A Surprising Intervention

Husband and I are addicted to a show called Intervention. If you haven’t seen it, it’s pretty self-explanatory; it focuses usually on one individual, but sometimes they share two individual’s stories, whom have an addiction. 99% of the time, the person is addicted to drugs or alcohol.

We went to watch one last night, and it was about two different stories. One girl, Gina, was addicted to heroin. The other, Kaila, was anorexic.

I had never thought about anorexia as an “addiction,” although I’ve often said that during those times, losing weight was addicting, not necessarily the disorder itself. For most, you would probably ask how the two are different. It’s just something that a lot of people won’t understand: there are many facets to an eating disorder, and none of them truly make sense. I mean, a disease that convinces you that you are fat when you are 85 pounds is not likely rational, right?

Surprising Intervention1

Anyways, as we were watching {which sometimes can be hard for me}, I got an eery chill in my bones when Kaila spoke the words verbatim that I had said to husband not even two weeks ago.

“I needed something to make me feel special, different. That {anorexia} made me different, and sometimes even better. Powerful; because I could say no. That I didn’t need food when others did.”

Hearing the same words I said coming from another person’s mouth almost made me cry. It truly is that messed up. It’s a disease that festers on a persons insecurity by telling them they are fat, then the insecurity gets worse as you lose the weight; but on the flip side, you feel more powerful?

Surprising Intervention

I don’t think anyone, even people who have been through/are going through it, will ever really understand it. I know I didn’t. People have been trying to figure it out for years, and it being a fairly new disease, a lot of questions have yet to be answered. Who knows if they ever will?

Anorexia Nervosa is the number one mental illness that leads to death. This shows just how powerful it can be: Gina went to treatment, and has been sober since.  Kaila left treatment after 12 weeks, and hasn’t spoken to her parents because if she didn’t go to treatment, her parents would stop paying for her schooling.

Anorexia had more power over a woman’s brain than a woman who’s body was physically addicted to heroin.

Just a little food for thought {no pun intended}, I guess. It was just something that had been on my mind since viewing it.

Watch this documentary if you wish to know more about the strange illness.

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Uplifting in Discouragement Part 4: Final

During the conference, after I had begun to feel the healing process take place in my soul and body, I can honestly tell you that the spiritual warfare began immediately. All of the sudden, I found myself being so distracted, especially during the worship times. I began judging women, which honestly is one thing that I pride myself in not doing. I asked for God to help keep my attention on Him, on worshiping Him and thanking Him for what He was doing.

I could hear things in my brain that are things the real me would never think about. In the middle of a Christian conference. But that just goes to show that God was doing amazing things not just for me, but for hundreds of women. The devil was feeling threatened.

While that’s a great thing, it can also be dangerous if you don’t put your guard up. I had visions of the next week, and saw Satan slowly taking away everything I learned and me spiraling down into my dark place that I so often used to go. I did not want that.

When I felt like I was being healed, I thought to myself, “Wow, God is moving in me and soon, I won’t have to deal with this thing that has plagued me for eight years!” Then I thought about cancelling my therapy appointment because I knew God was going to heal me. But then when I felt that spiritual warfare, I knew that I couldn’t count on myself to keep moving forward. Especially since it had been eight years. I believe that God made therapists and counselors for a reason and so even if it was just for the first appointment, I would go.

And I did. And I love her. She is a Christian counselor who understands how big of a role my faith plays in my healing.

So, me writing all of this down is for me to never forget. Ever. I can say that even since the conference less than two weeks ago, I have had to reread in times of despair. Even just on Saturday, Husband had to help me consciously stop saying terrible things about myself that I didn’t even realize I was. And if someone gains something from this story, well, that’s even better.

I am still constantly a work in progress, but I believe in a God who heals.

Healing

Uplifting in Discouragement Part 2

Click here to read part one of this story.

The next morning, I was ready to be rocked again. After hearing those words, I knew that the rest of the weekend had amazing things in store.

One of my best friends, Katie Leach {she goes by Kate now, but I will never cease to call her Katie; Sorry Katie! You love me :)} was a guest speaker for the event and had her moment to shine that Saturday morning, and boy, did she ever.

I will be true and honest with you; over the past month I have been depressed. I say depressed because I don’t know what other word{s} to use. I don’t hate myself and who I am like I used to, but my body image and self esteem in the physical realm have been completely and utterly depleted. I’ve felt like it’s been even more so than when I was anorexic. I’ve heard a lot of people call weight gain due to a marriage to be defined as “contentment”, but I did not know how to deal with this.

I know it sounds so silly, but to me it was a very real, very emotional and dark time. To gain weight for most people doesn’t stop them from living their lives, but for someone who {albeit doesn’t suffer physically as much} suffers from an eating disorder, it does. Oh man, it does. And it gets worse; because of the physical damage my body endured for so long, I literally wasn’t able to starve myself, even though I tried. It became {what I think is worse than just starving} a dangerous starve/binge cycle. One can only imagine that even though you restrict, you gain weight. I gained 5 pounds last month. 5. That’s big for 5’2″.

Anyways, it began affecting my social life. I hated that every single thing that gathers people together revolves around food. I looked at the other women in our marriage group with envy because they could just eat, enjoy it, and not think about it for the next 24 hours. It became hard for me to pay attention. It stole the joy I once had from such a good thing.

Have you ever heard the song “I’m Worn” by Tenth Avenue North? I read these lyrics to husband about a month back and just cried as I read them, because they’re so true:
I’m Tired I’m worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes
I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world

I’d gotten so close several times before to complete healing, to even wanting to be healed, but something inside me would say, “No! Stop! This is where you’re comfortable. Out there, healing, that’s scary!”

But I’d finally had enough. I’d held on to my eating disorder for so long, and it had such grips on me that I finally wanted out. I wanted to be normal. Normal! Is that so much to ask?! I’d made the decision to seek out help. So, the Thursday before the retreat, I found a therapist and made an appointment with her for the next Monday, after the retreat.

So back to Katie. First of all, I wanted to say that worship was amazing. One of our worship leaders pleaded with God to let the Lord literally breathe his presence over us, and that my friends, is just what He did. I just cried during worship. I knew I was there for a reason.

I had no idea what Katie was speaking on prior to that morning, and when she got up and declared that she was speaking on what God created women to be, I knew it was going to be good.

I’ll focus on the last point, but Katie said these three things: God made women to be strong. God made women to be persuasive. And God made women to be beautiful.

That last one got me. It got me good. She spoke of Esther and how she won the kings favor with her beauty {Esther 2:15}. She also said that Satan has a special hatred for women. Doesn’t that make sense, though? He was the most beautiful angel and turned from God and became ugly. He can take people’s joy, kindness, love toward one another… but if you think about this, he cannot take beauty. It is impossible for Satan to take a physical trait away from you.

Women have gone so long thinking, “If I think I’m beautiful, that’s selfish or conceited.” What would our friends think if we said, “I just look absolutely beautiful today”? Isn’t it sad that even with our own friends, we can’t feel comfortable living in the beauty that God made us? Sad! It’s begun to make me angry! It shouldn’t ruin or run my life!

But these words… even if just not for myself to stop saying terrible things about me… these words have begun to change my thinking; it hurts Him when we criticize ourselves because we were made beautiful in His image.

You are beautiful, like Esther.

You have won The Kings favor, like Esther.

Stay tuned for the next post for more about that weekend.

Side note: I wanted to say that everything I’ve heard, read and felt is from none other than Yahweh, Jehovah Jireh, the Emmanuel; Jesus Christ. I don’t want to offend anyone, but I also don’t want to live a lukewarm life. He is where my inspiration comes from, and no. One. Else.

Final Worthy Wednesday

16 weeks ago, I started a weekly post called Worthy Wednesdays, about finding my self worth and value to the world. Originally, I had committed to 20 weeks, {or until mid-February} but I have to tell you: I feel like starting this new year is a great time to finish, because I feel like I can be done with this.

I don’t know how or why, but in doing this, I feel like my quality of life is so much better, and I can truly look at myself and say that I am happy. I am human, like any of you, and will have a bad day or two, but I can face it. I no longer have a massive guilt hanging over my head, weighing me down. I no longer punish myself for making a small mistake, or worrying so much about what other people think of me. I have embraced myself.

I still hold myself accountable for the things that I do, and think deeply before I do or say something {most of the time – human, remember?}, but I feel a freedom I’ve never felt. This isn’t supposed to be some warm and cozy “love yourself” kind of thing. I can really only say that God took me through this journey, and it is by Him alone that I am able to proclaim all of this.

I hope someone somewhere has also benefited from reading my stories and my journey. I hope that they will not be afraid to say what’s on their mind and talk about their feelings. It’s a scary thing to be raw and vulnerable, but the freedom you get from just speaking aloud about it is far beyond any fear that you may feel in the beginning.

So, this being the last Worthy Wednesday, and even though it’s a week after the new year, it is still a new year. I think the best way to end this chapter is to remind myself of some of my favorite moments of last year, thinking of all the good things that happened to me, and not dwelling on any devastation or loneliness of 2012.

I’m sure someday I will have to go back and read through all of my WW posts to remind myself of how far I’ve come, because we know that sometimes people stumble along the way. If I do, I will pick myself and keep moving forward.

WW FinalEnjoy 🙂

Worthy Wednesdays Part 8: Don’t Apologize

Well, do, but when the time is right.

Do you find yourself always apologizing for the things you do? I don’t mean things you should actually apologize for, I’m talking about things that don’t require an apology; the things you’re comprised of. I feel like if I’m around people {especially ones I don’t know}, I’m constantly apologizing – for being too loud, not being funny enough, not saying the right things, not acting “cool” – all because I want those people to like me.

That’s pretty silly if you ask me.

God gave us all these traits for a reason. Sometimes I’m loud, but if you don’t like it, why should I try to pretend I’m not to force you to like me? Sometimes I’m a complete spaz, but Husband thinks I’m silly, and it makes for a very fun life. I wouldn’t change that or mask it to earn a fake friendship.

“Be weird. Be random. Be who you are. Because you never know who will love the person you hide.” – Unknown.

Can you imagine Dr. Seuss saying, “I’m sorry I’m so weird and that you don’t understand me.”?

Don't Apologize

Worthy Wednesdays Part 7: Compare

Don’t do it. Simple.

A wise man once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

I’m just going to be real here, okay? I love my husband and even though we definitely haven’t had the easiest of situations in our short time together, I wouldn’t change any part of our marriage or life together.

That being said, it is one of the most {if not the most} difficult challenges that God has asked to walk through – to marry a man who has been married.

As a woman, it is my human nature to constantly compare… compare the things I do, the way I act, how I look – to a woman that he once loved and has even had children with. The good, the bad – it all filters through my mind like sand through an hour glass. How is she better? How am I better? How can I try to be better than her?

But if I put all of that wasted energy into GOD and seeing what HE has for my life, and the people I love, how much better would my quality of life be? How amazing it would be to not torment myself with such vapid and, quite honestly, laughable thoughts!

So, I won’t do it any more. Any time these thoughts arise, I will write down how I can better my life, my marriage, God’s kingdom and the WORLD.

There will be no more room for anything else in my head.

Compare

Worthy Wednesdays Part 6: Happy People

Sometimes, when you’re feeling down, all you need is a change of surrounding. This is simple and pretty obvious, but how often do we get into a slump and not do anything except dwell and sit around in our darkness?

And I’m not just talking about the things in your home, or wherever you might be, but what about the people? The sounds? The smells? Make a habitat that makes you feel happy, with people who don’t bring you down. Everyone has that friend who is negative, and by no means am I saying to drop them as a friend {they need help too, but with someone who is feeling strong enough to handle it}, but when you’re already vulnerable to be brought into negative feelings, maybe take a break from them. And then again, everyone has that friend who is always happy – surround yourself with such people, researching and learning. I don’t know about you, but being around a happy person makes me feel just that – happier.

Now, awhile back I said don’t count on people – still true, but people are a part of life nonetheless, and sometimes being alone is dangerous. I don’t mean to rely on them for your happiness, but learn how they live their own happy life.

Worthy Wednesdays Part 5: Blinding

A few weeks ago, Husband and I had a leisurely Saturday, and instead of playing video games or watching movies as usual, I suggested we did something new.

We found 70 random questions, answered them, and then guessed what the others’ answers were. We learned a few new things about each other.

One question that really stood out to me was, “Would you rather be blind or deaf?” I know that we have all at one point or another been asked this, and contemplated it on our own. We know it’s a hard question to answer, because most of us have never been either. My answer even surprised me.

I said I would rather be blind. Even with as much as I love art, and seeing the people I love, this was my theory:

If everyone in the world was blind, how much differently would we treat people? If you can’t see, you can’t judge someone based on their outward appearance. You would have to rely on knowing the person they are on the inside.

Would love be stronger, truer? Would people be more kind, not knowing what “fat”, “ugly”, “weird” even looks like?

These are things I ponder frequently, and so I decided to go at least 24 hours without looking at myself in the mirror. Sounds silly at first, but try it – it’s much harder than you think. Being free from the bindings of vanity, you will be forced to see what the real you has to offer – not what you look like but who you are. And then maybe we can see ourselves through different eyes.

Worthy Wednesdays Part 4: Outlets

I was talking to my friends sister-in-law on Monday night, whom is also an artist, and she was telling me how when her and her family were living in a family members basement for a short while, all of their things {including her art supplies} were in storage. She told me that not painting or using her creativity was a hard thing for her and that she literally went into a depression for a moment.

I could relate to that, and I think a lot of people could. Everyone has their own outlet – whether that be running, painting, journaling, etc. It’s whatever you do where you emotions can literally leave your body. When I paint, you can tell how I feel {usually}. When I’m mad, my paintings are dark and eerie, or when I’m happy, they are bright and abstract. Art is a place where people can tell how I feel and I don’t have to say anything – and often times I don’t.

Every concern, sorrow, and excitement are feelings that are there for a reason, we are just responsible for providing a release. If we don’t, these feelings fester and can turn into something more dangerous, like self-loathe or hatred towards others. The more you practice “letting it out”, the more you can learn that you are counseling yourself without words.

This week, try new things. I can already think of a few people who are saying, “Well, I don’t know what I would do that I would be good at.” Being “good” at something doesn’t matter – try everything. Draw, journal, sculpt clay, exercise, even craft. If you don’t try new things, you’ll never know the possibilities of activities you’ll enjoy.  Use your outlet.

Worthy Wednesdays Part 3: You are You

A huge step for me in this whole process was realizing that I cannot count on people to make me feel good about myself. And why would I want to? People will judge people no matter what. After all, we are all human.

My husband helped me understand this one day when he got tired of me asking if I cleaned the house good enough, made a good enough meal, or if I was even a good wife at all. He said that he endlessly tells me “yes” to these things, but somehow it’s not enough for me. This is the reason why one should never put their worth into what another thinks of them – because no matter how much they praise you or reassure you, the problem is that you yourself are the one that is not happy with who you are.

So this week, my challenge is to not ask someone what they think about you or anything you do or produce. For example, I finally did some drawings on Monday that I’ve been wanting to do for awhile now, and I looked at them and judged them for myself. I didn’t ask for anyone’s confirmation, but I liked them. And it felt so good to know that I approved of myself. What a change in my attitude!

Wear what you want to wear, do what you are good at and most importantly, be who God made you to be.

Don’t change for anyone‘s approval because you are a very rare breed – you are the ONLY you! How beautiful is that?