I remember myself as the frumpy tag along who, despite my severe lack of makeup application skills, helped friends get ready for their dates with the positively ravishing men of grade 9. I felt unseen and unvalued. Being unseen became my identity.
People are complex. I understand this and realize not everyone has turned to this disorder for the same reason. That being said I want to alert you to come of the root causes of the disorder that are not foreign to me and show you how to work towards healing those areas of deep pain. The first root I am going to address is value.
No one on planet earth is exempt from feeling like they must attain value. Believe it or not, this type of thinking bombards those even though who are “top of their game”. We see celebrities come crashing from their marble pedestals, successful business men hitting bankrupt then committing suicide, high-profiled men involved in the Ashley Madison scandal being left by their families and communities. All of these examples point back to the question, “do I have value?” We think people’s affirmation will provide a solid, secure answer the to question.
It doesn’t. Trust me.
The summer before I started grade 10 at Mount Baker High School my emotional life was a mess. A couple years earlier my father had left our family and my mother had become sick with a quickly degenerating disease. Eventually my mom was sent to live in a care home because I, and my grandmother, could no longer take care of her.
That summer a couple years after all that transpired wasn’t so fun. I had friends but saw them as so much prettier than I was. I was the frumpy tag along who, despite my severe lack of makeup application skills, helped them get ready for their dates with the positively ravishing men of grade 9. I felt unseen and unvalued. Being unseen became my identity.
As the summer was coming to a close I decided to start exercising much more than usual and eating much less when I did this. If I could be thin like my friends perhaps boys would like me more and would see my value. I spent many lunch hours throwing up in the bathroom then pacing around the school grounds to work off any extra calories that may have seeped to my hips and thighs. Slowly but surely I saw my weight begin to drop off. As I watched the numbers on the school fall lower and lower I figured I had discovered the trick to happiness.
I was sadly and devastatingly wrong.
After almost dying twice and finally being admitted to the hospital in my grade 11 year I realized what I had been trying to do wasn’t working. By that time my mind, emotions and physical state were a conglomerate of crazy messiness. I was unable to think straight and couldn’t leave the hospital without being in a wheelchair because of the damage that had been done to my heart.
It was odd that even though I had reached my goal of being crazy thin I still wasn’t happy with myself. I remember burying my head in my hands and weeping after discovering this realization. What would it take for me to feel worth anything?
MY DIARY (WRITTEN WITH SLANT)
February 17, 2008
I lifted my head from my dry, cracking hands and reached for the bright blue Kleenex box sitting beside my hospital bed. Even the soft fabric of the tissue seemed cutting as it scratched against my fragile skin. I whimpered and allowed a fresh onslaught of tears to fall. Why did everything have to hurt?
I had reached my breaking point when the nurse told me they were going to up my meal intake the next day. It was almost too much for me to bear, especially after all my hard work keeping the food away. The other girls didn’t have to eat that much, why did I? I threw the tissue into the basket beside my bed and caught a glimpse of my legs as I did a glimmer of revelation was given to me.
I was thin, frighteningly skinny, deathly ill looking. What I had done to myself? As I stared at my legs I realized something was wrong but there was no way I could change my way of thinking by my power alone. On countless occasions I had tried to free myself from my dark prison by medication and counseling but nothing had pried open the bars.
As I sat on the bed, staring out the tiny window a couple of beds over a verse my mother used to read to me before she became ill rehearsed their lines in my mind.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want…He sets a table for me in the present of my enemies.”
I took a moment to test the verse. Could this be true? “God, if you’re real you will save me. If you’re not Lord, I’m dead.” My voice was an almost unintelligible whisper but I had high hopes that my shepherd had heard me. If He hadn’t or didn’t care I knew I couldn’t go on. There was no other option for me to be saved by anything but divine intervention.
God drew me into His gentle presence daily. I allowed myself to be led because I was so broken and in need of healing. No human could fix it for me. The healing could only come from spending time with Father God, the Father I needed for my adolescence but didn’t receive. He comforted me in my loss while I read His word. He sent people to hold me as I wept and washed away wrong beliefs I had towards myself. After about five years of running to the Lord with every thought and pain He has completely changed my way of thinking and has made me dependent on Him.
“The healing could only come from spending time with Father God, the Father I needed for my adolescence but didn’t receive.”
Looking back on the experience I am grateful for the disease that almost ravaged my body and mind completely. I am thankful because my helplessness made me realize how badly I needed a Savior and how faithful a Savior was the one I needed. I am grateful because I have learned the faithfulness of my Father. He didn’t leave me at any step in my journey.
The God who walked with Isaac, Abraham and Jacob is the God who has walked with me and has provided healing in the area of value. He is a Father who provides everything His children need and I am His beloved daughter. I know I can ask for anything and know that my good, good Father will provide for His daughter. I have worth and don’t need to be affirmed by the warped values of the world.
I beg of you to not allow anyone, including yourself, to live with any kind of disorder.The Father is gently beckoning you out of that way of life and into freedom. Following Him means spending time with Him and asking Him how He sees you. Allow Him to shed light on your pain and show you how precious you are to Him, the Creator and King. Allow Him to set you free to fly.
Why stay weighed down by burdens when you were made to fly?