Recently here, these past several weeks, I have received so many touching messages from fellow ED Recovery warriors who read my blog.
And I’ve got to say…reading their words about how my story, my blog, my book – have played a teeny tiny role in their recovery…it has been so uplifting and encouraging for me to hear. (And I promise, this isn’t just me tooting my own horn..there’s a point to this…)
Reading their words, I have been personally transported to those early days of my recovery, and also…when I was deep in the throes of my anorexia. Going back into that place in my memory, it’s a funny thing: it’s as though it was just yesterday, and yet feels eons away from where I am today.
It makes total sense that these messages came in when they did: the holidays are one of the most difficult times for people struggling with an eating disorder, because it is a time completely centered around a) food, and b) togetherness (read: you’re constantly under the microscope).
Oof, November and December were always such difficult seasons during my anorexia. Not only was my eating disorder suffocating me, but then with intense family time came scrutiny and the resulting stress – it made me feel strangled. Couple that with the overpowering guilt and shame that came with feeling completely unworthy of the gifts under the tree, and then the acute tension from just how desperately concerned everyone in my family was for my health and life….I just remember feeling like a caged animal.
I have vivid memories of just getting in my car and driving off — to the mall, to the nature preserve, just on the highway — driving anywhere just to get away. Be unseen. Be alone with my eating disorder. And away from anyone who cared about me.
I think back now, and a) I should be getting on my knees thanking God that I didn’t hurt myself or anyone else while driving on the road in such a combustive state. And b) just how terribly sad ~ and yes, guilty ~ I feel when I think of the Christmases that I ruined for my family. Time that I stole from them – and from myself – as I was caught in the death grip of anorexia.
If you would have asked me, back then, when I was deep in the throes, I would have never ever thought that the life I have now would be possible.
Not just because I was so tunnel vision on burning calories, and avoiding food situations, and sneaking exercise, and obsessively planning how to eat and not to eat…but it came to a point where I just thought – this is it for me. I was in such a dark place that I couldn’t even imagine a way out. I couldn’t fathom what a life would be where I was free – where I could accept love – where I was joyful and able to laugh and chase dreams and have passions – where I wasn’t being controlled by an oppressive darkness. I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t imagine it. I couldn’t even pause from the chaos for 10 seconds to consider it. I didn’t want to.
I believed I had a life sentence to the hell I had created for myself. And I wanted it that way.
Friends, my heart shatters for that broken young girl I was. And for every other reader who feels a gut-wrenching familiarity in my words.
I just think about how different things are now, and how grateful I am, not only to be alive, but to have escaped that hell, that I have been reminded of in the notes of my readers, trapped in that same dark place.
And so, I want to just share what I would share to myself, circa 2006, when I was actively in my anorexia, spiraling out of control, and rapidly plunging into a disordered abyss, every day becoming more and more out of reach.
I would share the hope that I so desperately needed. That floodlight power beam of Truth that I critically needed to cut through the dark and stifling perdition I had let become all too comfortable – nay, I had let define me, and become my home.
That’s the thing about darkness. You become so used to it that your eyes become adjusted and you can actually begin to see.
That is not the life that God wanted for me. Or for you, or anyone going through their own season of darkness. Which, given the current global climate — might be more common that I may think.
I would cup my 18 year old, hollowed out face in my hands, and say: “God has so much waiting for you, if you just let this go.”
“There is an abundant, overflowing life that’s waiting for you, if you just hand this eating disorder over to God. This is not the life God wants for you – for His precious daughter.
This life of pain, of isolation, deception, and fear — it is not a life at all.
There are things possible that you cannot even comprehend…where food isn’t scary, where you love your body, where you openly welcome love into your life and share it with your friends and family and loved ones. There is a life of peace in your mind – where thoughts don’t race about food, but rather, focus and determination on goals and aspirations.
You have a future. God not only desperately wants that for you, but He already has it planned out. And it is beautiful. And full. And rich with love — which, I know is a foreign and painful topic for you, but you are worthy of it, and more.”
Oh how I wish I would have been able to hear and comprehend that.
Christmas, the holidays, it’s a difficult time of year for people, for a lot of reasons, especially this year in 2020.
It is my prayer that we can all remember that, though we may not be able to see it now, God has a good and abundant future for all of us. I know, especially now it may be difficult to understand just how…. — we may feel distanced right now: either out of lukewarmness of faith in these Covid times, or perhaps we’re feeling resentment or anger at our current reality, or perhaps we’re going through a season of spiritual void — we are never abandoned.
We are never alone, or left to fend for ourselves.
He is our strength. He is our Savior. He is our hope.
May we be reminded of that this Christmas season, and every day forward.
“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.
SIGN UP BELOW FOR MY FREE NEWSLETTER!
GET MY DAILY VIDEOS, RECIPES AND POSTS DELIVERED STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX!
Here was yesterday’s video! https://youtu.be/8pmp4ZI968A
MAGIC TOOTHPASTE? Yes! I am in love with this superior whitening toothpaste. It keeps my smile sparkling, without sensitivity or bleach! I made a website where you can directly order this miracle product! So if you want to give it a try, you can go ahead and grab a tube for yourself. I promise, your smile will thank you!Get a tube!
Be sure to check out my affiliate, Audible. Listening to audiobooks while I cook is literally my new favorite thing. And just for you, they’re offering a Free 30-Day Trial Membership. And with this free membership, you’re going to get 2 free audiobooks! Literally. Free. It is the best deal ever. And if for some reason, you decide it’s not for you, you can cancel within those 30 days and it’s zero money out of your pocket, plus, you get to keep the 2 audiobooks. Soooo…it’s pretty much a no brainer. Plus, it’s a free and easy way to support this blog! So thank you!!
@beauty.beyond.bones – Instagram
For Podcast versions of my posts, please check out Patreon! It’s only $2 a month!! You make this blog possible 🙂
And really quickly, I’ve had several questions concerning my Amazon link (amazon.com/shop/beautybeyondbones) — You do not need to buy one of my specific highlighted products on my page, in order for it to “credit” my account. Any purchases that you search or make from anywhere on Amazon, after first visiting my Amazon page, will credit this blog and help support this blog ministry. I am truly so grateful and appreciative to those of you wanting to do so! So thank you! Again, it is an absolutely free, and easy way for you to help keep this blog going!