I don’t know what’s in the water here this week…maybe it’s the rainy weather that’s keeping everyone cooped up inside, but for whatever reason, my inbox has been *poppin’* more than usual with messages pertaining to eating disorder recovery.
But I thought tonight I would open up a little bit more about my recovery. Sometimes, I’ll be honest, it’s easy to forget the “roots” of this blog. And when I say “easy,” what I really mean is…it’s more “comfortable.” It’s “comfortable” to talk about other things, and not revisit that part of my life that I’ve put behind me.
But that discomfort is precisely why I need to talk about it. Because frankly, no one else is. And there are a lot of people out there who, either they themselves, or a loved one, is walking through a similar, challenging season. And I think it’s time we bring that “closed door conversation” to light. Because that’s how we can best walk alongside one another in our journeys.
So: I’m going to answer one of the questions I have been asked most:
If there was one thing that I wish I would have known when I was starting recovery, what would it be?
This is such a difficult question, because there are so many things that I wish I would have known. — Things and topics ranging from weight restoration, to relationship issues, to hair loss, to bloating, to future plans.
But if I had to choose one thing, it would be this: there is hope to be found.
And I know, that sounds like some “cop out” inspirational regurgitation that I found on a cheesy coffee mug on the clearance rack of TJ Maxx.
But it’s so true. More than anything else. That’s what I so desperately needed when I was teetering on the cusp of recovery: hope.
I think one of the grave misconceptions about anorexia and other eating disorders is that they’re about the weight. That the sufferer is just vainly obsessed about her appearance and her weight, and that the eating disorder is simply a “phase” driven by superficial peer/societal pressure.
And friends, that could not be further from the truth. Sure, maybe there are parts of that stereotype that sorta-kinda hint at the truth. But the stone cold reality is that eating disorders are not about the numbers on the scale. Sure, they play into her need for control. But the eating disorder is simply a manifestation of the wound she’s engulfed by on the inside. (And I’m saying “she,” but eating disorders also affect a number of “he’s” too.”)
For someone going through an eating disorder, there is no way out. They are trapped. Suffocating in this literal hell they’ve created for themselves, where they are enslaved to their eating disorder, and all the destructive behaviors it dictates.
The obsession with and restriction of food. The incessant, paralyzing need for exercise, and the incredibly brutal lengths that one will go to get it. The soul crushing isolation and coupling belief that one is unworthy of love of any kind: from others, from God, from oneself. And the resulting crippling guilt that one carries, furthering them deeper into the cycle of shame. And on and on it goes.
Personally, I had created this world that I didn’t know how to get out of. I felt buried alive. Each day in the disease was another shovel-full of dirt, pinning me in.
But the thing was, I couldn’t even begin to imagine a life without my anorexia.
Sure, before my disease, I was a vibrant, fun loving, free-spirited girl with a plethora of friends, and dreams, and ambitions, passions, goals, and plans.
But that girl was six feet under ground. Completely obliterated from my faintest imagination or memory.
All I knew was the hell I was trapped in, and enslaved to.
I needed to know that there was hope.
I needed to know that one day, I would be myself again. That I would have life again. That I would smile again. Laugh again. Love again.
I needed to know that I could let it all go.
But the trick was that I couldn’t do it myself.
I had to give it to God and let Him let it go for me.
Which was the hardest part. Because I had to come face to face with the God that I felt undeserving to even pray to.
I had to surrender to a God that I felt undeserving to even be the gum that He stepped in on the bottom of His sandal.
I felt unworthy to pray — or even to apologize. I had lied. Manipulated. Destroyed. Betrayed. And through my actions…tried to kill.
Even just a pinprick of it.
That’s what I needed.
And thank God for the Holy Spirit, taking over my heart – through song. Namely, Here I am to Worship.
Honestly, I didn’t think that this post was going to take such a “preachy” direction. That was not my intent. But frankly, I cannot speak about my recovery without also talking about Jesus, because they are one in the same. I could not have one without the other.
Hope is such a powerful thing. It can change your life. Heck, it can save your life. It can crumble even the most reinforced walls build around the heart. And it can exhume even the girl, suffocating in her own self-destructive hell.
There is hope to be found.
I wish my old self could have seen me now: healthy, joyful, and thriving. And with hair!
What gives you hope?
See ya tomorrow morning on my Podcast, Oh What a Beautiful Morning!! (They’re VIDEO podcasts this week!)
A big thank you to my foundational sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy. I cannot begin to express how beneficial therapy was for my recovery from anorexia. Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.
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