Dear Body…

Gosh, I am so tired…  Oh, wait, no I’m not.  Ha.  I just haven’t been able to sleep recently, and it kinda sucks.  But I don’t know what my problem is.  I mean, I haven’t really been doing much different with my bedtime routine (besides not eating as much at night, and that should help me sleep, if anything).  But, whatever.  I guess I’ll just sit here and watch TV/write until I’m overcome with exhaustion.  Anyway, things have been going kind of ok-ish.  Well, these past couple of days have, anyway.  I’ve been steadily gaining weight and eating whatever I can get my hands on pretty much every night…  But the eating at night has definitely gotten better since I’ve been at home (I’ve got a long weekend home from treatment – I’ll probably write a more detailed post about that later).  And thank God for my best friend, who is keeping me accountable.  Maybe things won’t be so bad when insurance finally does kick me out of treatment.  Ha.

Speaking of treatment, though, I kind of want to work on one of my agendas that my therapist gave me gave me.  I know you’re probably wondering what I mean by “agenda,” because I didn’t know what it meant when I first heard it in this context.  Out therapists give us writing assignments to journal about and share in group therapy/individual session.  I’ve got several to work on, but there is one in particular that I am eager to get out of the way…

Agenda:  I will write a letter to my body telling it how I feel about/towards it.

Dear Body,

I’m not totally sure what I want to write to you right now.  I know that my therapist didn’t want me coming from a total self-hatred point of view, so I will try to keep that to a minimum.  But that’s not the only reason I am having a hard time.  I often hear people who write letters to their bodies say things like, “I don’t trust you,” or, “I don’t think you know what is best for me,” but I don’t think I feel that way.  I honestly think I trust you and your ability to use the food I give you in the right way and that you have the ability to tell me what I need – I guess it’s really me that you are having trust issues with.  And I’m sorry for that.  I guess this whole eating issue came about with my unhappiness with you and how you look, but it’s never had anything to do with how well you have treated me.

I guess what I really do want to say, though, is that I have always been embarrassed of you for not looking the way I wanted you to look or performing the way I wish you could.  I’ve always just wanted to be the best at everything – whether that be running, sports, yoga, strength training, being pretty, whatever.  And you have kept me from doing that.  I feel that you have done nothing but hold me back my entire life, and it gets so frustrating.  I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything more than to be happy with you and to be comfortable with your appearance…  But to be honest, I don’t even know what that means to me anymore.  I mean, I’ve experienced what it’s like for you to be the thinnest out of all of my friends and the biggest, but I was miserable at both ends of the spectrum.

So now that I think of it, I can understand that you would be having thoughts like, “What the **** do you want from me?!”  Especially during the times that I have abused you with restriction and even binging.  I always thought that I was doing what was best for you, but now I know that I have been doing just the opposite.  Oh, wait.  That trust word just popped up in my mind.  So maybe there is an aspect of trust that I am struggling with.  Or maybe it’s trusting the system…  Anyway, it’s the whole meal plan and stabilizing my weight thing that I’m having issues with.  How am I supposed to know how much is enough?  What if you don’t want to be the weight that I’d like you to be?  When am I going to figure out how to listen to the signals that you send me?  Is recovery ever going to feel as good as active addiction does?

If you ever find any answers to these questions, please let me know.  I’m getting pretty desperate.  I pray every day that something will click – like a switch in my mind that will just turn my ED voice off forever.  But I know that’s not how it works.  I know that God created me in His image, and I am exactly where I am meant to be according to His will.  I am so sorry that I have not been able to accept that.  I want to accept you just like He does.  It’s so easy for me to forget all that you do for me – all of the things that I take for granted – and cover them up with thoughts of self-hatred, shame, and anger.  I feel betrayed by you…  But I think it’s time for me to try to see things from your perspective and see how I have in fact betrayed you.

I hope that you will forgive me, and it is my prayer that some day we can be at peace.  I’m trying to learn to appreciate all that you have done and continue to do for me.  You are a miraculous work of art, signed by God, and deserve to be treated as such.

Thanks for listening,

Me

Stay Young, Go Dancing

I just love this song.  Even though it doesn’t really have anything to do with what I’ll be writing about. ;)

What I do want to write about, though, is how these past couple weeks have been.  Gosh, it’s been intense.  So many ups and quite a few downs.  But great, nonetheless. :)

I really should be writing more…  Well, I guess I technically am writing a lot; I just never post what I write because it’s all things that my therapist wants me to write about.  And sometimes that is a little more personal than I would like to share with the world right now, ha ha.  I do plan on sharing a few at some point, though.

Ok, so back to the point: treatment.  It’s finally sinking in.  I am in a treatment center to help me in recovery of my eating disorder.  And to be honest, it is one of the best decisions I have ever made.  Not only am I making steps towards recovery every day, I am learning more about myself and have made the most amazing friends.  Gosh, I can’t even describe how wonderful these people are – the staff and fellow clients.  I’ve begun to feel closer to them than I have recently felt towards some of my oldest friends and even family.  It’s just so easy to be real – to be me – while I’m here because there’s no reason to have any guard up.  I mean, we all know each other’s deepest secrets.  It’s incredible, really.  And so refreshing after hiding behind my problems for so long…

Every day, I am challenged to dig deeper into my conscious in order to find out what it is I am trying to cover up with my eating disorder.  Anxiety?  Depression? Guilt?  Pain?  It’s all there, but at this point I can’t distinguish one from another.  I am wrestling with my inner being in an attempt to break down the wall I have been working my whole life to build up.  The wall that keeps me from my deepest pain.  But I am convinced that until I get to the root of the darkness trapped within my eating disorder, I won’t be able to overcome it.

Heavenly Father, hear my cry tonight.  Help me.  Save me.  Give me the desire, courage, and strength I need to overcome this battle.  Lord, I know that with Your mighty power within me, all things are possible.  Only You can save me, and I praise You for loving me enough to do that.  I am so deserving of all of the suffering I have ever gone through and more, but Your perfect love, grace, and mercy have rescued me from it all and always will.  Thank You for the blessings You have so willingly given me.  Please, God, forgive me of the ways I have failed You.  You know all of my faults and impurities.  You know my desires and my needs.  May Your will be done in all things, and may I praise You through it all.  Father, I pray all of these things for the glory of Your precious name, Amen.

BeYOUtiful

Pinterest

Does anybody else see something wrong here???

I know that your Pinterest home board is completely random depending on who you follow, but what I saw just a few minutes ago really struck me…  My thought process as I see these pictures:  “OMG, that burger looks AMAZING!” *looks to the model in the shorts* “Well, I don’t think I’m ever going to eat a cheeseburger again in my life…”

I’ve recently become more aware of mass media’s portrayal of women and how their (or should I say OUR) bodies “should” look.  It disgusts me!  I had the privilege of going to listen to a panel of women speak on the topic of body image and eating disorder recovery, and one of the topics covered was “Becoming a Critical Consumer in Media.”  I was blown away by the impact ads and magazines and commercials can have on our self-esteem, even if we don’t think they do.  The super models being photographed to represent women as a whole are smaller than NINETY EIGHT percent of the women in the United States.  Ninety eight.  Wow.

But that’s not all.  We watched a video of how photographers can enhance a picture – completely alter the appearance of someone (man or woman) – in order to mimic what our culture considers “beautiful.”  From rounding out the eyes to literally stretching out the body in order to appear taller and/or slimmer, when they get done editing, the person is simply fake.  Like I said before, I find it completely disgusting.

Why can’t normal women be considered beautiful by the media?  What is wrong with the bodies God has so lovingly blessed us with??  Gosh, I will be the first person to admit that I play the comparison game.  I flip through magazines or look at the emails I get from clothing stores and think, “If only I could be THAT size…”  And I hate that about myself.  But it’s so hard not to do when we as consumers are constantly bombarded by this false standard for how women look.  Now, I will say that I admire companies like American Eagle’s Aerie who do NOT retouch their models for their ads, and I desperately wish that others would jump on board.

If only society would send the message that the REAL you is beautiful.  Not the girl who goes on all of the bikini-body diets or takes all the latest and greatest diet pills or has the “will power” to stay away from that extra cookie.  The woman who is curvy, comfortable, and confident in who she is…  THAT is what I want to see portrayed in the ads of my favorite brands.

Anyways, that was just my thought/rant for the day.  I feel that the farther I go into my own recovery process, the more sensitive I become to issues like this.  So I am writing this, not to just tell you that you’re beautiful (which you ARE), but to remind myself of that as well.  I have obviously struggles with my own body image distortions for a majority of my life, and it’s things like this that just give me another person/image to compare myself to that really get under my skin.

To whomever may be reading this that struggles with similar issues, I pray that you will realize the worth you have in God’s eyes.  And I pray that for myself.  We are all in this together. <3

Taking a Chance

Image

So, after a lot of prayer and several appointments with my nutritionist, doctor, and counselor, I think I have made the decision to go to a treatment center this summer.  Yep.  There goes all of the plans I’ve made for the remainder of my undergraduate college career.  Going to treatment means no summer classes.  No summer classes means getting behind in my coursework.  And the domino effect goes on…  But, I think this is the choice that is best for me.  It’s time for me to focus on myself and not school.  This is the only chance I have for recovery; I believe it is a chance that the Lord is presenting me with that I can’t afford to pass up.  I should be thankful for the opportunity…

But I can’t shake the feeling of shame.  I feel like I’m giving up.

Weak.

 

I guess I will eventually find acceptance in it.  All I have to do now is find a way to tell my parents.

I need You

Things got better [for a while, at least], and are spiraling down once again.  Last week was great until I slipped up on Friday, and I never recovered from it.  I feel so hopeless sometimes, really.

I had an appointment with my nutritionist this afternoon and got the usual stuff:  a new goal sheet, some dietary information, and of course some new rules.  Ugh, I am just so tired of the fight.  It’s a battle that I’m losing.  I even had to call my mom today to so that I could cry to her about how sad my life is (thank goodness she is always willing to listen).  It’s been so long since I’ve just let it go like I did.  I’m exhausted from worrying so much ALL the time about EVERYTHING.  I feel horribly ugly – I’ve gotten too fat to fit into any of my clothes except my nike shorts and t-shirts, and I have acne that’s worse than a 16-year-old boy’s.  I know I’m supposed to feel beautiful because I am a “divine work of art signed by God,” but I can’t seem to make myself believe it.

God, help me.  Restore me.  Heal me.  I need You more and more every day.  Father, thank You for giving me the strength to get this far.  I may feel down right now, but I know that You have saved me from so much more destruction than I can imagine.  Without You, I would be nothing.  Lord, I just feel so broken right now.  I need You to pick me up, hold me, put me back together…  Help me to find that hope that I once had; help me to stay motivated.  God, I pray that every time I feel like giving up, I would be reminded of the strength I have in You.  Please forgive me for all of the ways that I have failed You (I know they are too numerous to count).  Thank You for the gift of the cross that You so lovingly gave me and for showing me grace when I least deserved it.  Jesus, thank You for taking on all of the pain and suffering that is rightfully mine.  I know that Your ways are higher than my ways, Lord, and I ask that You would guide me as You will.  Heavenly Father, I ask all of these things for Your glory alone, Amen.

One Step Forward and 5,481,957,130 Steps Back…

Woke up an hour ago and have already given in.  It’s so awful. I can’t even control myself in the mornings anymore. When is this going to stop? When am I going to be normal? When am I going to have control over myself again? I’m just so ready to give up…  It kind of feels like I already have, though… What else am I supposed to do? Eat more? HA. That’s a good one. I actually think I ate more than my boyfriend did this weekend (which is so pitiful, given the shear amount of food he is able to pack down on a daily basis). I’m gaining weight way too fast, and I can’t seem to find the strength to stop.  I can’t take it anymore.
I’m so fat. I’m unattractive. I’m weak. I’m a coward. I’m a glutton. I’m selfish.

But… I am saved. I am free. I am a child of the one, true God.  I can’t keep forgetting about that!!  I always get so caught up in my own desires – whether that be to lose weight or have self control or anything – that I forget where my strength to do these things comes from in the first place.

Lord, please forgive me for my selfishness. Forgive me for neglecting the fact that I can’t do any of this on my own and for not relying on You in my times of need. Give me the comfort I so desperately need at this time, but also give me the strength I need to live my life to glorify You rather than to satisfy my own fleshly desires. Give me wisdom to make decisions based on what I NEED rather than what I merely want at a given moment. And, Father, I thank You for everything that You have so graciously done for me. You never fail to shower me with good things, and I consistently fail to recognize Your blessings. Please forgive me for all the ways I have failed You. Please help me to have more self control. I know now that I cannot do this on my own, no matter how hard I try. I know that I am not going to find any sense of value from the way I look. God, I want to find my worth in You and You alone. It is because of You that I am a priceless creation; it is foolish of me to think otherwise. I know that I was bought at a price – You sent Your ONLY son to die for ME. For my guilt, my shame, my filth, my sin… Lord, I am so sorry for ever failing to remember this. I need You more and more each day, and I know that You will never fail me.
For all of this I pray for Your glory alone, Amen.

You say ‘nothin…

You say
‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’
I say
nothing feels as good as eating dinner with your family
on a Saturday night
laughing and talking and chewing
feeling free.
Nothing feels as good as baking cookies with little siblings
stealing bits of dough and chocolate chips
and eating one fresh out of the oven.
Nothing feels as good as curling up on the couch with a good book
and a steaming mug of creamy hot chocolate
with extra marshmallow
on a cold winter’s night
because you chose to be healthy
to get better
to see colour again
because the little things make it worth the struggle.
You take your skinny, your bones, your hunger
I’ll take
life.
a.j.h.

Life.  So much meaning behind that little word.  What do you think of when hear it?

Success?  Family?  School?  Work?  Appearance?

Hmm…  What about Jesus?  He said Himself “I am the way, the truth, and the LIFE.” (John 14:6 HCSB)  How often do we look at the obstacles – big or small – we face in life as though they are the end-all be-all of the world as we know it?  (And trust me, I am preaching to myself right now)  I have been struggling so much lately with the way I feel about myself, and sometimes it seems like it is the only thing I can ever focus on.  It has taken complete control of my life.  When can I have it back?

But then I realize that my life was never MINE to begin with.  I don’t live my life for myself because JESUS is my life.  I should be striving to bring Him glory in all that I do.  Is my focusing on my insecurities doing that?  Absolutely not!  But what do I do about it?  How can I stop?

These are the questions I am left asking myself.

Lord, give me the answers.  Give me the strength that I can’t muster on my own.  I know that with Your help, I can overcome any battle that I face in this life.  And I thank You for that, Father; Your grace and mercy never cease to amaze me.  God, please forgive me for my distance, for my doubts, and for any other sins I have committed against You.  You are above all and are so amazing to care enough about ME to send Your son, Jesus Christ, as a propitiation for my filth and baggage.  Praise the Lord! <3                                             

Ready, Set, Spring Break!

Man…  Do you ever have those days when you swear it’s Thursday but it’s actually Wednesday and every time you think about it, you feel depressed?  Today is one of those days for me!  This week seriously cannot come to an end soon enough. But, at the same time, I need more time. Time for myself. Time to relax. Time to be an introvert. #antisocialprobs
I feel like I have been moving 90-to-nothing these past couple of weeks (and it’s probably because I have). A trip to DC, staff retreat for summer camp, three exams, doctor’s appointments, meetings, the list continues to go on… Life is hard busy. I hate to complain about how much has been going on, because it has really been a lot of fun! I just desperately need some time to recharge.
Come on, Spring Break… You’re so close (yet so far away). I can here the gulf calling my name. But only to tell me to get back to work. :P I’m going on a mission trip with my church for most of the week, so I still have a while before I can get some legitimate rest; but I am so excited to see what The Lord has in store for me and the other 300 college students that will be going. :)

Lord, prepare and equip those of us going to serve others over spring break.  Give us willing spirits and compassionate hearts as we come together as the hands and feet of Christ.

All praise, honor, and glory are Yours, Heavenly Father, forever and ever.  Amen.