First Day!

The last couple of days have been rough and emotional for me. Today was very rough emotionally and I broke down crying but I really needed to. This eating disorder treatment thing is really hard, it’s one of the hardest things I have ever done. Even though today was a really rough day as I fought with myself all day, this was the first day since I can remember that I have 1) not binged, 2) not purged or 3) made healthy choices. I should be excited about this but inside I am worn out and extremely emotional and very unsure of myself and so it is hard to be excited.

I feel so empty and so alone. I want to celebrate my accomplishment but I tell myself that it isn’t something I’ll be able to repeat, and I tell myself that I am stupid for struggling with food like this in the first place. I mean, it’s just food, how stupid is it to struggle with something so simple? I am ugly and I know it. I’m on the verge of crying and I don’t even know why. Shouldn’t I be happy that I accomplished this? My body aches all over from a big week at work. I am trying to stay on top of my school work.

I should be happy, and yet I worked so hard to accomplish this that I am completely worn out.

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Tough Weeds

This year I’m trying my hand at a little gardening, and a few weeks ago I poisoned the weeds to try to kill them, and nothing happened. So I poisoned the weeds again, and this time they started dying. Today I bought the cheapest weed eater I could find, fired it up, and chopped up those weeds. Then I got a shovel and dug up the roots in the soil and pulled them all out. There are still things left to do, like prepare the soil properly, and plant the seeds. The seeds will hopefully sprout, grow, and produce food. However, the process of growing involves a lot of preparation.

The process of growing is messy, it sometimes hurts, and it can take a while. Sometimes there is a lot of dying and uprooting that needs to happen before any growth can ever take place. And sometimes, it’s a little easier. I have some sage plants in a pot, and all I had to do for those is put dirt in a pot and plant the plants. Sometimes the soil is already fertile and the plant has already been started, and the process of growth is a little easier.

Once the plants are planted and growing, there are still weeds that grow and need pulling out by the roots, and the plants need watering. Sometimes they get a lot of water all at once when it rains, and sometimes they get a little water from the hose or watering can.

Working through eating disorders is a lot like my gardening. Before any growth can really take place, there are lots of counselling sessions, lots of uprooting weeds of lies and negative thoughts, lots of hard work, lots of cutting up of wrong ideas or nasty words and actions of others to forgive. There is digging, lots and lots of digging, there is lots of uprooting. After that, there will need to be a foundation of fertile soil before any real growth will take place. In my yard, the weeds were so hard to get rid of because they had been growing for a long time. My personal weeds have been growing for an awful long time too, so I am not going to experience growth overnight. Sometimes that frustrates me and it seems like I’m not getting anywhere, but going through the process that I am in the yard has also been frustrating and has seemed like I’m not getting anywhere. Slowly but surely, however, things have been happening, and each thing needs to be done in order and each things takes time. It’s just the way it is.

Why I Share my Struggle with Eating Disorders

Some people want me to keep quiet about my eating disorders, telling me that it’s best that people not know, that things like this are personal. Having eating disorders, particularly for as long as I have had them, is very embarrassing. It seems like food issues should be so simple to overcome, after all, it’s just food. To realize that eating disorders have dominated my life is a big deal. So why not hide my struggle?

I don’t hide it, because I strive to be brutally honest. So far I haven’t had one person who has been mean about my issues with food, and I’ve had support from unexpected places. One night I was at the church and the youth pastor offered me a big bowl of candy. I took them but then had second thoughts, although I was having trouble saying no. So I told him about my struggle and he pressured me to give them back, which I did. That was very helpful to me, and he was very encouraging telling me that I should be happy about that decision and that I should be proud of it and tell my therapist.

I find that if people know what I’m struggling with, they pray for me, they keep me accountable (by asking me if I really should eat three donuts), but most of all, people support me. I need the support of my friends and family to get through this, because honestly, it sucks and it’s tough. Some days are really rough and some are ok, and some are good. Something I’ve had for seventeen years isn’t going to go away quickly. The rough days are made better when people show their support. Sometimes I can’t see the way clearly and I need to depend on others who can see it.

Which is why I choose to be honest about my struggles with eating disorders. If I had cancer I would need the support of family and friends, and this is the same kind of thing.

Getting to Know Myself

Today my therapist said that I knew a lot of things that I hated about myself, but she wanted me to tell her what I liked about myself, and I couldn’t answer the question. She said that it is important that I come to like some things about myself, and that it’s important to gain my own identity rather than just being the person that I am told by someone else to be. As a Christian I know that my identity is in Christ, but I also know that Jesus made us all unique individuals with individual talents and purposes.

I often feel like people don’t like me and if they are nice to me I obsess about it and wonder if they are just humoring me, I even do this with people that I consider to be my friends. I worry about it so much in part because I’m not sure I like myself and I’m not sure I’d be friends with myself. Every day I look in the mirror and I believe that I see an ugly person, a stupid person, a horrible person. I try to pretend that I have self-confidence but the truth is that I don’t have any.

I worry that if I ever get skinny, I’ll still never be beautiful. To me it seems that only beautiful women are successful and so if I’m never beautiful I won’t be successful. I know that the Bible says that I am precious to God but actually believing that is tough. I wish I could trust God with my identity, that I am who he says I am, and I told him that today while I was on the treadmill. I’ve found that my best prayer time comes when I am on the treadmill. I often talk to God in the same way I talk to my therapists, he is after all the Great Physician. So, treadmill time is God and I time, where I talk to him, and try to listen to him.

Therapy is hard work and one day I hope that I can believe I am valuable. I want to know who I am, I want to get to know myself.