Before I begin, I must put a trigger warning on this post. I don’t like to be that person—I never want to hurt or negatively impact a person’s progress—but, the purpose of this blog is to be honest with myself and my followers. So, if you are easily triggered by eating disorder related content or talk of suicide, then I would strongly advise you to read something more… uplifting. Although, this post isn’t ALL bad—I actually had a breakthrough, which some might see as uplifting (or at least encouraging).
If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you know things have been difficult for me. In an attempt to “cope” with these challenges, I’ve turned to my eating disorder for comfort. And, if you’ve ever struggled with an eating disorder (or any other addiction), you know that it doesn’t bring comfort like a warm blanket or a vanilla scented candle. No, it brings a chaotic and short-lived kind of comfort—the comfort aspect fades in one fell swoop and suddenly you’re left with depression, anxiety, guilt, and shame (on top of the eating disorder behaviors).
Unfortunately, I am stuck in this destructive and life-threatening cycle and I have been for months. It’s extremely difficult for me to admit that my life is out of control (again). After completing two rounds of intense treatment over the course of 4 years and racking up insurmountable medical bills, I thought I was free from the threat of a second relapse. However, that feeling of invincibility is ultimately what gave the eating disorder power. When everything started to go right, I neglected recovery; my thought pattern looked something like this, “if things are finally falling into place then I must be ‘over’ the disorder.” The feelings of euphoria over my hard-earned degree, new job, steady relationship, and new home gave me such a high that I failed to fix the one thing that had the ability to bring me down—the disorder. So, naturally, when all of those good things crashed and burned, so did my mental health.
Over the past few weeks, my depression has sunk to an all-time low. My lack of nutrition, coupled with my stressful job and endless stack of bills, pushed me over the edge. I stopped communicating with people at work, I ignored concerned phone calls and texts from my parents, and I spent my evenings and weekends hiding within the walls of my home, while my dogs begged me to get off the couch and play. I thought I had hit rock bottom during my last relapse, so I didn’t prepare myself for the new rock bottom I hit this weekend. After work on Friday, a wave of suicidal thoughts washed over me in full-force. I became even more depressed knowing I would be spending the 3-day holiday weekend alone, and my eating disorder used that to fuel the fire.
“You’re such a FAT loser! You can’t even get your ass off the couch!”
“It’s better you stay indoors anyway—no one would want to see you at the lake in a bikini!”
“Why don’t you just kill yourself now? You’ll never be able to starve yourself to death, you COW!”
“You will NEVER be good enough, so do us all a favor and stop trying!”
I don’t want to think what could have happened if I continued to listen to ED’s unrelenting voice. After bawling and pacing in the shower, trying (unsuccessfully) to drown out the voice, my phone dinged. Desperate for a distraction, I skimmed the text with blurred vision—it was from a good friend of mine (let’s call her B), wondering how I was doing and would I like to come over the next day? I decided to respond with a semi-honest answer. I told her I was going through a rough time with depression and anxiety, that I’d rather be left alone. However, she wouldn’t take no for an answer. She didn’t want me to be alone.
On Saturday, I debated standing her up for the better part of my morning. In the end, a teensy glimmer of hope got me to her doorstep. I wore big sunglasses to hide my puffy eyes, but they were no shield to B’s wise intuition.
“You look broken,” she said in a sad whisper.
“I feel broken,” I whispered back, as tears escaped beneath my shades.
And, that’s when B handed me a tissue, knelt down by my side and began praying for me. She prayed God grant me the strength needed to begin healing, and that He continue to stay by my side throughout life’s journey. It caught me by surprise; I consider myself a religious person, but no one ever prayed out-loud for my well-being before. I could hear the ED voice creeping in, “Don’t listen to that nonsense! You don’t need to heal.” But, I managed to ignore the voice and let her soothing words circulate temporary peace through my broken body and mind. When she finished, she enveloped me in a big hug and we chatted about possible solutions to fix my brokenness.
As I write this today (still depressed and unwell), I am grateful I was able to push aside my negative thoughts and feelings for that small time-frame with B; it gave me a brief moment of clarity, in which I was able to really mull things over. In the best interest of my health and overall well-being, I have made one of the biggest and most difficult decisions of my life: I am giving up my extremely independent lifestyle and moving back home to be closer to family. My house, which is one of my proudest achievements, went on the market today and I will be leaving my demanding (for me) job at the end of June. Part of me feels relieved, part of me feels like a loser. I look forward to having family support and more opportunities for growth in the city; however, I am disappointed in myself for failing at the whole independence thing—it has tarnished my pride. I thought I had my life figured out and now I’m afraid I never will. So, for now, instead of worrying about the unknown…
I am going to let my faith be bigger than my fears.