I started a group a few weeks ago. This group is a parents support group. My husband and I have ended up in this group for two reasons. One- one of our children, just like me, suffer from an eating disorder. And two- Gods plan to “poke” at me in regards to this issue.
You see friends, I’ve struggled with an eating disorder for about twenty years now. As I have been on my journey with God, I’ve faced many dark and ugly areas of my life that needed changing and healing. As challenging as they have been, day by day, prayer by prayer, I’ve gotten through and persevered. My eating difficulties have been flying under the radar.
So it has come to be that I have joined this group and have been to a couple of meetings and they have been awesome! Ok truthfully, they have disturbed me something terrible! It has “kicked up the dust” in me. It is as if Pandora’s box of difficulty has been cracked open. Now let me tell you, this difficulty and my behavior around facing the truth of my own food difficulties has started to trickle into my relationships in the form of irritation, nit picking and the emotion to cover all emotions-Anger. This has gone on for about two weeks. I could not understand what the heck was going on in me. I kinda knew but refused, suppressed to face what needed facing. Yes, yes I had admitted in the past I have struggled with Eating Difficulties and in my denial have said, I have “it” under control and I have even convinced myself and my loved ones that it is something I don’t struggle with anymore. I convinced myself that I do not struggle with this anymore. Ha.
I’m here today to admit to myself and to you, my fellow readers, that I am still suffering and struggling with my food.
I’m going to share a little bit of what it’s like to live with an eating disorder. In my case – Anorexia.
Friends please know this is not something I choose to do or even realize I’m doing it (I’m not going to get into causes or anything like that today).
So what’s it like? In my brain, hell. There’s a constant nagging, chattering about what to eat not eat, how much exercise will I get in order to eat that? How many calories or fat does that contain? If I eat that do you know what I will look like? If I keep eating this I’m going to be compared to other women. There’s conflict in my life? That’s because I ate for a few consecutive days now I will restrict and loose a few pounds. I don’t know how many pounds I need to lose I just know I need to lose them. Oh goodness, Rob must think I look disgusting! What does my family think of me? Go out in public? Be around other people? GO TO THE MALL???!!!! (this one has gotten much better). Do I eat that? How much do I eat? Will I be working this off later? What will this do to me? Don’t eat too much. Don’t eat that. Don’t even think about trying that, do you know what it will do and how you will look? It’s not a wonder why you have problems in your marriage, look at how you look!
And on and on it goes…… Ugh, makes me sick.
Then there’s the flip side. I binge. Now I did not realize I binge. Never considered myself one who binges. The bingeing process goes like this:
Oh heck, I’m going to eat this and this and this. Oooo dessert? Yup I’m having it. Going to eat three meals a day and snack in between! (Just yesterday I ate candy like there was no tomorrow, all the while saying, ok tomorrow, I eat nothing to work this all off). For someone with anorexia, having a bite of cake or candy or a full meal could be a binge. In my case that’s what happens.
There’s also this incredible need to feel in control. In control of life and anything surrounding me. It makes me feel safe (now that is distorted thinking).
And so for twenty years, this crazy insanity has gone on. I am so done with it! It’s exhausting and frustrating. I try to be gentle with myself and understand where this comes from and how it was “grown” through my past abuse. As I have been dealing with the other issues in my life, I’ve managed to conveniently “tuck” this coping mechanism away.
The past couple of weeks I haven’t been sticking to my exercise routine and I feel I have gained weight. This doesn’t make me feel good. I’ve become irritable, angry, frustrated, frazzled and I have little to no patience. I have been snapping at my kids and I’m lashing out at my husband. I’m creating division in my relationships and I’m not keeping in touch with friends as I need to be. This is where I start to spiral into isolation. If I keep to myself then I can be in my own little world and figure out, count calories, restrict food and keep my body moving. I can busy myself so I don’t need to face what I’m doing. Day after day. In between my daily responsibilities, this is what goes on for me. It’s especially challenging because I prepare most of the meals. Honestly when my family cooks, I eat all my meal and have no regrets.
So friends, living with ED, is difficult not only for us but for those who live with us. It’s like addiction, the behaviors and distorted thinking that comes with the disorder is enough to drive anyone nuts! It’s not something we can overcome alone and it is something we certainly cannot overcome without Gods help. Believe me, I know this because I’ve tried.
Sadly, my youngest daughter suffers too. Can I be held responsible? Has she seem me restrict? Has she caught on to my bad attitude towards food? Yes. Do I have tremendous guilt? Goodness yes. Does it break my heart to see her struggle and know the war that’s going on inside her? Yes. And what about our family members who deal with the “crazy” that comes with this? I can only imagine what it’s like for them. For what they put up with. For what they deal with as we battle ourselves.
On a positive note, because I LOVE to always see the silver lining, the lessons, the incredible miracles of God through these challenges, I have decided to face this demon head-on. I have decided to fight it, to surrender it to God and walk through this healing with Jesus as my Guide. I have decided to take one day at a time to deal with daily struggles around food. I have decided to remind myself that this is linked to my past and a result of the abuse I experienced and living with addiction. I have decided that I will NOT use my abuse as an excuse to continue on in this manner. For if I do, my abusers “win” and still have control over me. I REFUSE to allow that. I know there’s a road ahead of me and with anything else, it will be challenging but I have buckled up and I will keep my focus on Gods goodness for my life. You see, God has incredible plans for me and I need to be ready to receive that. This challenge is just another stepping stone to get me closer to my destiny with God. This motivates me to get well and be the best I can be for Him. I want to do amazing things for God. He has done so much, more than I deserve. Oh friends, if you knew me a few years ago you’d think it was two different people. The incredible transformation God has done with my heart is miraculous. I’m already in amazement at how much more cleaning up and restoration He is doing in me now! I know as I change my ways, my daughter will see this. God always makes a way to right our wrongs and I intend to do that. I intend to work with God to do just that!
I’m going to share a piece of my journal entry with you. I wrote this a few days ago. I have been reading it everyday.
I can do this for today. To tackle something for one day is manageable. To think about doing this for a week, a month or a life time gets overwhelming. So just for today, God and I will go moment by moment. :)
It does upset me to admit all this. I like to think I have “it” all together but to be honest and as you can read, I don’t. Oh perfectionism, I cannot keep up with you ;)
Well friends, it’s time for some coffee and yes, some breakfast.
I thank you very much for reading and for your support along my journeys.
P.S. (for my friends with kiddies)
CAN YOU BELIEVE SCHOOL STARTS NEXT WEEK???? :O