I'm not shy in talking about my struggles. My mom is probably horrified at my inability to censor myself but what can I say? This is how I process things.
The other thing I'm not shy about is talking about my struggle with both anorexia and bulimia throughout high school and college. Perhaps I'm a little different in that my struggle didn't leave me in a dark, depressed state. It was part of how I kept things under control.
I've always been a perfectionist--an overacheiver--and my weight seemed to always be the one thing I couldn't gain control of.
During that time, there were fleeting thoughts of "maybe I shouldn't be doing this to myself" but it wasn't until I threw up blood (once) and stopped having my period that I started to worry...still, I never told anyone about it.
I could handle it myself.
By my junior year of college, I had a bit of a revelation about the way I was treating my body. Suddenly it felt very bold to think of myself as indestructible. And a few years later a girl I went to high school with, someone we all knew to be builimic, had a heart attack.
She was 26.
My story is probably different though, than many people who battle an eating disorder. Because I have such a stubborn will, I think I sort of made this decision to pray...and God set me free of that thing...except there were (and still are) these residual scars that hang around.
Now that I'm older and I often work with teenagers, I have so much compassion for girls who struggle with insecurity or confidence or self esteem. Years ago, I created a self esteem retreat for the girls in our ministry called The Beautiful Girl Workshop and it's something I still have a passion for... but during all of my recovery and all of that time wandering in the darkness, I never found a really great resource to help those who, like me, struggle in silence, wishing someone would take them by the hand and get them through to the other side.
But now, there is such a resource.
According to amazon:
Emily Wierenga gets vulnerable and practical in a revealing book about the thought process of a young woman battling an eating disorder -- herself. Sharing her story, Emily speaks to the heart of those who care about others struggling with an eating disorder and shares a practical way forward from a biblical perspective. Comprised of insights and advice from both families and Christian professionals in the eating disorders field, Emily lays out a pathway that inspires and challenges readers to provide the kind of support a person struggling with an eating disorder needs.
I first discovered Emily because she was doing something on her blog called "Imperfect Prose". It was a chance for writers to hit the same topic on the same day and link up and share. It was wonderful the times I got to participate, but the best part was getting to know her heart.
Later, I discovered we share the same agent and a similar past, so when I heard about her book, I could hardly wait for its release. Because I knew that now--finally--families would have an invaluable resource from the mind of someone who truly understands how an eating disorder can weasel its way in and somersault your sanity.
Just like that.
This book is strong and powerful and important. And if you or someone you love struggles in silence, don't ignore it. It's easy to do. It's easy to thinking "I can't go there with them" or "I don't want to offend them."
But you could be saving their life.
Today Emily has agreed to give away a copy of this book...please don't feel you have to leave anything but quick hello so you can be entered...but if you have a story you want to share, my comments are yours.
And you aren't alone.