That’s what I found myself doing yesterday. Running scared.
It was more of walking scared.
Walking scared (as in recovery I’m resisting the compulsion to run), as if I was fleeing from the feelings of fear within myself.
And so with that, I take myself back to yesterday evening.
Yesterday evening was a build up, an explosion to the emotional inner turmoil that I’ve been experiencing for the past 2 weeks.
This past last week got really bad. And looking back, I realize that part of the dark moods, the hopeless thoughts and desire to want to go back–to go back to full blown relapse was in part due to a simple part of nature–a simple monthly visitor–my menstrual cycle.
I realized from yesterday, as my TOM was expected and was one day late and I had begun to freak out. I presumed that perhaps my sleepless nights, and fear, and anxiety were contributing to that one missed day (to my perfectionist horror). However I realized that the days and weeks leading up to this monthly delightful visitor, I experience almost debilitating PMS symptoms related to mood. And for someone that has struggled from depression in relation to an eating disorder, I notice that PMS really exacerbates this. I found myself 1.5 weeks ago wondering why I was feeling so down, and so hopeless, and so just downcast? I felt almost like David in the BIBLE when he asked himself, “Why so downcast oh my soul?” And I’m not even joking, I seriously just felt so depressed, worse than usual. But yesterday as my monthly visitor arrived, I realized, Oh my gosh! That’s why! And looking back to my other cycles in the past 3 months that my cycle has returned since resuming regular eating, I recognized the same patterns–that is the pattern of heightened depressive states around this time. BUT in all of this, I’m actually thankful to God that I had this revelation, because now I know that each month I need to really prepare and put strategies in place to deal with such moods. Because I know that such moods can lead me to feelings of wanting to “give up”.
Let’s bring it back in. I tend to go on tangents, so hopefully you skipped some of that part. As I was saying, I was running scared. Walking scared–yesterday that is.
In the midst of trying to fight off the PMS blues, and really struggling with the more weight I’ve gained in the past 2 weeks. I felt like I was at my wits end. It was a balmy 15 degrees (Celsius that is for you Americaaan folk--you do the conversion)and I decided that I wanted to enjoy the sun and get out of my head and go for a walk. But in that moment, I decided in my heart that I was going to weigh myself. It was going to be the day. Now if you don’t know already–I’ll fill you in. I haven’t weighed myself in 3 months, which is a milestone for me because for the FIRST TIME IN 6 YEARS since developing an eating disorder I haven’t known my weight day-to-day or hour-to-hour. It’s been freeing BUT impeccably scary as HELLL! I took a hammer to my scale in December and smashed it damn pieces.
AND it felt good. REALLY, REALLY good!
But, it’s left me fearful and afraid as I’ve seen my stomach expanding, my hips widening, my thighs growing, and my butt taking shape. All good things in themselves, but I’m starting to get extremely anxious, fearful, and reminded of my past recovery where I reached a high weight that I was uncomfortable to the maximum with and full of fear and dread and hopelessness. So back to yesterday (geez girl get to the POINT).
So yeah. It’s been building. This fear of my body. These drastic changes in my shape and the way my clothes have been fitting. And the anxiety around food. I’ve been trying to estimate my weight and even doing that has brought anxiety. Now I live on campus and the gym is right across from my residence. So I’ve been tempted God knows how many timeeeees to go over and weigh myself. But I’ve resisted. I’ve told myself, “Wangui, you have to trust God, you have to! Never before have you done this. But you have to trust Him”. And so I often resist the temptation. But yesterday. Man the temptation grew into a mountain.
I left my apartment and was determined to buy a scale, no matter how pricey from the London Drugs in my neighbourhood. Mind you I didn’t care that my budget couldn’t afford it. All I cared about was that feeling of control. I was tired of guesstimating my weight and trying to trust and telling Him that I did, when really I knew I was living day-to-day in fear. So I resolved within myself that I would buy that dear old scale–bring it’s claws back into my life. As I stepped into London Drugs, I found myself pacing the aisles, searching frantically for my ‘drug’ of choice. Or one of them at least. I was dismayed after 5 minutes of walking back and forth that I couldn’t seem to find a scale. And a panic ensued. I told myself that if I didn’t find one, then I’d hop on the bus and buy one at Wal-Mart, no matter how far. But to my ‘luck’ I walked down the last aisle I was scoping out, and low and behold, I found that scale. A whole bunch of them. And some of the them were on sale even–speak of the Devil, for real! I felt some peace in knowing that I was going to get it- In that moment I didn’t care! I had been walking scared to the store, wanting to take back ‘control’ of my body that I constantly felt scared of–betrayed by.
But funny enough, I stood there. Instead of grabbing it, walking to the cashier and paying for it and going home to the comfort of my 4 walls and weighing myself--I–JUST–STOOD–THERE!
Stood there, and stared…
I felt like I was shaking. My heart was pounding. I wanted to buy it to so bad. Yet I knew deep down, deep down my spirit it seems was whispering, “Please don’t”. And I tried to ignore it, but as I reached out to touch it–the scale–to pick it up and ’embrace’ it, I felt that small–still whisper (Jesus lover’s y’all know what I’m talking ’bout). That small still voice, was quiet but ever so powerful. It asked me something along the lines of, “Wangui do you trust me? Do you trust me with your body?”
And It waited for my answer.
I answered back in a whisper, and tears in my eyes, mind you I was telling myself at that moment, “Wangui you are NOT going to breakdown in London Drugs! You’re not even wearing sunglasses…”
And so I answered back, “I’m trying to trust you, but I’m scared”. And that still voice answered me again, saying “Trust me, and I’ll do more than you ask. Trust me and I’ll lead you. Trust me and I’ll give you peace”.
And I knew at that moment that I wasn’t going to buy the scale. I quickly got out and continued on my walk. Relieved that I didn’t buy because what would have transpired after would be well–chaos really. Those with ED know the picture. I would have weighed myself, seen a number that I hated, and either binged and purged, or vowed to restrict, and just started the cycle again–addicted once again to the high of ‘starvation’ and the “binge-purge” cycle.
I realized that night that as I was walking to the store in that moment, that I had been walking scared. I was driven by an overwhelming sense of fear and panic.
But as I’m writing this there are a couple things that strike me. The first is that, that still small voice which I know is the Holy Spirit, didn’t demand that I put the scale down. It didn’t demand that I not buy the scale–He simply asked, “Do you trust me?” It strikes me because buying the scale would represent that I’m taking back that control, that I can’t possibly trust God with this process. He’s freed me of the ritual of weighing myself–yet there I was trying to go back. Yet He asked me ever so gently, “Do you trust me?” SO beautiful in that it reminds me of the nature of God and crushes my deep-rooted beliefs of Him being a scolding and condemning God. He reasons with you, He gets to your heart.
The second thing that stands out is the question itself, the part of ‘TRUST’. “Do you trust me?” My answer was “I’m trying to” and as I pondered over this that night, I felt guilt and shame. Guilt and shame because I wanted to and still want to so badly TRUST God with my body but I just don’t. I simply don’t yet and I’ve been hiding this from Him, as if He can’t see my heart. Today in church I received some guided prayer from a prayer couple (God bless ’em) and something that came up was that issue of ‘TRUST’. The couple was lead to tell me to openly confess to Jesus that I’m having difficulty ‘trusting’ Him–that my past experience with recovery has broken my trust in Him. And I said this aloud–and they assured me that it was okay to admit this because God sees it and He doesn’t condemn you with this–instead He wants to help us with it. So saying this out loud–confessing to God in that moment that I am afraid and really actually don’t trust Him, was so freeing. It felt relieving because I felt that before I was trying to ‘muster’ up some fake ‘trust’ so that God wouldn’ t punish me or be dissapointed in me, or tell me “Not again!”. It was relieving to admit that I want to trust Him but I really am struggling to–I’m afraid, and tired, and don’t know how to. It was relieving to admit to myself and God that I don’t trust that God will allow me to enjoy food, or not make me ‘fat’, or not allow the same fear and dread to overcome me as it did last time, and got my down the same rabbit hole of anorexia/bulimia. I said all this and felt peace. Peace because I had admitted what I felt, and knew somehow that He was waiting for me to say because He knows my heart (Psalm 139) and wants to change this. And so what am I trying to say? It’s that God wasn’t waiting to ridicule for my ‘trust’ issues with Him–He was waiting for me to honestly answer Him, as He asked my last night admist the aisles of London Drugs, and allowed me to ponder over and openly admit this today during a simple prayer time. He is so patient, pursuant of and caring of our hearts.
And so today evening where am I now? Well, I’m still afraid–a bit. I’m still uncomfortable. With my body, with how much I’ve gained. I still am struggling with ‘trusting’ God. Still afraid that I’m going to continue to gain and gain. But somehow I feel I tiny tad freer. Freer knowing that I’ve admitted to my Father, that I want to trust Him, deep within my heart, but I’m walking scared–I’m scared to trust Him, I don’t really. But I have the desire to trust Him. I have the desire to stop “walking scared” and start running free. And tonight, I have the belief that SOMEHOW He’ll restore that ‘TRUST’ in Him.
Blessings and love,
Wangui Muya (March 19, 2017)