Pointing it out

I’ve been working at my job for 4 weeks now. I absolutely love it. I work at a bible and missionary conference in housekeeping with the most amazing coworkers I could ask for in the greatest Christian environment. Housekeeping is hard work and physically demanding, which means calorically demanding as well. For three out of the past four weeks, I’ve followed hunger cues and increased food intake where needed. In actuality, I didn’t even think of what I was eating, I just did. I say just three out of four because last week my dad threw a nice wrench into my mostly disorder-free eating habits.

We were driving as I mentioned something about how much of a workout my body is getting at my job. My father,very pointedly, explains that I need to eat more so I don’t “get in trouble again” and an internal freakout ensues. Deep down, I knew that this was the case. I mean it’s only logical (well okay logical to someone without ED thoughts) that more energy out = more energy in. The thing is I have an eating disorder and I’ve been trying to avoid anything to do with calories or eating and instead do what feels right. Intuitive eating is hard on its own and to have my dad say that screws up everything I’ve worked towards. (Note: I’m not blaming him at all, even if I wish he hadn’t said it. I’m just sensitive to these sort of comments and only my eating disorder is to blame for that.)

Since that drive I’ve been slipping back into disordered thought patterns and behaviors. I’ve felt a need to restrict my eating some even though I should be doing the exact opposite. I haven’t given myself a rest day, it’s either work or an hour plus of intense yoga. I’m also avoiding sweets or any sort of indulgence. And lastly, I have stepped on the scale a few times.

I am going to work on this. I have so much to work hard at recovery for. I am going to NTS in under a month and I cannot be a good leader and be faithful to my eating disorder at the same time I have to spend time with God and the girls there which leaves no room for restriction, exercise, or obsessing. After NTS is work for the rest of the summer and I definitely can’t do my best if I’m constantly malnourished. When I’m not working I want to do things I love: read, watch Netflix, relax, write my book. None of that can happen with the ED intruding. At the summer’s end I move into college. I’ve already tried to do that with the ED and being on my own at a new place is more than enough stress for my first semester at Calvin.

So, instead of allowing this to send me into a spiral, I have a few strong words for my dumb ED. I am not following you again. You’ve done nothing but harm me! I am getting help from Jenny this week (no waiting to tell her this time). I will get back to a better eating regimen so that I’ll have energy to work and do all the things I have planned this summer. You may have taken my dad’s words as fuel but I am not feeding you. I’ve been down this road many times and I am beyond sick of it!!!

Blind Faith

Blind: unable to see.

Faith: confidence or trust in a person or thing.

Together, blind faith means complete trusting in God’s plan when I cannot see the end. I’ve struggled with this a ton lately, but I am wholeheartedly giving up control. I’ve tried and failed time and time again. I simply cannot control my future, or at least not in any way that will end well. God has been waiting for me, a glorious plan in His hand, and I’m finally ready to let Him take the lead.

What will this mean when it comes to my life? In one word: peace. My worry and anxiety has gone down so much. I’m not spending hours a day wondering what bad things may happen. I am learning to “not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matt 6:34). I realize that things will happen in the future and they may not all be pleasant, but also that worrying now does no good for me. Even if there’s pain and discomfort, I will get through and learn something from it. God has a higher purpose than I will ever be able to grasp.

This huge shift and revival of my faith in God has already led to some decisions/changes in thinking that I am incredibly happy with. Firstly, I am going to NTS camp as a leader. I promised them I would and they’ve been so excited about ME leading them. Regardless of what uncertainty the future holds about me helping with youth group next year or not, this experience won’t be pointless. I know God will grow and challenge our relationship with Him and each other during that week and after. I am ready to lead and learn.

Next fall has brought nothing but fear the last few months. I have had doubts about my major, whether I should even go to college, how I would ever make friends, and more. I got to a point where I couldn’t even trust God could make the situation good. I spent a lot of time in prayer and He’s come through with some pretty straightforward answers for me. He’s shown me again and again that Calvin is where I belong. Even more, nursing is the right choice. That alone didn’t completely cement my anxieties but God continued to change that this week. Katie at work has been a huge blessing when it comes to anything surrounding living at college and making friends. She had no problem there and is a lot like me (a  tad socially awkward and not a lot of friends in high school) so my anxieties there are at a normal level. In so many other ways I’ve gained complete peace with all of my decisions with Calvin. I will have support there and nearby, including getting connected to counseling staff before moving in. I can still minister to others as a nurse and the career truly fits my strengths well. I am going to love being challenged academically and being in a Christian environment, a combination Calvin uniquely provides me. Overall, God has proven and continues to show me that next fall will be okay.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had mental health issues. I have negative behaviors and thought patterns that started when I was a child. It’s so easy for me to fall into hopelessness. That’s exactly where I was the past few weeks. Because I’ve never experience complete freedom from all these things before, I believed God couldn’t do it. I thought that I would be miserable forever. I am just beginning to trust that what I’m going through isn’t making my life terrible. I will grow from this somehow. I have no idea what good can come from this pain, but that’s because only God knows. All I do know is that if I build my foundation of recovery on Him I will get better. It might not be the pace I want but healing is going to come for me. Even if I never live a day without disordered thoughts in my life I am willing to fight past them each day to let God work through me. Depression, anxiety, BPD, and anorexia have NOTHING on God.

I have a long way to go on all of this. I’m not a perfect Christian and I certainly don’t have it all together. I’m not focused on being perfect though, that’s God’s job. Instead, I am spending more time in prayer, worship, and His word. The more I give up to Him the better I feel. He will take care of me and has a future bigger than I could ever imagine. I am not worthless or hopeless, but excited to see God’s plan unfold in my life. I am ready to blindly let Him lead.

Down, down, down

Warning: do not read this unless you can safely handle a ton of negativity. No ED stuff or SH, just feeling really really bad currently.

I am miserable right now. I’m still not currently ready to talk about all of it. I haven’t told a soul all that’s going on in my head right now. I haven’t even explained all that’s going on outside of myself. I can’t just sit in these thoughts without breaking down. I’ve cried a majority of the time I wasn’t at work or with others. I’m isolating. I feel like hurting myself in a lot of ways, although the only I’ve acted out is mental torture. I have never felt this kind of pain. I would rather have pectus surgery ten times over than have all these thoughts.

I know this is all going to be vague, I’m doing that on purpose. Specifics don’t matter. If I wanted to type it all out I would be crying and probably end up giving myself a panic attack. I know this because it’s happened already trying to write this post. So in no specificity whatsoever, I feel like my entire future is pointless, I am pushing away from basically everyone, I am absolutely terrified, I have no control over 99% of what could/is going to happen, I feel really hurt, my entire purpose is gone, I am so alone, I am having worse thoughts than a few months ago or ever really.

Not just one thing set this all off. It’s been building for a long time but then the floodgates of disordered thinking and all of it opened up last week and I haven’t been able to stop it more than a little bit at a time. Work is the only time I’m distracted enough to ignore everything. I’m so thankful to have worked three days this week so far and I’m scheduled two more, then five next week. The problem is, the second I get home, or even if I pause at work, it all comes rushing back. I feel so unstable and out of control. I thought it might get better over time but I was wrong. I don’t feel any better. In a lot of ways it’s worse. I can’t even begin to see ways I can stop this. I can’t see a future. I don’t know what to do and i’m rejecting all help.

If something doesn’t change it isn’t going to be good. I’m already intent on ruining everything I care about and all the people I am close to and my future. I don’t even want to go to college or talk to anyone (except Livvy because she is the only one who basically 100% gets it or at least tries the best she can). All I can do is see where this gets me because I don’t plan on trying to get it any better right now.