol glad you stopped by!Hugs and love xox

      Liked by 1 person

      • BBB sometimes what we think we feel is not what our soul shows, some days I think I am happy but my eyes are still sad and full of sorrow… and when I said that it wasn’t in a negative way, you look great really just the look is sad.. have a lovely weekend xx

        Like

  19. I missed reading your post for a week and was really missing it. I say every post of yours is an inspiration. I am too begging God..to give me that strength to fight a battle. I firmly believe that he has held my hands, its just that the time probably has not come to lift me out of it. I know I have to really work hard.
    I like the quotes above….they mean so much to me and talks of my situation. Thank you love, stay blessed.

    Like

  20. Pingback: How Did I Recover? – Wag 'n Bietjie

  21. Saw you liked one of my poems and instantly followed your blog -very uplifting and glad you’re on amazing journey !!! Your blog is a light and glad I can follow along with a similar journey to my healing process !! Thank you !!

    Like

  22. I saw you like one of my post and instantly followed your blog! Your blog is a light and just by reading a few, it has given me hope to continue my journey in healing and I know your journey has been an amazing one and still going. Again thank you for both sharing your light and appreciating mine -xoxo

    Like

  23. Pingback: How Did I Recover? – Br Andrew's Muses

  24. I really love this. I have lived with bulimia for a very long time and have been in recovery for several years. Daily it is a struggle to not allow myself to fall back into old habits, and trust me it would be easy to do so, but I take each day as it comes and don’t condemn myself in the times that I have relapsed. Thank you for sharing your story x

    Like

  25. Pingback: How Did I Recover? – behindthemask44

  26. always impressed and moved by your work. your real gift that inspires is your creativity and delivery, so each piece really reaches out. I wonder about the road that leads someone to such a terrible place, as you were in, in the first place. How does someone come to slip into such a situation? x

    Like

  27. You know, I started out here on WP.for totally different reasons, and am not sure how I came across your blog. Doesn’t matter. My daughter is an amazing, smart person. She has a very limited diet, but she plays a team sport and I think her diet is holding her back. I think reading some of your posts drove home the point that it is maybe more than a “food pallet”. She pushes herself so hard from the minute she wakes up while school is in session. She literally is going for 15-16 hours straight between school, sports and homework…about double what many working adults do in a week. I know she is very hard on herself, and I am going to start making it a point that her hard work is appreciated, but it’s ok to make a few mistakes. For that matter, she probably learned as much from me about how not to live…made my share of mistakes. Only difference for me today is that I’m not AS MUCH of an idiot today, and don’t dwell on my mistakes for as long now. Anyway I digress…it was sitting here in the quiet morning reading your post that made me think about my daughter. All that to say you have a new follower.

    Like

    • Hey again friend. Wow thank you for this thoughtful response. Gosh, I can definitely relate to that. There were days during high school that I would have to be at school by 6:05 am for various student athlete leadership committees and what not -it was unceasing. And today it’s even more so. The pressures kids face today are unrelenting -and add to that the fact that it’s all broadcast online!! My heart goes out to your daughter. Know that she is in my prayers. I think that’s really wise. Creating an environment where it’s okay to not be *the best* or where messing up is a “step in the growth process” rather than “failure” — that is so vitally important. And thinking about my past-my parents never placed those “perfection” expectations on me-i placed them on myself. If I could tell my high school self one thing it would be, “get B’s and drink a dang beer.” (Not that I condone underage drinking, but for me that went along with the “perfectionism.”) anyway this is long now haha but it sounds like you are an amazing parent and that you have an incredible daughter. Your heart for your daughter is shining so brightly -it is truly beautiful:) feel free to reach out anytime on my email too! Beautybeyondbones@yahoo.com xox

      Liked by 1 person

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