Post-reflection: I feel that God led me today to write this post. It comes from a place of deep pain for me, but I hope that you can receive some healing from it.
A lot of thinking has been going on in this here head for the past couple of days. I kind of like that I’m back in the blogging groove again but I’m still unsure about where I want this to go. I guess I’ll find out along the way.
I had a really good session with my therapist. I told her about how I am in the middle of an identity crisis and how I’ve struggled with it in the past. I also told her how often times I just feel so guilty about my last relapse (last year) because I felt like I was the one who was controlling the eating disorder, rather than it being the other way around. Although I kept insisting over and over again that it was me who was doing the dieting and changing my food plan, she forcibly told me that it was not true. My eating disorder is the cause for my relapse, NOT ME. There is no way on earth that I, me the healthy me, would have consciously ever wanted to be that skeletal. She said that it probably felt different because we go through different stages of maturity. When I first became anorexic, it was a whole new field. I didn’t realize how wrong it was for me or how distorted my thinking was. I, in my eating disordered mind, thought that I was doing everything right and everybody else was wrong.
Oh ho ho….how I love my ED’s irony. Stupid thing…..
However, once I realized that restricting and dieting were wrong, my thinking became black and white. If I was restricting then I was bad, whereas if I was eating then I was good. So when I started to cut back on my intake again I felt so wrong, and bad, and disobedient because I knew that it was wrong for me. But what I failed to understand is that it was also harmful.
You see, I believe that all recovering anorexics have a black and white thinking—
We don’t really know an in-between yet, or at least I don’t. For so long I lived in this mentality in which I felt extremely guilty if I listened to my eating disorder because of the beliefs that had been stuck in my head. Bad means that I am a bad person, I am disobedient, I am a sinner. Good means that I have all my ducks lined in a row, I eat all of my food, and I don’t skip overexercise. As anorexics we lack the inability to grasp the reality behind the bad and the good, we just know that one is better than the other. I know that I think that my behaviors are completely right for my body because they are preventing me from being fat. Even though I can see the physical damage that startving does to my body, it’s like I am living in this separate world where I believe that it can’t harm me.
I am invincible.
But what I experienced first-hand this year is the reason behind why one side is bad. My vicious struggle with over-exercising not only caused me to lose so much weight that it caused me to look like a “concentration camp victim” (as my therapist likes to say) but it wrecked havoc on my body. The more time passed the more that I noticed my body wasn’t functioning as well. I would have trouble walking. My knees would lock up. I started having intense pain around my joints that was so bad it was all I could do not to curl up and cry. The pain ended up being a good thing though because it forced me to BACK OFF. Pain is always a good tool that way.
But the damage didn’t stop there. I found that I was so weak I had trouble climbing a flight of stairs. I also severely lacked the muscular strength to lift heavy objects and found my wrists straining in protest if I even attempted the feat. My ankles were so weak that if I STEPPED ON A ROCK IN THE ROAD, they would buckle and I would fall to the ground. I was so weak I couldn’t even support my own body weight.
But the absolute low point happened one night when I was nearing home on my evening walk. On a whim I decided to try something, a simple hop, a joyful leap. It was something that I hadn’t done in so long and I wanted to try it. Giddily I lifted my legs into the air to begin the act, and discovered something that still haunts me.
I COULDN’T JUMP.
I doubt I even cleared 2 inches off of the ground.
I’m not even kidding. THAT was how weak I was. I became so depressed after that. It was an immediate wake-up that I was destroying my body.
THAT is why the black is bad, and the white is good. Restricting and over-exercising do not make you a bad person. They do not mean that you are a sinner or that you are disobeying.Yes, they are hurtful but no they are not condemning. I don’t believe that God punishes you if you decide to restrict. Instead I believe that He hurts when you do and just wants to wrap His arms around you and surround you with His love. He LOVES YOU! Even though at the time I felt that God was punishing me because I was struggling again, I instead believe that He was just trying to get my attention and get me to stop and show me that I needed to change. Not because I was bad, but because I was dying.
And that is the cold hard truth here. Even though being anorexic does not make you a bad person, it WILL kill you. It may not be all at once but eventually, the longer and longer you let it control your life, it WILL end up killing you.
I urge you to at least think about recovering for that reason. You are too beautiful and wonderfully made to allow a nasty little thing like an eating disorder to rob you of your life. Please don’t let it.