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chica.not.forgotten

Follower of Christ. Social Worker. Diaspora Girl.

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Renewal, Restoration: Recovery

A diary–journal of sorts, related to my own journey both with ups and downs, towards continued walking in freedom from the years with an eating disorder.

One Year Ago Today…

Wow. It’s been 1 whole year. 1 ENTIRE year, that I was admitted into the Inpatient Eating Disorder Program at the Ottawa General Hospital.

One year ago today, I was nearly dead. I was 69lbs.

Skine and bone, despising myself and wanting to die.

I nearly did.

The days leading up to my hospitalization, I cried out to God and told Him I give up. That I had no strength left. The hospital had told me I would have to wait another 3 months, to which  I knew I’d be dead by then.

And then, 4 days later. A door opened and by God’s grace, I was admitted on April 20th, 2016 11:30am. I remember that day.

That day was the day that I remember God clearly speaking to me. I stared into the mirror in my hospital room and I heard, “Look at the girl today, for you’ll never see her again”. I stared and saw an emaciated, living breathing skeleton. An empty shell that was being given a second chance.

One year ago today….

And so in honor of this anniversary, though I’m still facing the ups and downs, slips and falls of ED recovery, I want to pause and post my entry on the day I was hospitalized…

One year ago today.

Be blessed!

April 20, 2016: Admission number 3..that’s what is..my 3rd admission into an eating disorder inpatient program within the last 3 years. Actually I lied because in total it will now be my 4th round of treatment…
And how do I feel about This? My first instinct is to feel like a failure like a never ending bundle of hopelessness and despair…forever doomed to suffer an eating disorder …to battle with it BUT I’m not that me anymore…I’ve come from far

So how do I really feel? Yes it’s my 3rd impatient attempt. Yes it’s frustrating because I just want to be free and I just Want to walk in what God has for me. I want to feel his goodness and witness a miracle in my life in regards to this prison that I’ve live in for so many years. I want to enjoy food and love and nourish my body and take care of it. I want to be fre from all the lies of the enemy and the venom he’s spewed about my body. I want to have joy and singing in my life rather than constant dispair and dread. Yes I want all these things and at ththe name time I’m scared. At the same time I’m terrier of the weight gain, of the food, of the loss of control. I’m afraid of having made the wrong decision in choosing to try again but most of all I’m afraid that God will disappoint me again. BUT YET and still…there’s a place deep down in my heart…deep deep down that says God will honour you…That this time is different. Yes there’s a sweet place deep down it may be small but it’s still there and that sweet small place is confident that God has heard my cry. That he is really setting me free in every way possible. That his beautiful favour is upon me and he is smiling down upon saying ” my daughter your faith has made you well, go in peace and believe in me and watch and see what I will do in your life, it’ll blow you away”. Yes this is what I hold onto.  This time I am free. This time I am at peace. This time he has cleared a straight and clear path for me to recover. This time I will be at ease. This time I will enjoy the journey and sing his praises along the away. Yes indeed this time I will never go back, for my God has seen my cries and has destroyed my enemies in Jesus name. This time I am set on solid ground, this time I am in balance, this time my God will take every single lie the enemy has manifested in my life and not only reverse it but disarm and destroy it. This time I am not walking out of these doors, four north on shaky ground. No in Jesus name this time I am walking out of here being a living and breathing testimony of Gods supernatural power. These things I have declared by the blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Yes that is how feel.

Lessons of a “Broke Down” Fridge

I love food.

It’s crazy that I’m admitting that, but this ‘story’ illustrates JUST how MUCH I do.

I’m obsessed with food.  Even though I’m in recovery from an eating disorder, and I’m still very much afraid of many foods, today–yes today I realized how much I still am very much ‘drawn’ to food.

Now before I begin, mind you, this is typical for those who have eating disorders, and those in recovery. For those of us in recovery, this ‘obsession’ will fade away (or so I’ve heard, as I’ve never been recovered long enough) as your body begins to trust you with you providing it adequate nourishment. Adequate nourishment which I’ve been learning to do, day by day, hour by hour. But anyways, I digress.

So, what triggered (the irony) this discovery? This epiphany of sorts? This realization that I’m still very much ‘attached’ to food, ‘pulled’ by it, and ‘obsessed’ with it?

Well….

To put it shortly (of which of course I won’t )…

My fridge broke.

Yes, it broke.

“Broke down, good for nothin’ fridge!”

And the frustration, and panic that ensued–well–shed light on the truth. The truth that I’d been running from (man, it seems like I’m always running).

Let me set the scene…

I was prepping my breakfast, planning to get it ‘down’ so that I could go for my weekly grocery run. As I’ve limited myself to trying to only buy food once per week, because I often ‘overbuy’ food (also another characteristic for some ED peeps) So yeah. Back to the scene. I cooked up my french toast (my new fave), and poured my milk into my coffee, and grabbed my ‘delightful’ bowl of strawberry yogurt. I was kind of excited.

Kind of. 

Well, because it’s one of my favourite breakfasts, and even though I’m struggling to accept my body at the moment, it’s one of the foods that I genuinely say, “To hell with you ED”. So yeah.

Okay, so as I took my first sip (y’all know that FIRST sip) of coffee, and I realized it tasted off. I decided to try a swig of the milk I had poured from my jug, and I immediately spit it out ( I should’ve smelled it first). I was mortified at the taste. But, more than that, I quickly began to panic. Why? Because the previous night I had been drinking from my other jug of chocolate (my other fave) and I noticed that it tasted kind of funny, despite the due date being 2 weeks from last night. So I poured it out. As I thought back to the previous night and my awful tasting chocolate milk, I realized that something must be wrong with my fridge. I linked the two. And that’s when–when I-

Began to panic.

I frantically checked the temperature of my fridge with my hand and it felt unusually warm. It seriously almost felt like room temperature. I quickly tasted my yogurt, and to my dismay, it too tasted ‘off’. And I continued to panic. I checked everything.

Every….

                   Single….

                                 Food item….

And they were all warm.

Crap. Shit. F^&^&&*&! 

Yes, I really did swear. I think God understood (LOL).

What was I going to do? 

I checked the freezer. And to my luck, it was actually working.

Weird.

But still. I had no time to think about that.

I was in all out, full on, red-alert panic.

My food. MY FOOD!

My PRECIOUS FOOD!

It was going rotten. All rotten. 

All that waste. All of it.

Part of me cried. Part of me was grieved.

And I’m not exaggerating.

Now here’s where I’ll explain how this situation all ties in.

As I began to throw out all the spoiled food. I realized that my unnecessary ‘meltdown’ from disposing of this ‘uneaten’ food, was tied well–well to the remnants of the eating disorder.

I realized that there were are still roots left. Roots that would take time to be uprooted, and burned. My sadness surrounding throwing out food was related to how I still spent a lot of my time thinking about food. Grocery shopping. Planning grocery shopping. Opening and closing the fridge. Planning meals….

You get the picture.

And I think this showed me that even though my body is at a now normal weight, my brain is still very much disordered.

Food obsession has been linked to starvation and eating disorders (Google the Minnesota Starvation Study). The more deprived the body has been of an adequate food supply, the more it (the brain) becomes obsessed with food. With getting it, securing it, and inhaling eating it. It’s a built-in protective factor that God so cleverly created within us. But the body can’t differentiate between real famine, or self-induced starvation. Hence the food obsession, the food driven behaviours. Thus, perhaps explains my reaction to having to throw out the spoiled food.

A ‘normal’ ( I dislike hate  this word, because who REALLY is normal, but I mean those without EDs) person  in this situation would probably have experienced some frustration, annoyance, anger, but most likely the person would move on. There would be no grieving, no panicking, no trying desperately to save the food. And definitely no thoughts of either wanting to ‘binge’ to make use of the food. Or thoughts of, “Fine, the food is gone. I may as well not eat then. I don’t need to replace it. I’ll just restrict because it’s more money that I’ll have to spend.

Yea–yea, no. 

There wouldn’t be disordered thoughts like this. Now I’m not bashing myself. But I realized just how disordered such thoughts are. How ED infested these thoughts are. How food obsessed I still am--that to part with it, means either “ALL-OR-NOTHING”.

I realized how….

Well just how DUMB, ED really was.

Because if I really think about it…

I mean if you really think about it….

Okay let’s think about it together…

I was willing to ‘starve’ all because my fridge b-r-o-k-e  d-o-w-n.

I was willing to eat the entire fridge, to salvage what was in danger of being lost.

I was willing to put my recovery in ‘jeopardy’ because ED just couldn’t let me throw out one morsel–one ounce of food.

ED screamed at me to save all I can. That without this food, my world would implode.

I was willing to do all this. I contemplated all of it.

Man, I was so ready.

But in the end…

In the end,

I won.

I won.

And so I thank God my fridge broke down.

Because really, everyday in this journey, I’m learning something…

Something new.

I gained insight into my behaviours, I learned how sneaky ED thoughts are; and I learned what I still need to work on.

So here’s to my “broke down” fridge. And here’s an F-U to ED.

I won.

 

By Wangui Muya (March 22, 2017)

Mad love and blessings!

P.S. Maintenance showed up and replaced my “broke down” fridge with a completely new one! BOOYAH!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Does God Make Sick Jokes?

It’s interesting to read back what you wrote. I wrote this almost 2 years ago. July 15, 2015 when I was just discharged from a Day Hopsital Program in the eating disorder program in Ottawa. I’m brought back to this post today, as even though I’ve once again embarked on recovery, I’m afraid to be at the point the girl in this entry was. I’m afraid things will be the same.

“You’re BMI is 29.1”, my dietitian told me. She paused and hesitated to speak. I could see that she was at a loss for words.

I sighed inwardly as I had expected it. Of course I had expected it, as endless weight gain for the past 8 months had been the norm. Yet even though I had expected–and dreaded it mind you, there was a deep-sinking feeling of disappointment and despair.

And so I thanked my dietitian and walked back to the weekly Transition group–a group that was meant for former patients of the EDP program to check in weekly on our post-treatment progress. The session started and I listened as best as I could to each girl speak. But I could feel my mind slipping–slipping into a tidal wave of thoughts and emotions–a full on mental conversation with myself. I could feel the heartache set in, the lump in my throat begin to form. I could feel the stinging of fresh tears begin to well up behind my eyes. “Don’t cry, Wangui–don’t cry!!” I told myself. I was tired of crying, so tired of showing my vulnerability. But yet as I sat there and looked at everyone else in the room, I felt wave after waves of sadness and confusion, and dare I say resentment stir up within me. I began to think to myself–it had been 8 months since I began this journey of recovery from anorexia and now as of today I had gained a total of 94lbs. Never in a thousand years would I have thought I would have gained this much. Why had I gained this much? Why me? What was wrong with me?

“Wangui, it’s your turn–how have you been doing?” the nurse practinioner asked.

That snapped me out of my mental dialogue. I looked up and all eyes were on me. They had saved the best for last–the abnormal one for last I thought to myself. I stared at the nurse practinioner and then the psychiartirst and then the rest of the group. I took a deep breath and began speaking.

I was mainly directing my speech to the psychiatrist, as to be honest I often felt dismissed and brushed off by the nurse practinoner (God bless her either way).

And so even though I hated to tell the group what had been going on. I began. I told them how I had been following my meal plan and had reduced my exercise to only 30-45 min every two days. I mentioned how I was basically not engaging in any eating disorder behaviours. But with all that, even though I was proud of myself, I still couldn’t move on from my weight. My mind was still hard-pressed with the reality that I hadn’t stopped gaining weight. It wasn’t slowing down–it had  NOT plateaued or stablised as the medical team had often termed it. I told them how with that reality I missed the eating disorder. I missed the purging, I missed the empty feeling in my stomach, I missed the restriction, I missed the low body weight which seemed to be the only true way of controlling my weight. And in my head, though I wish I had had the courage to say it out loud, I had thought to myself how food didn’t seem to go appropriately with my body. How food made me overweight, and not just slightly overweight, a lot overweight.

But I went on and mentioned how I had no clothes to wear, how I didn’t want to buy any because every week for the past 8 months my weight had been different. I paused and could feel a tension in the room. No one knew what to say. But I knew what they were thinking. It’snot hard to guess really. I know the way eating disorder patients think–I’m one myself. I was the girl that no one wanted to be. I was the girl that if this had happened to them, they would have relapsed. And heck yes at that moment, and even now relapse is very much on my mind.

As I paused, the nurse practitioner jumped. “But Wangui, you were at a very, very, low BMI so of course you’re going to gain weight! What do you expect?!”

At that moment I seriously wanted to yell at her, and dare I say slap her (I would never but…). Of course I knew I would gain weight, but it’s safe to say that I had gained the most weight out of all the girls and the doctors didn’t even know why. I stared back at her, seething inside. I hadn’t gained a mere 20 or 30lbs like everyone else, I’d gained almost 100lbs and it hadn’t stopped! I just wanted it to stop! And it made me feel abnormal–defective, as i had for so long believed and eventually indoctrinated upon myself.

The psychiatrist, I think sensing my distress at the NP’s crass comment, interjected, “Wangui what is your BMI at now?”

I paused for a second and thought to myself, “is he seriously asking me this in a room full of number obsessed women? women who campre themselves obsessively to each other because of the nature of this beastly illness? seriously?!” But at that point I didn’t care. I wanted to put to silence the NP and all my group peers comments of how I’m being so hard on myself and the cliche statements of how it will get better and blah and blah.

No one in that room understood the anguish and dilemma I was in. The one which was to continue doing the thing you hated but needed to live–eat– and continue gaining weight to at this point god knows where; or to relapse and have some relief no matter how temporary. No one in that room understood, yet what I’m certain they did know, was that what was happening to me, was an anorexics worst nightmare. My case in point: the edp always reassures us that no one leaves the program continuing to gain weight or overweight. They pat us on our pretty little heads and  reassure our deep  rooted fear that food doesn’t make you fat. Well what say you to me then? I wanted them to in some ways edit their statement and have a sort of astrix as commercials often do. One that would say all this was true EXCEPT for Wangui. Because this was how I felt–no rather this seemed to be the reality and no one on that medical team could reassure me as I’ll explain below. I felt alone–no was alone in this predicament–this nightmare.

And so I answered with confidence, an almost defiance, “It’s 29.1”. Now mind you, I know that BMI is not a completely accurate measure of health, but 29.1 is concerning, considering 8 months ago I was at a BMI of 13. According to the BMI scale, a healthy BMI is 20-24.9, overweight is from 25-29.9 and obese is anything greater than 30. Now, as I mentioned before, I wasn’t just a BMI of 26 or 27–slightly overweight, I was and am basically bordering on obesity. Never wouid I have ever imagined being this and it’s by the grace of God truly, that I haven’t relapsed–though truthfully I’m begining to comtemplate it. I’m fantisizing over it and in some twisted way–planning for it.

Anyways back to my answer. I told the psychiatrist I was at BMI 29.1 and he looked shocked. I almost wanted to smirk at him as I flashed back to two months prior.  Two months earlier shut me down when I had tearfully explained to him in his office that my weight wasn’t stopping. He had told me that based on only 1kg of weight gain in the two weeks that time previously that it was stabilsing and i was just obssessing. But I know my body better than anyone–but some doctors being doctors–refused to hear my ‘antics’. After all, I was just an eating disorder patient whose brain was overtaken by the illness.

Coming back to the present, I retained a straight face and waited for his response. He paused, as if to gather his thoughts and then said, “Wangui if someone can figure out why you are gaining this much, I’d give them the Nobel Prize”. I could see that even he, the director of the  Ottawa Regional Centre for the Treatment of Eating Disorders was stiffled for an answer. No one could explain what was happening to me; and that was when I knew I was screwed. I could feel the tension in the room grow thicker. I could only imagine what peo ple were thinking, some of which were probably “phew I’m glad I’m not her”. And at that moment I think I went into myself and could hear my heart breaking. I asked God, why is this happening? Why are you doing this to me? I’m so dissapointed, so heart-broken!”

But I snapped back into the present as the psychiatrist then told me that he was going to refer me to a clinic called BMI , which was a clinic that specialized in obesity/overweight individiuals and how to induce healthy weight loss. He gave me the card and I started at for what seemed the longest time. The group ended and I held onto the card, stared at it, and hated it.

As I drove home, tears stung my cheeks and a sob escaped my mouth. I was alone to breakdown to myself, my very heart feeling torn up and unmendable. I felt like this was some part of sick joke. Some really clever but sick joke. I had gone from an eating disorder clinic and treatment for 6 months and now I was being refered to an obesity expert. I was so confused, angry, let-down, and dissapointed by God. I verbally whispered, “God I know you are in control, but this is my limit. This is all I can take. This doesn’t make sense! I don’t understand why you would send me such a clinic which is so triggering. God, I can’t do this!”  My thoughts raced in every which direction, and I began to question the goodness of God, I began to question if He really had good plans for me as He has declared Jeremiah 29:11. And I paused and asked Him, “God is this some sick joke? Do you–God– make sick jokes?” And of course I was met with silence.

And as I broke down, tears streaming down my face, and my earlier headache now pounding like an anvil inside my head, the thoughts of relapse began bombarding my mind. Don’t get me wrong, they were always there, and were growing by the day, but with this new revelation–this reality that even my doctor didn’t know what to do– I thought that it probably wouldn’t be long before I relapsed. My weight gain was not slowing down, no mtter how much I cried out to God or prayed. And it scared me how much I would weigh next week or the week after, or by the end of August.

I know God doesn’t make sick jokes. But my heart is broken. My motivation is null and my desire and will-power to continue on this journey has faded. It’s by God’s mercy and grace and power that I made it through for 8 months and most likely 9 months since it’s round the corner but passed that I cannot say if I’ll make it. God is still great, He is still good, but this–is all just too much…It feels like some sick joke…

And with that part of me regrets ever setting foot in that hospital that November 6, 2014. Part of me regrets recovery. And part of me–as bad as it sounds can’t help but welcome relapse. That’s my honest feeling, my deepest thought and I know God knows this–because really this entry is mainly to Him. I don’t know what God is up to, I don’t know His plan but I know He knows how weary, bent and broken I am–how at the end of the road I am. How I feel like I’m slipping into the inevitable.

But one things for sure–this I know: God doesn’t make sick jokes. He sees me where I am–He sees my tears, my ambivalence, and I know in my heart that even if I relapse or recover–no matter what–He is still with me!

Recovery is Hard

I wake up, roll over in my discombobulated (wonder how the heck I sleep) bed ;and wonder what time it is.

Hoping for it to be at least 8am so I can get my friggin’ breakfast out of the way (because that’s how I feel about food these days), to my dismay it’s 7am.

I sigh, and get angry at myself. Screaming at myself, (thank God I live alone in an apartment) I’m frustrated because I’ve spent the entire night tossing and turning,  not getting a ‘wink’ of sleep thinking about my body. Thinking about how big it’s gotten, how much weight it  will have gained overnight. Now I know this all sounds irrational, and I often tell myself, “Wangui, stop being so friggin’ ridiculous!”

But I can’t help it. Every morning and before I go to bed, my brain is overtaken with fear, anxiety, dread, and panic. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I think, with a sinking feeling is “Is today going to be the day that I’m just that closer to being my previous weight? Is today the day I’m fat?”Every moment of day, whether I’m on the bus, having a conversation with someone, eating my meals, worshiping, reading etc etc, I’m just thinking of more dreaded weight gain. And to my horror, the days end and  I lie in bed thinking about how much bigger I  will be the next day. I think I’m in a way trying to brace myself for the ‘worst’, which I remember quite well.

So that’s why waiting for breakfast to come, has not become exciting because I’m scared. Scared to eat. But I have to. It’s crazy if you think about it. Being afraid of the ‘thing’ that keeps you ALIVE.

Eating for me, at this point has become a chore-a wanting to get things done off my checklist. And so as I get ready for the day, make my breakfast, I’m quietly whispering to “God, I just can’t do today. I’m so tired God. I’m so tired of being afraid of food. I’m so tired of mistrusting my body, it mistrusting me, and all in all tired of not trusting you with my body. God I just want peace. I want freedom to be normal!”

And of course I know He’s listening so I go on, out loud, unfiltered, unashamed, in my solitary apartment,

“God I’m afraid, and terrified because my body is still gaining weight. And it’s gaining. God I know what happened last time. You know. God it didn’t stop gaining. It became an unhealthy weight, and as much as I pleaded and prayed with you, nothing happened. I got the worst medical recommendation ever, and I relapsed, and I’m back here trying to climb this mountain of recovery. God I want to learn to love my body. Both physically and internally. I want to believe that I can stare at myself in the mirror and not cringe–not want to cut off every piece of flesh I see. God I just want freedom, restoration, and happiness and joy for once”

And of course I don’t get an immediate answer. But just saying it out loud, makes me feel a tiny bit better. It makes eating breakfast a little easier. But if I’m being honest, recovery at this time is HELL-A hard. I get these dark thoughts, really dark, thoughts that I know are not from God. Thoughts of self-harm, thoughts of “Wangui know one would notice if you left this city, or if you disappeared” They go on and on. And sometimes I’m able to rebuke them, to shut them up using scripture etc, but other times they are so deafening. So recovery is hard as hell right now. I’m still eating “normally” by the GRACE of GOD (for real) and haven’t engaged in any ED behaviours; but I’ve pinpointed some warning signs. Those such a) being afraid to eat certain foods within the same week or day b) going to social events with food c)going to events with semi-formal wear needed because I’m afraid to try on a lot of my clothes d) being hesitant to drink milk e) high urges to exercise f) wanting to purchase a scale

It’s crazy if you think about it. Being afraid of the ‘thing’ that keeps you ALIVE.

For the most part I try and resist them at best, but I find myself praying for God to give me strength. Because along with those warning signs, I’ve been experiencing depressive episodes, of skipping class and sleeping all day. Just a really mood and wanting to escape through not being there. I tell God, this is NOT the way He made me to live. I tell Him, why are we going through the same recovery road of 2015 where I ended up hospitalized again for the millionth time?

!!Recovery is tough!!

Sometimes, when I go out and venture out into the world to socialize, I make sure to put on my mask. I wash my face, swipe foundation evenly over it, add some blush, use some jet-black lengthening and defining ( I don’t know if they really do what they ‘claim’ to do.. mascara and eye liner, and slip on some colourful attire, with accent ginormous earrings or, some BOMB necklace. And I look nice, or at least think I do. I smile at myself, as I think “No one is ever going to guess, or know at your inner turmoil–no one”. And so I walk out my door and put on the best damned show possible. Being loud, friendly, outgoing, funny, because not really because I want to or like to (which I really do because that’s my personality); but because I don’t want them to see.

To see how fake it all is. It was easier for people to know how I was on the inside when I was literally a walking skeleton thin, looking sickly and half dead young woman. But now, as at whatever weight I am  (I don’t know, cuz I busted that scale), I just look like everyone else. But I feel like I’m an impostor, a fake. And so I hold onto my mask harder, tighter, and put on a better show. I never let people ask me deep questions about my self–because well–well it’s a Pandora’s box.

Recovery is hard.

Pushing. Crying. Falling. Faking. Standing. Smiling. Fighting.

Recovery is hard.

I’ll say it again,

Recovery is DAMN hard.

And God, because I know you’re watching me writing this, this better be worth it. Because on days like today. I feel like it’s become a disappointment.

Recovery is hard.

March 21, 2017

Walking Scared

Running scared.

That’s what I found myself doing yesterday. Running scared.

Or rather,

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”.

Anywhooooooo…….

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)

First Week

Wow it’s hard to believe this was written in 2014. November 2014 when I was admitted to inpatient for the second time. Here goes it.

November 2014

Tomorrow will officially be 1 week since I entered the Eating Disorder Inpatient program at the General Hospital. I was admitted last Friday November 7.  And boy was I happy. Oh so happy. I just wanted to begin the journey to recovery because I was so tired of living with this illness and being bombarded daily with intrusive thoughts.  So tired of the constant weighing, the purging, the starving–the brokenness. I was tired of fearing for my life and at 73 lbs I had much to be fearful of. I was constantly worried that I would pass out while walking, or have a heart attack while my head was in the toilet. As graphic as it may sound, I speak in all honesty when I say that it is a miracle I am even here typing this. It’s a miracle that God kept me alive. There are numerous times that I would be just about to purge and as messed up as it sounds, I would pray to God to keep me from having a heart attack or stroke; because in reality I was playing Russian Roulette with my life. It’s really not a joke when people say that eating disorders are DEADLY!

Anyways as I was saying, I was ready for God to begin healing, though actually in reality He had already started it  (I’ll write about what I mean by this in another entry) long before I had received the phone call for admission. So upon admission, the EDP team weighs you and then you meet with a Dietitian who goes over your meal plan and helps you select foods for the week. You explain your symptoms to both the doctor and Dietitian. Those who are a below a certain Body Mass Index are required to sit in a wheelchair (to conserve energy) and I qualified so everywhere you go and I mean EVERYWHERE you must be pushed in the ‘chair’. You are also confined to the ward for 48 hours and are not allowed to leave as it is hospital policy for every Psychiatric Patient. After all of this you await being wheeled down to the Eating Disorders Dining room and it feels as if you are being marched off to your death. You have mixed feelings of fear, joy, elation, etc. You know that you must finish all of your meal INCLUDING dessert, and that there is no option to go and disappear like you are used to for 20 to 30 minutes to purge. And even though I’ve been in the program before, have sat in the dining room, and eaten with a nurse watching me and other EDP, it is still a bit of a shock that I have to begin eating “normally”. But I tell myself that it’s part of the journey, part of recovery. But when you’re done your meal and are wheeled to your room and left with yourself and your thoughts, you panic and begin to think of the weight that that meal is going to make you gain. Though it’s irrational, you feel huge and the urge to purge is so high, so overwhelming–but by the grace of God you sit with the emotions, with the feelings and you fight. You simply fight, because you know that what’s you’re here for, your here to fight to recover, you’re here to gain weight, and GAIN YOUR LIFE BACK!

So as to where I am now, it’s still week one. I had weigh in on Monday since being weighed on admission and the scale read that I had gained 13 lbs. The Dietitian told me that it was all water weight because of the purging and laxative abuse. It had ONLY been 3 days and in my head I was like 13 fricken pounds?!!!!!!!!! My eating disorder brain was FREAKING OUT! I felt so out of control, so scared and ANGRY! One must realize that even though I want to recover and get better and live life again, the illness part of my brain is so RESISTANT and deeply rooted. It craves control and rigidity. So it made me feel terribly out of control and I just wanted to ball my eyes out! Worse yet I wanted to discharge myself that night! I told myself that I couldn’t do this, that I wasn’t ready yet. I needed to engage in eating disorder symptoms (i.e bingeing and purging) at that moment to make myself feel better, to feel a sense of control and comfort BUT of course being in the EDP setting I was not allowed to do this. So I had to sit with those emotions. And so I returned to my room and balled my eyes out! Why did my body gain so much weight so fast? I compared myself to the other women in the program who had been there for weeks at a time and had barely gained anything. I prayed to God and asked him why he made my body so abnormal that it gained weight so fast. Of course it was water weight, but I didn’t care. To me it confirmed my ill feelings toward my body. I concluded that food was my body’s WORST enemy and the only way I could EVER enjoy it would be if I binged and then purged. But seeing as I was hospitalized and had to continue to sit with those feelings, and I felt so RAW (and I know as time goes on, I will LEARN to sit with those emotions and COPE with them in EFFECTIVE and HEALTHY ways—people must realize that eating disorders are so much more than simply weight loss, it’s a way of coping just as much as drugs and alcohol are).

Weigh in day progressed and turned into night and then the following and so on, and by yesterday I was feeling that it was just too much. I called my mother and informed her that I was going to discharge myself and then come home. I couldn’t take it. I felt so out of control, so fat, huge etc. I was so mad at God. I had prayed that He would help me on my journey, that He would make my weight gain slow down and give me peace. Prayed that He would give me peace during this whole journey; but it didn’t feel that way. And so here I was–here I am gaining weight so fast! My parents have told me, “Why does this upset you?! Shouldn’t you be happy?!” And of course I know I should be; but it’s not that simple. The disordered part of me doesn’t think that way. The disordered part compares myself to the other EDP patients, their bodies, how fast they gain weight, their meal plans etc. It’s messed up.

But…….I called my mother, who gave me a pretty frank pep talk and then I spent time with God. Praying, seeking, and just basking in the peace that He gives me. And I felt renewed.  I had read Isiah 40:29-31 which says:

“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint”.

Man this really hit home. Because there was nothing else at that moment that was uplifting me. No psychobabble, nor relaxation technique–nothing. But this verse–God’s word–brought me peace and still does. To me, God was saying–expressing that through trusting in Him and really doing so–I would and will find peace. I will find strength to continue to fight the voices of the eating disorder–to push and push and push. That no matter how much I feel like giving in–giving up, that I can always ask for help and continue to trust in God and He will make a way–He will strengthen me and renew my strength day after day. And so here I am writing this–feeling much better than I did that day. And no one says that I won’t have rough days. That I won’t hear the ED voice raging in it’s cage, wanting to come out. No one said it’d be all sunshine and rainbows, BUT as I continue to trust in God, I know that He will carry me through this journey.

I’m definitely dreading the next weigh in day–as my feet have swollen up really bad with fluid (edema because of laxative abuse) and I KNOW the scale will continue to show weight gain from water. But I must continue on–towards the goal, which is freedom–recovery. I must let go and let God take control. Because that’s my only sense of sanity right now–it’s all I have in getting through the initial early days of recovery.

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