Louder and Stronger
Let’s go back, way back, to my childhood. I’ve always been very empathic. When, at the age of two, I learned that my chicken nuggets were made from the same living animals that chased me through the neighborhood, I protested in disgust and declared to never eat chicken again. My family then decided to neglect telling me that hot dogs or burgers or any other meat were also indeed dead animals. My parents divorced when I was six for the better of us all, however it was a traumatic transition during which we moved from my childhood home and to this day the process of moving triggers many issues within myself. I'm sure that the confusion and deception that infected my childhood contributed to the onset of an eating disorder when I was only eight years old. Suddenly I refused to eat anything. I was taken to a specialist and we found a way to have a fun time with food. I really enjoyed my therapist and wish we had stuck with it for more than a few sessions. She saw me and I felt a sense of belonging with her. My issues seemed to subside until I reached teenage years. Age 16-19 were the worst of it. I was 5’11 and 80 lbs. I was suicidal and obsessed with food. I found it disgusting, I found myself disgusting. I hated everyone and everything and I just wanted to disappear. I made a habit of using hard drugs and alcohol. I lived with this eating disorder, finding false joy and pride in my ability to deceive and hide from the ones who loved me. I loved no one. My life had no direction other than spiraling downward.
I hit rock bottom when I was arrested and abused by a police officer. That experience gave me a reason to seek help. I was legitimately victimized and for once I didn’t blame myself. I was open and outspoken about my experience and a lot of people were interested in hearing my story. My search for help led me to a book club, a group of wise old ladies on a spiritual path. With their influence, I began interpreting my dreams, reading inspirational material, and eating healthy food. I met with this group regularly for about a year before I found my calling to become a massage therapist and moved to Sedona, AZ for massage school. Massage school was like a crash course in self discovery and healing. My relationship with food was no longer an issue or even a thought. I ate healthy, I had healthy thoughts, I loved everyone, and most importantly I loved myself. I am now living my dream life, being of service by offering body work as a massage therapist and support to families during the birthing year as a doula. I love making healing ayurvedic meals. I have a beautiful family, full of love, laughter, and honest communication. Life is good! It had been over 5 years since my last relapse until recently. In the last year I’ve become aware of the need to process and heal from sexual abuse incidents that occurred during those self destructive years, but without any luck of finding a therapist that I felt was right for me. I gave up my search and felt at peace, thinking that everything would process and work out in due time. I shoved that awareness way down and went on with my busy life. That busy life of mine came to a screeching halt when my entire household came down with a nasty stomach bug. The virus came and left, but the lack of appetite stayed and with it came a flood of obsessive thoughts, guilt, and deep depression. Suddenly and surprisingly I'm swimming against the current of a rough and rapid river. Only this time, I know I will survive and come out the other side stronger and louder than this voice inside telling me to self destruct. This time, I'm not running or hiding from those who love me. I'm talking, I'm letting the tears and the struggle be seen. For this reason I realize that I'm not weak, but in fact very brave.
When I first recognized my recurring unhealthy patterns for what they are, my eating disorder, I felt completely powerless and terrified. I reached out to a close friend who struggles with the same disorder. Texting her through the tears helped me get by during those first days of relapse. As my emotional state became more obvious to the ones who are close to me, I opened up truthfully when asked. It was suggested that I check out CoDA (Codependents Anonymous) which led me to OA (Overeaters Anonymous) and I went to 6 meetings in 8 days. Those meetings helped me get honest with myself and see the truth that I am not my eating disorder. I am a spiritual being having a human experience! A month after I stopped going to meetings, I hit a real low point. The support of my community lifted me up to give me the space I need to heal. The path to recovery doesn't transpire overnight. It isn't completed within a few therapy sessions. It happens one moment at a time. One delicious, healthy bite at a time. One positive thought or intention. One inhale, one exhale. There is only this moment and these emotions are perfect and valid here and now. If you're on the path to recovery, then you know just how debilitating that emotion can be. Also know that you're never alone and you're always worth it! It's easy to forget, but we can also remember.