Category Archives: Eating Disorders ED

Stars In The Night

I think that I am going to let this song, STARS IN THE NIGHT by Tenth Avenue North be the narrative for the past 6 months. It will put ‘grand/lofty/high’ words behind this chapter for the past 6. months. It is so hard to communicate the lows without the lows sounding too desperate. It was, at times, heart breaking and hopeless but I refused to give up, I reached out, I spoke out and God refused to let me give in.

No matter where you lead
We wanna follow you
The trouble is we forget who we belong to
We chase the wind and tides
We chase the reasons why
Chase the spark inside each other’s eyes
Desires are at war
We want that final shore
Sailing on until we find what we’ve been looking for

December and January were a blur. On many nights, I found myself driving around downtown sitting in my car, in the absence of sound. Looking at the stillness of the lights. The cold nights brought fewer people than most months. Gosh, like in search of stillness. In search of numbness.

We fix our eyes on what we know is true
Even in our shame grace makes a way through
We are obsession, a constellation
You are light in and out of every season
So we keep pressing on
With our redemption song
No one can undo what you’ve done

February and March: What I learned to be true was that I am not hopeless. I went to the doctor to see if I could change my antidepressant. I cannot say enough of the steadfastness of my friends. There were some days I did not know what I wanted or needed. To have the freedom to be vulnerable and the freedom to be me. . . that is what they gave me.

Hallelujah
We’re running to you
On fire from the mercy in your eyes
And through the dark
Singing we are yours
Your love will lead us through the fight
Like stars in the night

April and May: It was like I was moving out of the “fog”. I had more clarity. I felt like I had more choices (even though I had these choices all along.) I decided to stop attending my “broken and beloved” study. I went back to my doctor to alter my prescription again. I made an appointment with my therapist to catch up and get some clarity. I am for sure feeling more like myself. More enthusiasm, more energy, less sadness, less crying.

More living. . . less wilting It is strange to not feel like yourself. Stress is a powerful thing. From December to early April I was in constant “fight or flight” mode. What is a healthy response to fear/danger became stuck in the “on” position. Instead of saving our lives, it can contribute to insomnia, depression, panic attacks, and a host of other health concerns. Instead of being a life-preserver, it can wreak havoc on our health, performance, and quality of life (Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald, “Is Your Stress Response Stuck in the ‘On’ position?”).

I believe that it took my husband, my friends, my doctor, my therapist, my God and my self to REFUSE to give up or give in. To anyone reading, who is in a desperate place, a dangerous place, a dark place. . . there is absolutely hope, and it is not just one thing. It is a combination of support that can bring a powerful change. It is not easy to reach out or to be vulnerable, but I have no regrets. Life is tough sometimes. We are all wired differently. I just refuse to stop fighting!!

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Broken and Beloved: Chairs

What if God allows brokenness to bring us into closer relationship with Him? What if the pain is to reshape us to understand how beloved we truly are? You will learn how to build a compassionate and Christ-based identity out of difficult experiences or past shame using biblical study, psychological principles, and art therapy. Includes teaching and small group processing.

-Jill Baird, “Broken and Beloved

 

Several months ago, I was working on a chart in my Broken and Beloved group that began with a particular “event”. That event triggered an emotional response in me that I was not expecting. 

My “trigger” was an incident involving a close relative. In that moment, I was replaying everything that I have watched for several months. I was replaying,  watching her in the beginning of this relationship and how loved she is by my husband, how beautiful she is, how smart she is, how capable she is, how independent she is and in that moment I was afraid . . . because . . . in her anger/selfishness she was “going to lose it all”.  She was getting ready to lose and throw away EVERYTHING that I never had. . .  at her age: beauty, independence, talent, intelligence, the love of her dad, the love of someone who thinks she hung the moon and then some. . . 

Then, I took these thoughts/feelings to a “circle chart”. The chart has 3 circles: vulnerable self, critical self, ideal self. The intersection of these 3 circles is a “dotted-line” heart, the healthiest of all 3.

This was an emotional activity for me, because I explored and challenged all of the thoughts that I had in that moment with her.  As I explored those, I uncovered MORE. I uncovered deeper. (After this day, I cried all day and had the worst headache.)

The following week, I took the thoughts and feelings that I wrote on my circle chart and volunteered to process them openly. . .  There were 4 chairs: vulnerable self, ideal self, critical self, coach.

 I took 3 shards of glass/pottery from our first group meeting when I broke a piece of pottery/glass into chards with a hammer, as an activity to express a “shattering” to eventually display these pieces as “broken and beloved”. On each piece, I wrote down 3 things from my “trigger” event that stood out. THEN, I chose one of the pieces to bring to the chairs. WHOA. I chose, “you are going to lose it all.” My eyes got giant as I moved toward the chairs, not sure what to expect. 

I moved from chair to chair and looked at the chair as I talked to that particular part of myself. I took what I felt in the moment of the trigger event, she was getting ready to lose and throw away EVERYTHING that I never had. . .  at her age: beauty, independence, talent, intelligence, the love of her dad, the love of someone who thinks she hung the moon and then some. . .  and spoke those out loud to myself. At times, it was hard to speak without crying. It hurt to hear these things. These things. . . I would tell myself in private in hope that I would stimulate a change. . . were now being exposed. It made me sad to think that I felt this way about myself. The most vulnerable part of myself was scared and afraid and being silenced.

 I yelled at my critic to stop being mean, that she was hurting the vulnerable self. I told my vulnerable self that she was beautiful and she was going to be okay.  I looked at my critic and told her that she was going to be alright too. On some level, each part was hurting and scared. Each part needed to know that she was going to be okay.

And suddenly, she found herself grateful. Grateful for all the darkness and the heartbreak because it allowed her to recognize true love when she found it. And she knew without a doubt, that all the broken, shattered, forgotten pieces of her soul were worth putting back together again.

-Megyn Blanchard

Grief. . . It’s Complicated

I remember her first day of gymnastics. I remember asking her if she knew she was beautiful and her answer was ALWAYS, emphatically, “YES!!” She was a force then. She is a force now. For a while she was safe from anyone else’s words or opinions (even her own). She can’t be little forever. . .

It began back in the summer of 2017. A course of events, words, scenarios triggered something in me, pulled out a file in my brain. “Triggers are capable of ambushing you without your consent and at any moment,” according to Pat Schwiebert, R.N. “Grief Triggers”. An unrelenting sadness seemed to take over. I could not explain the feeling. I could not figure out the origin. . . This began before the struggles with eating. 

So I locked it up, the grief, and tried to throw away the key. I felt like I was dealing with stolen goods. The grief wasn’t mine to have. . . To stop yourself from grieving because it’s against the rules or because you think it shouldn’t hurt so much leaves you emotionally stunted and numb.

Liz Seda, “We Have a Right to Grieve Losses Big and Small

Not sure I want to be saved. I think I just want it to be over. . . the grief. . . the steady tears. . . the reminders. . . The hardest part is listening to the words. It sounds like me. Maybe? More honest? I never yelled or verbalized in front of anyone. I kept it to myself. . . the self hate. . . the words.

When she is happy she’s beaming and bright. She is invincible. So, I go out of my way to offer her happy: things and people that I know she loves. But people and things cannot take away the hardest moments, and I see myself in her and it’s sad. 

Not only will you need to know free, spontaneous joy, you’ll be floored when you suffer a major loss that won’t be contained by your makeshift prison. . . I noticed how heavy I was all those years because now I feel lighter. I could breathe easier although I cannot remember feeling restricted.

Liz Seda, “We Have a Right to Grieve Losses Big and Small

As much as I do not like the tears or the grief associated with them. I would not change a thing. . . God always meets me there. Despite the gallons of tears that I have cried. He has never left. Hebrews 13:5, I will never leave you or forsake you. He cannot leave me.

Reckless Love. . . He (God, Jesus) is utterly unconcerned with the consequences of his actions with regard to his own safety, comfort and well being. His love isn’t crafty or slick. It’s not cunning or shrewd. In fact, all things considered, it’s quite childlike. And I might even suggest is downright ridiculous. His love bankrupted heaven for you. He doesn’t wonder what he’ll gain or lose by putting  himself on the line. There’s no plan B with the love of God. He gives his heart so completely, so preposterously.  We think if we refuse, it is irreparably broken, yet, he gives himself again and again and again and again. -Cory Asbury “Reckless Love

Grief is not a celebration of sadness. It is a chance to look back with longing for your loss. God. . . I see the struggle. It’s real. It does not matter how many people tell her how beautiful she is. It does not matter that she can accomplish what she puts her mind to. It does not matter that she is a tough competitor. It does not matter that she’s a child of the king. NONE of it matters to her.

There are times I think she needs less of me. She needs less of my story. She needs less of my sadness.

If we are willing to accept only those aspects of change (grief) that can be quantified, measured or fit into a tidy box labeled “official,” we miss the richness of our own lives. And we negate the value of those whose circumstance may not fit with society’s narrow definition of “grievable loss.”

Cheryl Eckl, “The Challenge of Unofficial Loss

It’s complicated.

It’s both, And.

I’m grieving some missing pieces from my past, that are showing up in beautiful ways for her. . .

I’m grieving for her and for me, the struggles that she shares with me. . .