Bodies & Beauty: My Eating Disorder, Part Two
Editor’s Note: This is Part Two to Addi Black’s story. Part One aligns her life events with the slow internal process of slipping into an eating disorder & ends with her breaking point. Read it first, or skip along and read her process here of overcoming & the truth she’s found along the way. You can read her blog at La Belle Vie and follow her on Twitter at @addi2987. - Lauren
I was incredibly hurt. But, I was deeply convicted.
I called her back telling her I had heard everything. She apologized that I had to hear it that way but then started to explain how concerned she was about me. She broke down and told me she was scared about me and that I needed help. I broke down and promised her I would get help but that I was afraid to.
I credit that conversation for saving me.
There was no going back after that point. My parents’ fears and suspicions were confirmed and I promised to see a counselor. It took about a year after admitting I was sick to actually work on healing. I saw a counselor, but was too afraid to take her advice.
It wasn’t till my family moved back that I actually started eating more, a lot more. It was as if I was making up for all I had deprived myself from for years. Every day I binged at least a little and hated myself for it. My stomach didn’t know how to react and always felt bloated. Eventually, after many ups and downs with food, I finally started repairing my relationship with it.
Eating three meals a day and not hating myself for it feels like an absolute miracle. I have grown to appreciate food in a way I never have before. It feels so good listening to my body and fueling it with the nutrients it needs. I am not saying that I don’t have my days, or that I’m completely healed. But I know that I am on the track to full recovery. Until that day comes, I want to bring awareness to the dangerous trap so many women fall prey to and don’t seek help for.
Eating disorders are especially dangerous because they slowly creep up on you. Most women have the misconception that they only prey on the weak and insecure, but I am surprised and incredibly saddened to find that it can eat away at women you would never expect.
I greatly admire the women in my life who have not fallen under the pressure our society puts on us to be a certain size and look a certain way. Those women know and accept who they are, flaws and all, and know that if every woman fit the same mold, the world would be an incredibly boring place. Those are the women that stand out from the rest, radiating true beauty.
I hope to one day join the ranks of those women while reaching out to those struggling with what will then be a distant, dark memory.
As I have been recovering, I have started realizing the lies I used to believe.
I believed that my life would be easier if I were as skinny as the women with slender legs that I so envied. I believed that controlling my body would make me feel better about everything else I couldn’t control. And ultimately, I believed that once I finally achieved the perfect body, I would finally be beautiful, confident and truly happy.
What I discovered once I got there was that it never was enough. I couldn’t stop, and I would have to continue this lifestyle that controlled me in order to keep up with the ‘perfect body.’ That is when I started to feel truly trapped in a dark pit with no way escape. Now that I’ve fought through, I see that all those thoughts common to eating disorders were not just common thought processes, but lies that Satan fed to me on a daily basis, knowing my weakest points.
I wish I could say that I never fall for the lies anymore. But now I know that on my bad days, when I’m weakest and most vulnerable, that I am being attacked, and that my worth is in the Lord. I have learned to choose to ignore the voices in my head. I have learned that, “you were happier when you were thinner” is not the truth. I am happier and healthier now than I ever have been, and for that I am truly grateful.
My advice to women everywhere, whether they are deep in the middle of an eating disorder, or think they are free from all dangers of developing one, or somewhere in between is this: You can’t control the images the media and fashion industry put in front of us on a daily basis, but you can choose the people you surround yourself with.
Surround yourself with good women. Women who seek true beauty, even if they struggle finding it along the way. Don’t be afraid to talk to people about your struggles, even if they seem shallow, trivial, and vain.
Know what triggers anything that brings you down and that creates self-hating thoughts and avoid them at all costs. Listen to the people who care about you most, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Focus on being healthy to your body and taking care of it and find your healthy weight that way.
And most importantly, find who you are in the Lord. I’ve learned that I can’t fully know myself without finding my identity in Him.
He has shown me true beauty and the world through a different light. I am fearfully and wonderfully made and because of that, I am beautiful.
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