Please note that this is an Archived article and may contain content that is out of date. The use of she/her/hers pronouns in some articles is not intended to be exclusionary. Eating disorders can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights.
By: Allison Wright
(The following is me taking a risk and stating some very personal things that help me. Some things are Christian-based and not meant to offend, but rather share the things that are closest to my heart versus me putting on a facade and conforming to what I perceive acceptable.)
“The greatest reason for man’s unhappiness is trading that which he wants most for that which he wants now.” As many of you know, this is one of my favorite quotes. Numerous times throughout my long road to recovery I have pondered this statement, preceding, during and subsequent to my time here at CFC. The more I contemplate this profound statement, the more I realize choosing my eating disorder over my family and future directly correlates with its message. For years, I have believed the exact opposite. I have spent the majority of my life believing that for me to share my love for others meant I had to hide the real me, pretending at all costs I was someone else. As a result, I developed some bad habits, one of them being an eating disorder. Throughout the past couple months I have begun to challenge this belief, slowly exposing more and more of the real me I have tried to hide. It has been a long, strenuous journey, which I know is far from over, yet I have found solace in being with such amazing women who are helping open my eyes to the possibility that it is okay for me to be myself.
There have been many times in my life (especially on the road to recovery) in which I have gotten frustrated at my inability to be “completely fixed” or as worded in my goodbye song “I had fought so hard and thought that all my battles had been won only to find the war had just begun.” That statement has been both comforting and maddening at times. Comforting in that I know the journey can be very arduous and that is to be expected, so I don’t get so down on myself when I am less than I’d hoped. Simultaneously, this has been very frustrating and maddening when I let myself ruminate over the thought that I will never be able to overcome certain challenges or adversities. Then I realize it doesn’t matter so much the duration, however long or short, as much as the passion and direction I am heading each day. When I truly internalize this concept I am humbled by it implications. My mind is suddenly opened to the reality that I will never be able to overcome anything without the help from a Higher Power. In turn I realize that I personally believe this life to be a time of learning and growing and as such I need not worry about my own or anyone else’s time table or expectations in overcoming personal struggles, but rather need to do my best having faith that God will make everything work together for my good and benefit (Romans 8).
I have been blessed to learn many things from patients, staff, and others throughout my sojourn at the Center… Perhaps one of my greatest lessons was learned within this last week. I was privileged to have the opportunity to talk with a woman I greatly respect and admire; during this time she shared with me a very inspired, perceptive interpretation of a well-known story in the Bible. The story of Christ and His disciples sailing when a great tempest or storm came upon them. Matthew, Mark, and Luke recount Christ being asleep as a storm of wind crashed waves onto the ship. His disciples, being frightened, awoke Christ telling Him they were going to perish. Christ arose and rebuked the wind and sea, causing a great calmness. These scriptures (Mat. 8:26, Mark 4:40, Luke 8:25) recount Christ basically asking His disciples why they were fearful and then telling them they lacked faith. I have heard this story many times, yet until I spoke with this astute woman, I had never really understood one of its ingenious applications. She related it to an experience I was going through, explaining her understanding of the meaning of these scriptures. She basically said we learn from this that if Christ is with us, we need not fear. The disciples lacked faith in that they couldn’t sustain the fury of the storm, even though Christ was with them, but Page 16 instead desired Him to fix the situation at hand. I learned despite the adversities that do and will plague me, if Christ is with me I need not fear. A common application many of us can use is in relation to our eating disorders. I know I have often prayed and desired for ED to be taken from me thinking if I only had enough courage and faith it would be done. I wanted the instant fix, someone to pull out their magical wand removing my core issues and resulting struggles along the way (ex: ED). In learning about and contemplating accounts of this story, I have come to the realization that just as the disciples would have been okay through the storm, I too will be okay throughout any and all of life’s challenges (including recovering from an eating disorder) if Christ is with me. I don’t need Him to immediately calm the storm, but rather need to exercise faith in Him that nothing that isn’t supposed to happen will occur as long as I am living so that He can guide and be with me. This does not imply that I will not greatly struggle to the point in which I feel I cannot endure, but rather gives hope that throughout those times as well as peaceful times, if I place my life in His hands, together we can endure anything. Even though I may be terrified of the long road ahead. I can find comfort in knowing all I need is Him.
I want to thank everyone who has helped me make it through these past months. I am truly thankful to each and every person, for each has enhanced my understanding of life and myself in a way I never thought possible. I have realized how incredible life can be without the anguish of an eating disorder and am committed to coping with life in a different way so I can embrace that which I want most. I honestly believe each and every one of us can overcome ED and every other adversity with our Higher Power. Thank you for helping me re-learn how to be happy. Each of you hold a place in my heart and prayers.
“Our mistakes (eating disorder, drugs, etc.) can be our greatest benefactors, as soon as we allow them to be our greatest teachers,” quoted from Colleen Harrison’s, He Did Deliver from Bondage work book; emphasis added.