“She stands alone, both tall and true
The perfect picture of solitude.
The soul of a woman encased in bark
With limbs that move in a majestic arc. Alone she’s faced the storms of life
The wind and rain, disease and strife.
Others gave up, but no, not she
And there she stands for all to see.
She’s had her share of troubles and woes
But she made it through and still she grows.
Like her too, I know grief and pain
I’ve faced the wind, I’ve felt the rain.
And like her too, I still stand tall
Though life may beat me, I will not fall.
It may throw punches, I may take a blow
But in the end I too shall grow.
Each storm I weather increases my strength
And beneath this skin, my soul’s to thank.
The tree and I, we know what to do
We count on ourselves and make it through.”
Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Kimberly Kirberger
As a human, social worker, and Christian, I wholeheartedly believe in promoting and respecting the worth and dignity of every human life from conception to natural death, however, recently I have realized I do not extend this same care and grace to my life.
Sadly I am an expert at avoiding difficult feelings, ignoring warning signs of when I am slipping into the quicksand of eating disorder relapse, and all to often I am slowly diminishing my self-worth through my actions. While I do not always thank God for life’s difficult situations or tough decisions, I am blessed by the startling clarity of where I am currently in relation to recovery as well as being even more aware of where I truly want to be on the other side of this battle.
As much as I attempt to blindly deceive myself into believing the antiquated lies that “things are not that bad” or “I can stop the cycle without help”, I admit I am no longer able to deny the undisputable signs of progressive weight loss, the nudge from the logical part of my brain which knows although I am actively restricting, I must take the most difficult initial step back on the path toward recovery.
They say nothing in life worth having is never easy, and for nearly half my life this battle has been a struggle between survival and self-distruction, however, I know with certainty I do not want to die prematurely from starvation as a result of my choices.
On the difficult days, the part of me that fights for stability and survival quietly but urgently whispers, “give it another go; don’t give up because we are here on this earth for a purpose.” Despite the deceptive lies which trickle in with their confusion and cunning justifications for disordered behaviors, I am thankful I can distinguish the difference between reality and the warped, twisted illogical thoughts which can be spun and weaved into such a devilish tapestry of torture. My world revolves around contradictory oposites: right is wrong, up is down, food is bad, perfection is possible, and I am fat.
For my fellow fans of older Stephen King novels, the closest comparison I can make with my struggle with anorexia is to the book “It.” It has the shapeshifting abilities to take on the form of what I fear the most; It can magically morph and play the part of my only friend or my worst loathed enemy.
Rather than simply reminisce on the current state of things, the purpose of this entry is to remind myself and anyone else who may be struggling that we have options. We have a choice with each meal, every moment of each day we are blessed to encounter to ask for help when needed, and contrary to depression or an eating disorder, we possess the freedom to not suffer in silence.
Even though at this very moment I am unable to confidently say I am 100% working toward recovery, what I am willing to do from now on is pick up the fractured pieces from my past and present experiences in order to build a better future.
Let’s implement through our actions of self-care a daily meaningful commitment toward investing in recovery, because we only have one earthly chance to live our lives to the fullest.
Never forget you are valued, special and worth every ounce of wellness and recovery.
Until next time, be wel