Saturday, March 4th
As NEDAwareness Week 2017 draws to a close, I think it’s only appropriate to end my week-long gratitude post with one that’s dedicated to my constant support, my forever friend, and the only real reason I got better.
I don’t think I’d be too far off to venture that most people have a strong aversion to being labeled. We seek to fit in and find our niche, but after that we don’t want to be trapped inside the box of a label.
In my opinion, labels dehumanize us. They strip us of our unique individuality, and make it easier for people to categorize us by placing us in a metaphorical “box.” They limit us from expanding the boundaries of our label, and make us feel weird if we don’t fit the stereotype our label holds.
Perhaps there’s no label I hate worse than, “anorexic.” I understand that it describes the disease I battled, but it in no way describes me.
As a 15-year-old freshmen in high school, I wanted to be known as the “marathon runner,” or the, “smart girl,” but honestly anything except, “the anorexic” would be preferred.
At the time I was the only understanding I had of anorexia was what we had learned about it in middle school health class. I had a preexisting theory that anorexics were selfish, self-absorbed, and unnecessarily caught up in themselves by being preoccupied with their weight. None of the above characteristics described me, or at least I hope they didn’t!
During the summer, I had to tag along with my mom when she went to work so she could monitor what I ate, and ensure I wasn’t exercising. I absolutely hated having to be drug to work with her like a child. I hated my absence of freedom. I tried to listen to music while I was there, and I read a lot of books. One day, the following song came on:
Why did God even bother with me anymore? I was destroying the body that he designed for me, and hadn’t accomplished anything of real material worth since my second marathon.
Didn’t He have enough on His plate to bother with me? Why was He still relentlessly pursuing me?
He reminded me that even though I was going through literal hell day in and day out, I still belonged to Him. If there was ever a label of which I am more undeserving, it would have to be the following: “His.”
When I turned 16, I got my licence and was then able to drive myself to all my appointments. On my commute one afternoon, the most beautiful love song came on over the radio:
I had to pull the car over so I could sob. I couldn’t believe that He still loved me, even after I was trying to distance myself from him out of embarrassment. I had nothing to be proud of, I was wasting away to nothing, and the only time I prayed was when I was praying to die.
Yet He still wanted me back. It wasn’t based on my own merit, it was just because He loves me that much. I didn’t have to get my shit together before turning back towards Him. He already knew I was too weak to do that, so He took care of it, picked up my broken pieces, and redirected my life path.
If that’s not true and powerful love, I don’t know what is.
Thank you, Jesus.
More confirmation that eating disorders don’t discriminate, they aren’t a choice, and they most certainly do not define you: My Past Does Not Define My Future
It is my genuine hope that the posts from this past week have inspired you to speak out about things you may be struggling with, lean on your support system, and seek out help. If you believe that you, or someone you love, may be struggling with an eating disorder – PLEASE get screened! It’s quick, free, and 100% confidential. (I took it, and it was a really well-designed informational tool.)