Thursday, January 31, 2013

Outraged with The Onion.

This Article Shouldn't Even Exist.

First of all, I understand that this is The Onion. I understand what they write about and how they write it.  But honestly, this is the most despicable piece of trash ever to grace this planet.

Making fun of eating disorders... SERIOUSLY!?!
I can't believe this just happened.

I can't even believe it.
I don't have words for how I feel about this.
At all.

What has become of our society?

What Recovery Looks Like.

"Recovery itself is a very un-glamorous daily process of being willing to fall down again, to break again, to cry again, to get up and try yet again until 'success' manifests as ever-greater sustained healing." 
(Shannon Cutts)

You know, I read something a while ago about how in recovery, you will always come back to the same place again and again.  But that each time, you will know more about how to help yourself when you fall down again and eventually, you'll be able to catch yourself before you go as far down the path, until you are able to completely stop yourself before it happens. 

Well. 
I think I'm learning. 

That's the thing about eating disorders--I don't believe that they ever, truly leave us.  I mean, we recover.  Our weight becomes stable.  Our vitals are good.  We leave residential, day treatment, or weekly treatment to go on to other things like camp or college.  And we get there and things are fine for a while.  

But when you're at camp, you have checkpoints.  
You get your vitals checked. You go home. You have a support system right there with you.
But when you go to college, you're really on your own. 

Until second semester. 
When there is every opportunity to relapse. 
And no matter how much you tell yourself that you won't, you slip.  You don't mean to, of course, but you do.  It's something little, too, like the fact that you don't have classes in the mornings so you don't get up and eat breakfast and your entire meal schedule gets thrown off.  

Once that happens, the thoughts start to resurface: 
"You don't need to eat three meals a day to function."
"Losing a few pounds wouldn't hurt."

And you catch it.
You catch that you're slipping. 
So you make some choices--meal plan, accountability, no secrets, therapy.  

Recovery is something that takes time. 
It's a process. 
And it definitely isn't a straight shot. 

I can think back on all of the times when I've fallen down and struggled and failed at this.  But never have I been able to notice early enough to be proactive before my weight and vitals were dangerous.  I'm struggling. I'm fighting with my ED through all of this. 

But you know what? 
This isn't going to defeat me. 
I will beat this. 
I am stronger. 

Meal plan. Accountability. Therapist. 
All self-initiated. 

This is progress. 
This is what recovery looks like. 














Monday, January 28, 2013

Struggling.

Why is it that when we struggle, we are so ashamed to let other people know about it? 
Why is it that we have such a fear of failure?
Why is it that it is so easy to lie and to shut down when we struggle? 

Today, I was having dinner with a very wonderful sister.  And one of the first questions out of her mouth was:  "How are you?" 

I'm okay.

That was such a lie. 
She knew it.  I knew it.  God knew it. 
But here's the thing, even when she asked me about something very close to the thing I was struggling with, I couldn't bring myself to tell her the truth about what's been going on in my life. 
Because the truth is scary.

It's so much easier to hide from the pain.  To take a pill to make me numb and not have to work this all out.  To hide from people so that they won't notice that I'm not okay.  To comfort someone else, when it's you who needs the comforting. 

Let's be honest here: 
Life is hard.  And it hurts.  And gosh darn it, we need each other. 

But living authentically, saying what is in our hearts, what is paining us, what we are struggling with, it sucks. 

Because what if that means I'm failing? 
What if that means you won't love me? 
What if that means that I'm not who you want me to be? 

But here's the thing about eating disorders and depression: 
Your recovery grows in proportion to your level of honesty and communication with those around you who love you.

There are no secrets in recovery. 
And there should be no secrets between sisters.
Especially when you know that they will only continue to love you.


So here goes nothing. 

I'm struggling. 
I'm struggling with my depression and eating disorder. 
I'm struggling with being around people and being social. 

I'm struggling with asking for help. 
I'm struggling with admitting to myself that I may still need help.  
I'm struggling with the idea of Jesus. 

I'm struggling with shame. 
I'm struggling with my view of myself. 
I'm struggling with my view of others. 

And I'm hurting. 
So very much. 

There's this voice in my head that tells me that I need to have this together right now. That I either need to have all of this together or that I need to allow myself to completely relapse into the point of not functioning so that it would be more acceptable that I am struggling. 

What kind of twisted thinking is this? 

Friends, I'm struggling and I'm hurting. 
I need you to know that. 
And I need you to know that I'm struggling to reach out and tell you that.  
That I don't know how to say those words to you.  
That I don't know how to say that I need Jesus, that I don't know how to say that I'm failing, that I don't know how to be okay. 

And somehow, this all has to be okay with me. 
I have to make peace with the fact that I struggle and will continue to struggle. 
I have to learn how to not be ashamed of being that girl who is in a continual fight with herself and her demons. 

Will I stop feeling this way? 
Will I ever stop struggling? 

I don't have the answers. 
I just have to keep walking through this mess. 
To keep struggling. 

And maybe, just maybe, this will all one day be a distant memory. 

One can always hope.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Flight or Invisibility.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin Flight or invisibility?  Pick one.  Why should I have to?  Honestly, there is no reason that I should have to choose between two superpowers.  I am not a superhero and these superpowers could never exist in the real world, so I don’t even need to make an actual decision.  I suppose I could make up something entirely stereotypical about how I would love to fly so that I wouldn't have to walk everywhere or about how I want to be invisible so that I can hide when I don’t want to be seen, but there’s no point.  I don’t want to fly.  I don’t want to be invisible.  I don’t want to have superpowers.  It’s that simple. 

Why?  Look at our culture today.  We spend so much time telling people that they are simply not good enough how they are.  We tell people that they need to be smarter, more talented, skinnier, taller, shorter, whatever it is that we are lacking until all of us believe that we have to be able to do everything for everyone all of the time.  It’s impossible!  We are not superheroes and we never will be.  There’s no reason to wish that we were either, so I don’t.  I am perfectly content with the talents that I have been given—talents that do not, in fact, include being invisible or flying.  I refuse to wish for something that I don’t have, especially if it’s something that I’ll never get, because if I do that, what am I teaching my little cousins, my kids at camp, and all of my younger friends who look toward me as an example? 

Flight or invisibility?  I will take having my own mere human talents over both of those any day.  Besides, who’s to say that normal human talent isn’t a superpower?  

Steubenville and Society.

I find that it is a sad day when I have to read an article about how Ohioans are not acting properly for my WGS class. This literally makes me sick. I grew up in the best place on earth, Uniontown, Ohio, with a wonderful community and a loving family. Is it really too much to ask that we not put our athletics above our community? Is it too much to ask that Steubenville take a more powerful stand than what they have? And is it too much to ask that I not be judged because I am from Ohio?

This horrible crime should not define the state or the community. It defines our society. When will we wake up and realize that? When will we see that we need to treat our women with respect and not allow the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to be protected and sheltered?

I'm not sure what I'm more angry about--the crime itself, the media for giving Steubenville and Ohio a bad reputation, the fact that the community is being persecuted, the fact that these boys are being protected, or the fact that this is what our society has come down to now.

I don't understand.

The 18,437 Perpetrators of Steubenville









Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What Am I Doing With My Life?

So.

Every so often, I just randomly have these panic attacks where I have no idea what I'm going to do with my life. Actually, it's pretty much every day that it happens. Or. It used to be.

But today, it hit me.

I don't think that I want to be a psychology major. 

I thought that was what I wanted to do--work in a treatment center for women with eating disorders. I had it all planned out. But now, I'm not so sure. Because yes, I love helping people. I love working with people who have eating disorders. I like talking to them, relating, encouraging, sharing my story.

But if I go into psychology, I can't do that. I can't share my story like I would want to. And honestly, I don't think that it would be good for me to face potentially triggering situations all day. At least not right now.

I know I want to write.

I want to write about things that are important to me. About Jesus. About eating disorders and mental illness. About families, women's rights, children. About recovery. About hope. About politics, about America, about important people, about history.

I want to use my voice.

Last year, I remember writing a poem about how I felt like no one listened to me. That no one heard my voice. And there I was, using my voice.
Writing.
Not talking. 
Writing.

I want to write. 

I want to be that person who changes the world, who inspires the hopeless, who makes a difference in her words. I want to tell my story. I want to tell the story of others. I want to make a difference. I want to use my voice. 

If I was a psychologist, I would still write. It's not something that I ever wanted to give up. In fact, it's something that I was always planning on continuing all throughout my life. I wanted to write a book once my career got started. Or before. I didn't really care-- I just wanted to write. 

But here's the thing, if I keep writing as my focus, that doesn't mean that I can't work as an activist. In fact, it gives me even more of an opportunity to raise awareness about things that are important to me like eating disorders, sexual assault, rape, and women's rights. It gives me more time to write about things that inspire me-- President Obama, my kids, camp, Jesus. It gives me more time to use my words to tell my story, and more importantly, to tell the stories of others. 

It gives me time to work in activism. To speak out. To travel. To make a difference. To volunteer. To work with others. 

But, I don't know what I'll do for sure. 
So right now, I'm going to keep my psychology major. But I'm going to add an English with a writing concentration major. And I'm going to minor in women's studies. 

And after that, who knows? 
I'm only in my second semester of college. I don't have to have this all figured out right now. 
I have time. 





Monday, January 21, 2013

Inauguration Day.

Things I have done today: watch the Presidential Inauguration on CNN. Things I did not do today: pretty much anything else. 


And I am not ashamed of this. Because, gosh darn it, I love America. To see our first African American president to be inaugurated for the SECOND time on MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR Day... Wow. I am so proud of how far we have come. 

Personally, I am quite fond of President Obama. Of his policies. Of how he loves his wife. Of how he raises his daughters. Of how he's led our country. And of his speech today. 


"...what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names.  What makes us exceptional -- what makes us American -- is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:



'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.' 

Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time.  For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they've never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob.  They gave to us a republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed."

YES. This is what we must fight for. This is what we must achieve. Freedom. Equality. Regardless of race or gender or sexuality or religion or anything. The American Dream is not one of wealth and that house in the suburban community with the white picket fence. The American Dream is equal opportunity. 

"But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.  For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias.  No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores.  Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation and one people."

We are ONE NATION. 

How often do we forget that? 

How often do we forget that we are not Republican and Democrat, that we are not Christian and Muslim, White or African, male or female? How often do we forget that? I remember in 2001, on September 11, our country came together as one nation. Because ultimately, we are one free nation. One nation that values our liberties with the same spirit that our forefathers did. A nation that, although not always united, but together as one. 

"America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands:  youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention.  My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it -- so long as we seize it together.

For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class.  We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship.  We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.

We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time.  So we must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, reach higher.  But while the means will change, our purpose endures:  a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American.  That is what this moment requires.  That is what will give real meaning to our creed.  

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity.  We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.  But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn.

We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few.  We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm.  The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative, they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity.  We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms. 

The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult.  But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it.  We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries, we must claim its promise.  That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure -- our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow-capped peaks.  That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.  That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.  Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage.  Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty.  The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war; who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends -- and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.

We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law.  


We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully –- not because we are na├»ve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear.  

America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe.  And we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation.  We will support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom.  And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice –- not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes:  tolerance and opportunity, human dignity and justice. 

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began.  For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law--for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity--until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm. 

That is our generation’s task -- to make these words, these rights, these values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American.  Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life. It does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way or follow the same precise path to happiness.  Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time. 

For now decisions are upon us and we cannot afford delay.  We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect.  We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years and 40 years and 400 years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.

My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction.  And we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service.  But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty or an immigrant realizes her dream.  My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride. 

They are the words of citizens and they represent our greatest hope.  You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course.  You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time -- not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.

Let us, each of us, now embrace with solemn duty and awesome joy what is our lasting birthright.  With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom. 

Thank you.  God bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America."

Friends, I don't care what political party you support. I don't care what you personally believe. This speech was inspiring. It was challenging us to live in a way that will secure freedom for our posterity. That will give all the same opportunities that we have been given. 
I believe we are in good hands.

Mr. President, 

You are my hero. You are my inspiration. Thank you for your service to our country. 

May God bless you and these next four years. 


Monday, January 14, 2013

How to be Alone

A beautiful poem by Tanya Davis.

If you are at first lonely, be patient.

If you’ve not been alone much, or if when you were, you weren’t okay with it, then just wait. You’ll find it’s fine to be alone once you’re embracing it.

We can start with the acceptable places, the bathroom, the coffee shop, the library, where you can stall and read the paper, where you can get your caffeine fix and sit and stay there. Where you can browse the stacks and smell the books; you’re not supposed to talk much anyway so it’s safe there.

There is also the gym, if you’re shy, you can hang out with yourself and mirrors, you can put headphones in.

Then there’s public transportation, because we all gotta go places.
And there’s prayer and mediation, no one will think less if your hanging with your breath seeking peace and salvation.

Start simple. Things you may have previously avoided based on your avoid being alone principles.

The lunch counter, where you will be surrounded by chow downers, employees who only have an hour and their spouses work across town, and they, like you, will be alone.

Resist the urge to hang out with your cell phone.

When you are comfortable with eat lunch and run, take yourself out for dinner; a restaurant with linen and Silverware. You’re no less an intriguing a person when you are eating solo desert and cleaning the whip cream from the dish with your finger. In fact, some people at full tables will wish they were where you were.

Go to the movies. Where it’s dark and soothing, alone in your seat amidst a fleeting community.

And then take yourself out dancing, to a club where no one knows you, stand on the outside of the floor until the lights convince you more and more and the music shows you. Dance like no one’s watching because they’re probably not. And if they are, assume it is with best human intentions. The way bodies move genuinely to beats, is after-all, gorgeous and affecting. Dance until you’re sweating. And beads of perspiration remind you of life’s best things. Down your back, like a book of blessings.

Go to the woods alone, and the trees and squirrels will watch for you. Go to an unfamiliar city, roam the streets, they are always statues to talk to, and benches made for sitting gives strangers a shared existence if only for a minute, and these moments can be so uplifting and the conversation you get in by sitting alone on benches, might have never happened had you not been there by yourself.

Society is afraid of alone though. Like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements. Like people must have problems if after awhile nobody is dating them.

But lonely is a freedom that breathes easy and weightless, and lonely is healing if you make it.

You can stand swathed by groups and mobs or hands with your partner, look both further and farther in the endless quest for company.

But no one is in your head. And by the time you translate your thoughts an essence of them maybe lost or perhaps it is just kept. Perhaps in the interest of loving oneself, perhaps all those “sappy slogans” from pre-school over to high school groaning, we’re tokens for holding the lonely at bay.

Cause if you’re happy in your head, then solitude is blessed, and alone is okay.

It’s okay if no one believes like you, all experience is unique, no one has the same synapses, can’t think like you, for this be relieved, keeps things interesting, life’s magic things in reach, and it doesn’t mean you aren’t connected, and the community is not present, just take the perspective you get from being one person in one head and feel the effects of it.

Take silence and respect it.

If you have an art that needs a practice, stop neglecting it, if your family doesn’t get you or a religious sect is not meant for you, don’t obsess about it.

You could be in an instant surrounded if you need it.

If your heart is bleeding, make the best of it.

There is heat in freezing, be a testament.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

It's 6am...

It's 6am. 

It's 6am and I have yet to go to sleep for the night. 

It's 6am and I am extremely dehydrated, I can't remember the last time I ate three meals in one day, and I have a migraine. 

All I've done for the past few days is watch Grey's Anatomy. Or go out with old high school friends. Or plan for my future. 


I don't know what this is. 

I don't know what it means. 

Is this a relapse? 

Is this a new form of depression? 
Is this just who I am? 
Does it matter? 

I am tired. 

I am tired of depression. 
I am tired of sleeplessness. 
I am tired of eating disorders. 
I am so freaking tired. 

I am tired of questioning and wondering and comparing and judging and hating everything about myself. 

I am tired of not being understood, of not having an acceptable illness to talk about, of thinking that I need to be the best at everything, of denying the reality that is facing me. I am tired of parents and college and growing up and the real world. I am tired of caring when I am not being cared for. I am tired of having to fix things that I can't fix, of looking for help in all the wrong places, of not knowing what to do. 

But mostly, I am just plain tired.
I need sleep. 



Sunday, January 6, 2013

Recovery: It's Hell, But It's Worth It. (**Possibly Triggering)

60% of those diagnosed with eating disorders never fully recover. 

Recovery sucks. 
It's literally hell. 
There is nothing worse than recovery from an eating disorder. 

Nothing. 

“You never come back, not all the way. Always there is an odd distance between you and the people you love and the people you meet, a barrier thin as the glass of a mirror, you never come all the way out of the mirror; you stand, for the rest of your life, with one foot in this world and no one in another, where everything is upside down and backward and sad.” (Marya Hornbacher)

There comes a point when it's so difficult that you want to relapse. That you don't care how sick you get, how many relationships you damage, how much worse it is to relapse. 

You forget those late nights, kept awake by pains as your body ate away at its self. You forget the feeling of vomiting so hard that it comes out your nose and mouth simultaneously. You forget the loneliness of studying in the library while all of your friends eat. You forget the empty hunger, the famished feelings. You forget how it felt passing out in front of your friends. You forget the arguments with your parents, your brother, your friends. You forget everything in search for one thing that will kill you. 

“You begin to forget what it means to live. You forget things. You forget that you used to feel all right. You forget what it means to feel all right because you feel like shit all the time, and you can't remember what it was like before. People take the feeling of full for granted. They take for granted the feeling of steadiness, of hands that do not shake, heads that do not ache, throats not raw with bile and small rips of fingernails forced to haste to the gag spot. Stomachs that do not begin to wake up in the night, calves and thighs knotting in muscles that are beginning to eat away at themselves. they may or may not be awakened at night by their own inexplicable sobs.”  (Marya Hornbacher)

Control. 
Perfection. 
Numbness. 

It all comes with relapse. 

“I don't think people realize, when they're just getting started on an eating disorder or even when they're in the grip of one, that it is not something that you just "get over." For the vast majority of eating-disordered people, it is something that will haunt you for the rest of your life. You may change your behavior, change your beliefs about yourself and your body, give up that particular way of coping in the world. You may learn, as I have, that you would rather be a human than a human's thin shell. You may get well. But you never forget.” (Marya Hornbacher)

Grades slip. 
Parents worry. 
Doctors notice. 

And soon enough, you're home. You're no longer at your college, on your own, trusted. You're at home listening to parents blame one another, watching your dad drink himself away, hearing your community talk. 

“It is not a sudden leap from sick to well. It is a slow, strange meander from sick to mostly well. The misconception that eating disorders are a medical disease in the traditional sense is not helpful here. There is no 'cure'. A pill will not fix it, though it may help. Ditto therapy, ditto food, ditto endless support from family and friends. You fix it yourself. It is the hardest thing that I have ever done, and I found myself stronger for doing it. Much stronger.” (Marya Hornbacher)

You put food on your plate, on your fork, in your mouth. 

Bite. 
Chew.
Swallow. 

Because you want to stay 291 miles from the fighting, the drinking, the blaming, the smothering, the pain. Because you want to be responsible for your own life. Because you want to live. 

You want to live. 

“This is the very boring part of eating disorders, the aftermath. When you eat and hate that you eat. And yet of course you must eat. You don’t really entertain the notion of going back. You, with some startling new level of clarity, realize that going back would be far worse than simply being as you are. This is obvious to anyone without an eating disorder. This is not always obvious to you.”  (Marya Hornbacher)

So you fight. 

Even when it's hard. 
Especially when you don't feel like it. 
But even harder when the depression hits. 

You reach out. Then you push people away. But you don't quit. 
Because quitting means the end of freedom. 
The end of life. 

“This is the weird aftermath, when it is not exactly over, and yet you have given it up. You go back and forth in your head, often, about giving it up. It’s hard to understand, when you are sitting there in your chair, having breakfast or whatever, that giving it up is stronger than holding on, that “letting yourself go” could mean you have succeeded rather than failed. You eat your goddamn Cheerios and bicker with the bitch in your head that keeps telling you you’re fat and weak: Shut up, you say, I’m busy, leave me alone. When she leaves you alone, there’s a silence and a solitude that will take some getting used to. You will miss her sometimes...There is, in the end, the letting go.” (Marya Hornbacher)

Recovery. 
It's hard as hell. 
But it beats the alternative. 

So focus on what it gives you. 
For me: Gettysburg College. 
And that's all that matters right now and all that I think about.

Even when it's hard. 
Especially when I feel like quitting. 
But mostly, when the depression hits. 

Recovery. 
Nothing is more difficult. 

But it's worth it.

40% of those diagnosed with eating disorders will fully recover. 

 There is hope.



Saturday, January 5, 2013

Same Old Things.

Going off to college, I thought that things would be different. I thought that I wouldn't have the same old struggles. I thought that life with my family would magically be better. I thought that I would know the purpose of my life.

Turns out I was wrong.
About all of it.

That's the thing about leaving one place and starting over new. What was in your mind stays with you. People, places, work...it all changes. But your thoughts stay.

And you change, when you leave. And you forget that when you come back, things are going to be exactly how you left them. Your family will have the same old problems. You will react in the same ways. And too easily, you slip back into the person you once were.

It's all too easy.

Why haven't I changed? I have. Why hasn't anything gotten better? It hasn't. I just haven't had to deal with it like this in a while.

So I forgot.

I forgot how I used to shut down and shut everyone out.
I forgot how I would numb myself to every emotion because it was just too difficult to deal with this.
I forgot how destructive I could be when I couldn't block any of this out.

It's time this changed.
Past time to let go.

And this letting go...
It's a process.



Friday, January 4, 2013

Where Is Our Joy?

A friend of mine asked this today: 

"Why aren't Christians happy? We have the greatest news wrapped in the greatest savior who made the greatest sacrifice so we could have a great purpose, a great hope, and a great Father. WHERE IS THE JOY?"

It was this last question that stuck out at me. Where is our joy? If you look at the facts, we have everything. No, our lives are not perfect. But we aren't starving. We have roofs over our head, clothes on our body, shoes on our feet. We just came out of a season of giving, of joy, of celebration because our savior was born. 

Where is our joy?

Have we forgotten that we are sinners, born in sin, and that we deserve to die? But not just die, have we forgotten that we deserve eternal separation from love, from hope, from peace, from God in Hell? Have we forgotten that God came to us in human form? That He took on our pain, our suffering, our failures, our shame... He took on all of the sin and evil in this world and put it to death by dying for us? Have we forgotten that God died the most shameful and painful death in order that we may live forever with Him? Have we forgotten that Jesus conquered death? That we will live with God forever? Have we forgotten that we are children of the King Most High? That we are loved? 

Where is our joy? 

We dare to ask that question. 

Why, when we have everything, why are do we not have joy? 

It's because we have forgotten. 

We have forgotten that loving God, that having a relationship with Him, is radical. This is not normal. It is not normal to be unconditionally loved by the Creator of the Universe. It's not normal for God to take on human flesh and die for our sins. It's not normal for God to chase us while we continually fail and don't care about it. 

Where is our joy?

Our joy is at the cross. We left it there. We took the comfort and relief and love that comes from knowing that we are beloved children of the God Most High. We went to church. We read the Bible. We prayed. We did what we were supposed to do.

Where is our joy?

We have made God so second-nature. We forget how radical His love truly is. We forget that God is a big deal. Francis Chan, the author of Crazy Love, says it best: 

“The core problem isn’t the fact that we’re lukewarm, halfhearted, or stagnant Christians. The crux of it all is why we are this way, and it is because we have an inaccurate view of
God. We see Him as a benevolent Being who is satisfied when people manage to fit Him into their lives in some small way. We forget that God never had an identity crisis. He knows that He’s great and deserves to be the center of our lives.” 

Do you know how crazy God's love is? Is God at the center of your life? Are you going to Him daily, drinking deeply of His hope and joy, and loving Him fully?

Or have you forgotten how radical God really is? 

Where is our joy?

In the Creator.
Not in the creation. 
Not in this world. 

Our joy lies in the radical love of God. 
In a love that cannot be made normal because there is nothing normal about it.
Our joy is in the cross.