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Eating Disorders: Having Compassion in the Darkness

I am supposed to be cleaning right now. Which may be why I’ve chosen now to blog. Possibly. 

I only blog when I’m supposed to. I’ve tried to write when a topic feels cool, or I have something to say…but it’s like running through goo, I get nowhere very slowly. Each paragraph is painful to complete. Which is why I’ve not really blogged in a while. 

There is a common topic on this blog site that I am quite passionate about. It’s the topic that began this site: eating disorders. It’s one of those highly misunderstood, and overused words. People joke about it. There’s quite a stigma about it. And it’s only categorized for only the sickly thin. 

  • Eating disorders are not a joke. They’re a very serious illness that far too many people suffer from. 
  • It is not something that can just be stopped. Not without help. And if left untreated, it can lead to serious complications and/or death. 
  • It is not just for the thin. In fact, it’s the ones that are not sickly thin that are of  the most dangerous cases, because they’re most often overlooked and untreated. 
  • Those who suffer from an eating disorder are generally looked at as attention seekers, and so often become an annoyance to those closest to them. Please hear me out: they do want attention. This is true. And it can get annoying. Also true. But, from my own personal experience, they live daily in a constant dark world, where only negativity is screaming within their own minds. Do not give up on them. No one is too far gone. There is hope and help for anyone. Even when you want to roll your eyes and slap them upside the head (because that’s what I want to do to the past me), continue loving them. (Not enabling, but loving). 

I sometimes forget the darkness that comes with suffering from an eating disorder. And I honestly do want to forget it. That girl is not me anymore. But to forget something so powerful, I would become less aware and sympathetic to others struggling. And if those years of my life were for nothing else but to be the one single compassionate person in someone’s life, then the battle wasn’t a useless journey. 

I spent so many years, seeking attention, wanting so badly for people to see how hurt I was internally reflected outwardly. I wanted someone to acknowledge my pain and suffering…not from the eating disorder, but from the cards life dealt me. I wanted to be noticed, when I felt invisible and forgotten. Every hunger pain was a scream; a scream for help. But the problem was, for many years, I didn’t actually want help from the eating disorder. I just wanted sympathy. I wanted compassion. I wanted someone to fight for me. I wanted to be shown that I was worth fighting for. 

And boy did I test that. When I went in for treatment…I nearly got kicked out after months of apathy. But…they never stopped. Never stopped caring. For a long while there were people dragging my butt. Until one day they sat me down and told me, “we can only fight with you. We can’t fight for you. It’s your battle, and we can not win it for you.”

And that’s when it hit me. There is no magic wand. There is no simple solution. The only way for a life of color and blessing is to FIGHT. Not fight against, pushing people away…but fight with the people beside helping and encouraging and cheering me to life. 

The years spent in the darkness of an eating disorder were years wasted. I didn’t gain anything out of those years of life. But from that experience, I have the opportunity to educate and encourage. I am not ashamed of where I’ve been. I am blessed. Blessed to have made it out. 

I periodically flip through old photos, and I’m amazed. Not amazed at my size, but the lifelessness in my eyes. How the smile is there, but the joy is not. And I think that’s what I’m most thankful for now. There is joy behind my smiles now, regardless of my size. I smile because I have a reason. I have life. And I’ll always fight to choose it. Every day. Despite what I sometimes hear in my mind as I pass a mirror. I am strong. I came close to death, and God gave me a second breath to choose life, and I did. 

If you, or someone you know is battling an eating disorder…do not think it will just go away. It doesn’t. It’s a mold that will continue to spread. Reach out. Get help. Get educated on the subject. Talk to someone who has been there. Talk to a counselor or pastor. Stay a good friend. Don’t give up. Don’t roll your eyes and slap them upside the head like envisioned. Be an ear. And be ready to repeat yourself many, many, many times. Because we need constant reassurance. And just love. Unconditionally. 

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