[Original Post Date: March 31, 2014]
I have a lot of thoughts. If you’ve spent any amount of time with me, you know this is true. However, there are two words you can say to me that make my thoughts spin so quickly, they disappear.
I’ve been in recovery for nearly a year and half for Anorexia Nervosa, a misunderstood, under-researched mental illness. I know it’s hard to understand an eating disorder, so I’m going to do my best to paint a picture of what happens when someone tells me to "just eat."
What’s your biggest fear? Spiders? Being alone? Debt? Walking down Pearl Avenue alone at 3am on Monday night? Screaming tornado sirens and swirling clouds? Maybe you’ve never experienced panic, but I imagine everyone has felt overwhelmed by frustration and a loss of control.
This is what it feels like when you tell me to “just eat.” Because for me, it’s not “just eating.” It’s losing control. It’s failing. It’s exhausting. It’s isolation. It’s shame.
It’s losing control because “you couldn’t even say no to a piece of cake.”
It’s failing because “your worth is in your caloric intake.”
It’s exhausting because “you have to work out for the next 2 hours if you swallow that piece of cake.”
It’s fear because “that piece of cake might cause your body to swell, your throat to swell, and inevitably suffocate you.”
It’s isolation because “no one understands why to me, that piece of cake might as well be Voldemort holding the Elder Wand.”
It’s shame because “you let down your recovery team.”
It’s not “just eating.” It’s so many other things and so many other things in about .2 seconds.
Friends, you’re allowed to have fears. I’m allowed to have fears. My fears may look more like a piece of cheesecake to you, but for me, it looks like hiking on slippery rocks on the edge of Everest.
As I share one of my fears with you, I encourage you to engage with your own. What are your fears? From what are they holding you back? How do we let God into our fears?
For me, it’s being open. It’s surrounding myself with Scripture. It’s calling my roommate from my kitchen floor as I sob over the decision of whether or not to eat oatmeal or a protein bar for dinner. It’s going to counseling and asking for help. It’s believing that Jesus died to set me free.
As you face your fears, this is my prayer for you:
“The Lord bless you and protect you; the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you;The Lord turn His face toward you and give you His PEACE.” Numbers 6:24-26