child of God, wife, mother, recovering anorexic who longs to see the beauty in herself that she sees in the world around her

Thursday, April 29, 2010

More Beautiful You

I heard a song on KLOVE a couple of days ago that so touched my heart and made me weep.  The song is called More Beautiful You  by Jonny Diaz.  It is so beautiful that I have actually made it the theme song of my blog.  I was so grateful that my husband took the kids in his car that day because I was alone when I heard it and alone when the tears wouldn't stop falling from my eyes.  I wonder how my life would have been different if I had known all along that I was beautiful and made for a purpose, a purpose that didn't involve being used and abused. 

Maybe did I know, I just never felt it.  I knew I was my daddy's girl.  I knew I was the apple of his eye.  I'm sure he must have told me I was beautiful but I never felt it.  Today when sharing my blog with a friend who has also been through eating disorders she emailed me this. "It was more than a body image thing for me as well. I get so frustrated with people who think that's all it is. It is part of it. I know when I got help for mine the first thing they asked me was if I was ever sexually abused. They told my parents that the most common factor for eating disorders was sexual abuse. They had not come across a case yet that it was not the case. The eating disorder was my way of controlling something I could when i felt helpless when being sexually abused. That is why I was anorexic and earlier than that bulimic."

Oh boy, another can of worms to open.  A counselor actually said this?  I suddenly realized it should have been so glaringly obvious that  I never knew I was beautiful.  Moving to Colorado was among the most merciful things my parents ever did for me (though they didn't know it for many years to come.)  Where we were living, the molestation/abuse started for me at age 3.  It continued until we moved which was right after my 10th birthday.  It was at times extreme and severe.  I wanted to be safe, I wanted to be "normal", but I never was.  I never fit in with other kids my age.  While they were worrying about Barbie clothes, I was worrying about bruises on my arms and legs and when/how I would be degraded yet again.  I always felt like I was on the outside looking in.

My parents are good people, they love the Lord and as my best friend says, they were good imperfect parents.  Their world was rocked when they discovered the first case of molestation.  They didn't learn about some of the others until after I graduated high school and some of them they still to this day are unaware of.  In their own devastation though, somehow I got overlooked.  I think because I was so young they thought they could shield me from the aftermath and emotional barrage that would follow.  They became so obsessively protective of me, always afraid that I might "discover" sex somewhere.  They had no idea that I was regularly being subjected to more graphic sex than possibly they had even known themselves. They were terrified that I might discover boys and live a regrettable lifestyle.

Little did they know that I already led a secret life.  At a very young age, too young, I knew what I needed to do to experience as little physical pain as possible.  Unfortunately I was too young to process the amount of emotional pain that I was experiencing.  All victims of sexual sin will tell you this, there is a safety mechanism in your brain that takes your mind away to a safe place when your body is being hurt.  You don't think about what is going on, you think about something ANYTHING else.  I, like all others who have been though trauma, learned quickly how to separate my mind and body.  I thought I was protecting my heart through this separation but I really was wounding my heart just as much.  This brain trick later would greatly affect my marriage, but that is a blog for another day.

It seems obvious now that would end up dealing  with depression, suicide, self abuse and anorexia.  I was desperate for anything to take away the pain I felt and to give me back control of my life.  I had to put on the good girl Christian facade though because people don't like negative emotions.  Christians especially don't like them.  It is difficult for many, my family included, to claim God is good and still allow for life to be bad.  The two ideas don't mix well.  Good God, bad life?  Not what most sign up for when they decide to follow Christ.  On a side note, I tell my children often that God is good even when life isn't.  He can still be good even when life is ugly.  Trust me, I know first hand God's goodness during life's ugliness!

Wow, wasn't planning on writing all of that, at least not yet!  It is funny to me that as I allow God into areas of my heart that I have kept secret and hidden exactly how much He brings out.  It is like an oozing wound that as soon as you think it is looking ok, it spits out more grossness.  That is my heart right now!  And since my goal is to address all of the different things that played into my eating disorder, I have to address it all. 

I said it in my preface but I have to recall it again.  I cannot point to any one single factor and say, "That is the single reason I refused to eat." Years of sexual abuse is just one more aspect of my story.  My story is riddled with hurt but it is also a story of hope and redemption.  I pray that through it others will have the courage to seek the help they need.  It's time to stop playing church and pretending there are no hurts or questions.  It's time to allow God to heal those wounds.  And it's time for the church to stop acting like people don't hurt.  Jesus went to those who were broken and wounded.  He healed them.  Church, start letting Him heal instead of criticizing that he is spending time on the broken and wounded hearts along the way.  That is why He came, for the lost, the hurting, the needy, the one's that no one else wants.


This post was difficult to write.  I have spent 3 days writing/rewriting it.

The alcohol use rapidly turned into alcohol abuse when my manager at work decided to have a very sexual relationship with me that I didn't want or like but didn't know how to stop.  When I didn't eat, I was in control but I still hurt.  When I didn't eat but I drank, I maintained my control and I didn't hurt.  It was a bad combination.

Hurt consumed my life.  Between drinking, smoking, and coffee, food was easy to avoid.  I'm not exactly sure how to explain what food represented to me during that time but food was the enemy, alcohol was the friend.  When I ate I felt worse, when I drank I felt nothing.  With the amount of hurt I was in, feeling nothing was ok with me.

There came a point, during the above mentioned "relationship" that I became incredibly angry with myself.  Whenever he approached me, I would just turn off my brain and endure.  One day he pointed out to me that I must enjoy his advances because my body did physically respond.  I hated my body even more.  In my mind, my body had betrayed me.

The perceived betrayal of my body meant that my body needed to be punished.  Not only did food completely move out of the picture and alcohol abuse completely move into the picture, I also started looking for ways to hurt my body.  My destructive path that I was on led me further and further from the healing, peace and joy that I needed and longed for.  I was on a fast track to nowhere, but as long as I couldn't feel it, I thought I was ok. 

Instead of running to God, I ran as fast as I could from Him.  What is it about us that makes us think that when we are hurting, we should avoid the loving arms of the Father instead of jumping into them?  I wish I knew the answer to that but I don't. I do however know I'm not the only one who has ever run from help instead of seeking it. What I didn't realize at the time was that though I was running full speed from God, He was still pursuing me lovingly and passionately.  He was putting people in my life who would graciously show me His unconditional love and would eventually make me want to turn back to Him.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


The next two years are somewhat a blur in my memory.  At some point, though I don't know when, I started eating again.  It was never alot, but I wasn't completely starving myself either. It was somewhere near the end of my junior year of highschool when things got ugly again.  I started dating boys who were only interested in my body.  I had been sexually assaulted by a friend earlier that year and at that point began to discover the numbing grace of alcohol.

Between the asault, the alcohol use and the boys who cared only about how I could make them feel good, I started to feel my life rapidly spinning out of control.  That is when food, or rather the lack thereof, re-entered the picture in a bigger way.  I felt that I had no control in my life at all.  One day, I didn't eat, simply because I didn't feel like it.  I got hungry but I could tell my body no.  Anorexia grabbed a hold of me again with a stronger grip than the first time. 

The first time was about attention, needing it.  The second time was about control, also needing it.  I got such an adrenaline filled power rush when I realized that while nothing else in my life could be controlled, I could control my food.  I never ate because my body was weak and demanding food.  I ate because I wanted to.  The more things spiraled, the more control I exerted.  I didn't care at all about my body image at this point, only about controlling my body.  Because it wasn't about image but rather about control,  when I did eat I piled on the calories.  I didn't want anyone to become suspicious about my rapid weight loss and thus rob me of this new found power, so when I did eat, it was cinnamon rolls and milk shakes.

Again, no one really noticed, but I'm not entirely sure how I got away with it the second time around.  Somehow I managed to keep it from my parents and the couple of close friends I had.  And I'm sure no one else noticed because I was careful to cover up my figure so that it wasn't obvious that I had lost weight again.  I obsessed over my new found control and the rush I got from it.

Monday, April 26, 2010


In case anorexia wasn't enough to have on my plate, at that time I also was struggling greatly with depression.  I had many suicidal thoughts and even a couple of attempts.  I was incredibly emotionally needy.  I needed to be noticed.  I needed someone to either help me out of the depths of my depression or someone to love me unconditionally or maybe someone to slap me in the face and tell me to get my act together.  Whatever it was that I needed, I was not getting it. 

After writing a suicide note to a friend of mine, which was much more of a "please someone notice me" note, than a suicide note, I had to face my parents with the news of my planned suicide.  The principal of my school called my parents into his office (for the 2nd time in 3 years)  and told them of my note and recent apathetic depressed state at school.  He, again for the 2nd time, suggested I get counseling.  I never did. 

There was however a teacher who often would talk to me.  She had had a rough past herself and would often try to help me see the value in myself that she saw.  I will forever cherish her for that.  She did everything she could to help me keep my head above water. I talked about depression and suicide with her.  I kept my eating habits a secret though.  I wasn't ready to reveal that particular secret.  As long as it was my secret, I had power.

I think I owe my life to those two people, the teacher and the principal.  They loved me.  They prayed for me.  They did everything they could to help me.  Well, to be completely fair and honest, I owe my life to God who for whatever reason He chose, did not allow any of my suicide attemts over the years to kill me.  I never even got sick and trust me with some of the things I did, I should have at minimum had my stomach pumped.

the beginning

I remember the day so well. I remember what I was wearing, where I was sitting and I remember the words that would forever alter my perspective of life. It was certainly not a comment intended to send me spiraling into a battle with anorexia that would last for years. It was just an innocent comment.
I guess I'd like to first point out that there have been MANY contributing factors into my struggle with and journey through anorexia. As I blog them out, I hope that you never once hear me say that one thing was the only factor. The factors are all so intimately related that not one of them can be called the reason I choose not to eat. Today, I'm talking about the factor that caused me to make a conscious decision to not eat.

I was wearing my navy blue rayon pants with cream colored flowers with a cream colored button down blouse. It was an outfit that made me feel like I looked good, which I didn't often feel, especially lately. I had been incredibly sick with the "mystery illness" and weight had dropped off of me at an alarming rate. My skin was pale and even more broken out than normal. In retrospect I looked as unhealthy as I felt but in that outfit at least I didn't feel it. I was sitting next to a friend during an awards ceremony or something like that. She was tall and beautiful and outgoing and everyone who knew her loved her. I guess I could say she was popular, but she didn't really act like it. She was just friendly and got along with everyone and in return everyone liked her. When we stood up she said the words that would forver affect my life.

"Wow! You are so skinny! I wish I was as skinny as you." Eight words did it. Eight words expressed to me that someone who was beautiful and well liked wanted something I had. I wasn't willing to let that image ever fade. I had to keep it up. After all, an upperclassman (I was a freshman at the time) who had the looks and the popularity, wanted to be like me. 

It wasn't difficult for me to skip meals unnoticed.  I had been so incredibly sick leading up to this that it was difficult to eat anyway.  While I was still sick, I wasn't as sick as I had been.  No one knew that though.  No one knew that the reason I still couldn't eat was because I didn't want to.  It was easy, too easy.  No one notices if a highschool student eats breakfast, so I skipped it.  Lunchtime was a breeze.  My classmates were used to me not feeling well and therefore only sometimes eating.  I would give my lunch away in parts.  One guy got the cookies my mom always made and packed.  Another got my chili cheese dip and chips.  Someone else would get the side items and I kept the soda for myself.  Like I said, it was a breeze.  No one questioned.  It was also easy because having not eaten much for so long anyway, I didn't feel the normal hunger cravings that I once might have.  Dinner wasn't even that difficult.  I pushed the food around on my plate, took a few bites, pushed it around a little more and then claimed to be full and excused myself to my bedroom and my ever growing pile of schoolwork that I was behind on.

My plan was working.  It would be two years before anyone ever questioned my eating habits. 


It has been on my heart lately to share my journey.  Anorexia has affected so many areas of my life and I feel an incredible urge to share my story.  There are many different factors that played into my eating disorders.  I cannot point my finger to one specific thing and place blame there.  So through the entries in this blog, I hope you never feel like you hear me pointing my finger and saying "There, that was the problem."  The issues of my life are so very intricately woven together that it is truly impossible to point blame at just one thing.  Some of the issues are deep wounds and others surface issuses.  Feel free to ask any questions you have during this journey.  I won't lie.  I may not be willing to answer right away, but I'll let you know if that's the case.  I hope that in relaying my story, I can help someone else to not travel this road or to get off of it.  I don't have it all together all the time, but I have hope and hope counts for a lot sometimes.