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

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Dear Blog Readers,

I am taking a sabbatical from this right now.  I hope to be back soon but right now am a bit overwhelmed with everything on my plate.

Take care and until next time,

Saturday, July 24, 2010

not odds I like

I was just watching a youtube video to Superchick's "Courage" and saw an alarming statistic.  Only 40% of people who suffer from anorexia or bulimia make a full recovery. Those aren't great odds.  Think about if you had cancer and the doctor said, "Well the odds are more likely that you will die than live, but we can hope."  Or if he said, "There's a 4 in 10 chance you'll go into and stay into remission."  Those are odds that would make the strongest of people worrisome. Those are odds that if you had cancer, you would start making sure everything was in order, just in case.

Then there was another statistic that I didn't care for.  Another 30% of people who have suffered from anorexia or bulimia will struggle throughout their lives.  Again, not odds I like.  Again picture your doctor with the cancer diagnoses again but this time saying, "Well, I think we can get you in remission but you will relapse several times through what remains of your life.  Then you will have to go through the painful process of radiation and chemo all over again.  You will experience life and near death through your entire life and there is nothing we can do about that. When you get better, enjoy it because another round of chemo is in your near future."  Hmmm, not really much of a life is it? Apparently I am currently in this 30% though I long to be in the other 40%. 

That does leave 30% unaccounted for.  I assume that those are the statistics of those who die. Most of us who have dealt with anorexia, know that death is a possibility.  We see the pictures and wonder how those girls can still be alive and then continue to do it to ourselves.  We know that kidneys fail and heart attacks happen.  But for some reason, that, nearly always,  isn't enough of a reason to not starve ourselves.  We've heard the stories of the hospital trips and in-patient care rehab and then we have witnessed the relapse almost as soon as you think they have found hope.  Part of you cheers for the girl who completed rehab and has gained 7 lbs.  Part of you prays she will forever succeed.  Part of you is grateful for the hope that if someone else made it through then you can as well.  But part of you pats yourself on the back for not being a quitter.  Part of you feels superior because you were better at depriving yourself than she was.  Part of you knows she needed help, but also doesn't know that you do need help.  "It will never happen to me" seems to be the motto.

Hmm, I just don't like the odds that say 60% either die or struggle until they die.  I don't want to be in that statistic.  I want to be part of the 40% that gets better and never looks back.  Maybe someday I will join that group.  I'm just not there yet.

Monday, July 19, 2010


It has been a difficult few weeks for me in this journey.  I find myself angry that I was able to eat for so many years without even thinking about it and yet now I have daily to choose truth over the lie.  The biggest difference in my struggle now vs. my struggle then is this: now I am cheering for the truth to win instead of trying to help the lie stay alive a little longer.  Some days the lie still wins. 

A few weeks ago my three year old son climbed up into my lap.  He hugged me and told me, "I wuv you mommy!"  I kissed him and watched him run off singing to play with his brothers.  I was cherishing his innocence when suddenly I was painfully aware of something.  I was suddenly, for the first time in my entire life, fully aware of how young I was when the abuse started.  I looked at my children and was suddenly aware of exactly what was stolen from me.

I called my best friend.  I knew I wouldn't have to explain with her, she would just understand.  She did.  She also has been through some traumatic events in her life and gave me this perspective.  When you are in the middle of it, you just survive.  You just do what needs to be done.  You don't usually realize exactly how bad it really was.  She has called me a couple of times crying and asked, "It was really that bad, wasn't it?"  I then confirm that her situation was indeed that bad.

This is, in essence, what happened to me.  I suddenly was aware of how bad it really was.  I was appalled, looking at my three year old, that anyone could ever even imagine hurting someone as young and innocent as that. I then looked at his older brothers.  I listened to them playing and was so thankful for their continued innocence.  As I looked at them I realized what I knew of life by the time I was their ages.  I knew so much more than I ever wanted to, so much more than any child ever should know. 

I spent my day crying.  I spent my day avoiding food.  I spent my day listening to my favorite song, "Your Hands" by J.J. Heller.  I, for the first time in my life, completely acknowledged what had been taken from me.  I was not ok.  Other than talking with my best friend in the morning, I didn't talk to anyone else.  I barely talked to my husband.  It was days later before I could finally verbalize to him why I had been so upset.  And it is weeks later before I can blog about it.

That day, the lie won.  I refused to get anywhere near food.  I was hurt and food felt like it was going to make everything 1000x worse. Finally at 8 that evening, I felt like the Lord was telling me that it was ok to eat.  I know, it may sound silly but it is exactly where I was.  I knew He was telling me that it was ok to take care of my body, that He would carry me emotionally.  I ate.  I ate very little but I refused to let the lie take complete control again.

I'm not going to lie, blogging about some of this really sucks!  It is a strange form of accountability and healing.  I am not exactly liking the things I have had to resurface during the process but I am liking the healing that has been taking place in the midst of my pain.  Here's where I stand, I still have food issues.  I still sometimes have to fight myself to eat.  I, once again, actually think about food and it's impact and abilities on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis.  I find myself, once again, in the position of hating food. 

When I struggle with anorexia, I don't feel like the beauty queen of my husbands dreams but I am transported back to a scared, insecure, less than beautiful little girl who I used to be.  Sometimes for half of an instant, I miss being able to count my ribs by looking in the mirror.  Sometimes for half of an instant I want the lie to win.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

my husband

I had to ask my husband when he became aware of my eating struggles.  I knew that he knew, but I don't remember telling him.  He is so unbelievably observant that I wasn't sure that he wasn't one of the people who noticed and asked.  It's important to me to know simply because my husband has been the biggest external healing factor for me in this battle. Apparently I told him of my frustration when the other two guys were forcing me to eat and handling accountability so wrongly.  I honestly don't remember confiding this in my husband who was then just one of my close friends, but I do remember him loving me in spite of my eating disorder.

He patiently listened to me when I came to him crying because a guy in the youth group had said he could bench me.  I know, stupid thing to cry over, right?  I remember being livid with this guy because he tried to guess my weight.  Poor dumb fool. I, unfortunately for him, taught him the hard way to not discuss weight with a woman.  He smiled and said, "I could totally bench you.  What are you, like a buck-ten?"  My crazy won out and I screamed uncontrollably at him.  I told him to never ever ever talk about my weight or any other woman's weight again.  He was confused because neither he nor the other people in the office at that moment had ever seen this side of me.  I screamed, I punched him in the arm, I threw some papers on the floor and I stomped out.  That evening I told my some day husband about my crazy episode.  He never judged.  He was so unbelievably kind and understanding.

Early in my marriage my struggle once again got very difficult for a time.  My husband never forced me to eat or asked me about food.  He did however ask that I at least join him at the table while he ate.  He said he wanted my company.  He would ask me to take one bite.  I remember him having pizza and asking me to take one bite and then he wouldn't ask anymore of me if I couldn't.  I took one bite.  I cried the entire time I chewed it and nearly gagged as I swallowed it.  He kept his promise and didn't ask me to eat anymore. 

I'm sure it has been difficult over the years to not harp on me about what or when I've eaten.  I know I haven't made it easy for him.  But through it all, he has always been kind and understanding.  He has in so many ways been the physical manifestation of God's grace and healing in my life.  In the beginning of our marriage I, of course, had physical issues.  I felt that since I was married, that I never had to be touched again in my life.  I would try to "humor" him when he was feeling amorous but my heart wasn't in it.  He many times pulled away from me and said, "No, your mind isn't here and if I can't have all of you, I don't want to take any."  He wouldn't allow me to just go through the motions of sex, I had to be mentally with him as well or he would stop me. 

It was a long time before I learned why people refer to it as making love.  My dear sweet husband taught me that.  As I was loved unconditionally, in spite of my huge flaws and shortcomings, my heart began to trust.  As I began to trust him as a man, I began to heal.  Little by little my heart started healing.  I don't remember when I started eating regularly again.  I do though remember once looking in the mirror after I had gotten out of the shower and realizing that I couldn't count my ribs anymore.  I traced my throat with my hands and was suddenly aware that my collar bone no longer jutted out.  I looked at myself in the mirror and for the first time in my entire life, liked what I saw.

I liked that I was starting to look like a woman.  I liked that I didn't look constantly sick, pale, too thin etc.  That was the beginning of an incredible feeling.  That was when I realized that I could be beautiful not just sexy.  That was when I realized that looking healthy was a look I liked.  I excitedly showed my husband that evening when he got home from work.  I removed my clothes and showed him my ribs and collar bone.  He smiled and ever so sweetly told me I had never looked more beautiful and more like a woman.  That was the beginning of years of "sobriety".