Quarantine Day 35. NYC
I want to first just thank you for your incredible outpouring of love and support on Monday’s post about the price of isolation. My heart was so moved by your compassion, so thank you very much for that 🙂
I think it’s pretty safe to say that we’re all rather emotionally vulnerable right now. Our fuse is shorter, our reactions heightened, and basically we’re all just in our feelings.
I had one of those episodes yesterday, actually. I was cooking breakfast, FaceTiming my mom, and I was all of a sudden just overcome with this wave of intense gratitude that I was not having to endure this season of quarantine while battling anorexia. I don’t know what triggered it, but I was just sobbing, thanking God that I am not in that hell anymore.
I just imagined what it would have been like, as my 18 year old self: defiant, destructive, and dangerously entrenched in my eating disorder — and be trapped in quarantine with my parents. Or even worse — to be in an apartment alone in New York City. I don’t know how I would have survived, truly.
It just hit me, how grateful I am that God delivered me from that darkness, and I am no longer enslaved to that disease.
And it made me think about all of my readers who are going through exactly that: navigating quarantine while battling addiction. Because at the end of the day — that’s exactly what an eating disorder is: it’s an addiction — addiction to control, to that feeling of emptiness, to negative self-talk, to food, to starvation, to self-destruction, to feelings of worthlessness.
And it’s just like any other form of addiction: it thrives in secrecy, it runs rampant in isolation, and feeds off of itself – causing the spiral to accelerate the more one “gives in” to its enticement.
It pains me to imagine the daily battles that are so front-and-center in a lockdown situation like this, where’s there’s no escape. No taking a breather. It’s your reality. 24/7.
And my heart just shattered thinking about those individuals, and their families, who are having to manage that layer of toxic and devastating complexity on top of the already trying circumstances in which we find ourselves.
I’ll be honest, this season of isolated quarantine here in New York has brought up a lot of memories from my season at inpatient treatment for my anorexia.
I had to stay at a residential inpatient facility for three months across the country in Arizona, when I was 18 years old. I had to miss my graduation. The summer of my senior year. I was completely alone.
The days were filled with paralyzing fear, and trepidation about the future, as I had to leave behind the habits and destructive “normalcy” I had clung to in my disease. And to do so, I was stripped of all control. What I ate, when I ate, when I slept, what I could read, which rooms I could spend time in. They even flushed the toilet for me.
It was three months of handing my life over to the doctors and nurses who ultimately, helped save it.
But sitting here today, thinking about that time, it’s striking just how similar some of those same feelings of anxiety about the future, are ringing true today.
The light at the end of the quarantine tunnel is beginning to appear, at least we think. It seems that we’re on the other side of the height of this pandemic – praise God. And now begins the strategic process of figuring out how to move forward. How to reopen our economy, and return to a familiar normalcy — in whatever new form that takes. Decisions that bring up trepidation and uncertainty for sure.
And on an individual level, we’re feeling it too. Will I have a job to come back to? How will I pay bills next month? Are my relationships going to be the same? How will I adjust to the new normal?
Those were the exact same feelings I was having at inpatient. Going from 78 pounds to a healthy weight range, the body obviously changes. And I had so much fear about that. And about how it would be adjusting to my new life in recovery, once I’m back home. What would that new normal be? But more than anything, what would life be like without my eating disorder?
This morning, I was flipping through my journal that I kept at inpatient — the one that I based my book, Bloom off of — and I came upon the very final entry before I left to return home, and face all of those fears and anxieties.
And it resonated so profoundly with where our country is, I thought I would share it, verbatim, with you. And let these words — from a young girl on the brink of a new life, having just endured the greatest adversity she’d ever have to face — let those words speak for themself.
So… Without further ado:
“Life is full of many unexpected twists and turns that we are unable to predict or control. Most situations are out of our hands, but it is comforting to know that the Creator knows all and that He knows what is going to happen, and that He will take us in His hands and carry us through life if we ask Him to. I want Jesus to carry me right now, because that is what I need. I am scared. More scared than I have ever been. But I am going to put my faith in God and let Him lead me because He puts this all together for good. We may be in the top of a burning building, but He’s outside telling us to jump. And even though we can’t see Him through the smoke, He can see us, and will catch us and lead us to safety.
Sometimes in life, we can take a lot of things for granted. Including life itself. That’s what I did in the anorexia. I took life itself for granted, and when you do that, it is a very very scary thing. Life is so fragile, and precious. And going forward, I will forever cherish it for the immense gift that it is. Thank you, Jesus, for this second chance.”
May we not fear the coming changes we will face in the new normal, but look upon them with hope, as we carry with us the lessons and perspectives we’ve gained in our quarantine.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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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