This is the first time I have opened up about something that held me down for many years. I want to share my journey because it's something I've overcome. It is something I never thought I would get through in the moment, but finally by the grace of the good Lord, he helped me overcome it all.
When you are in a dark place, and you feel like there is no getting better, that is where you have to have faith and push through like you've never done before. When you feel like you are in a dark tunnel and can't see any light, you have to continue working your way through hoping and knowing in your heart that you will get better, and that you will make it to the other side. In the moment, it feels like there is no getting out. When you get through the hard circumstance in your life, you will look back and see all the freedom you've encountered and the growth you've endured.
Having an eating disorder wasn't easy, in fact it was one of the hardest battles I've overcome. In the moment, I didn't even think I had a problem when it came to the way I viewed my body, and the self-control I had when it came to food. I pictured someone with an eating disorder constantly going to the bathroom after every meal to throw up the food that they had just choked down. I didn't know the "different types" of eating disorders out there, and I had a very legalistic mindset when it came to that. I knew I had a problem, an inner demon that I was facing. I knew that I wanted to be set free in the way I was thinking about myself, but I just didn't know how to get there. I didn't know that I was struggling with an eating disorder.
I became obsessive with wanting to lose weight. I would try every diet I heard and read about. I worked out every day, sometimes even twice a day. I watched what I was eating and decided that rice cakes and tuna was the best low calorie diet. I had crazy self-control; I wouldn't eat a single carb or anything that had sugar in it. After awhile of doing that, my body lacked the nutrients that it needed. I started to crave foods, unhealthy and normal food that my body needed. When I "messed up" and ate something out of the ordinary, like a cookie, I would feel bad about it. I would then choke down 10 more cookies after the first one stuffing my face and feeling miserable. On a full tummy, I felt obligated to go work off all of the things I just ate. Sometimes, I even remember crying while pushing myself to run 5 miles.
Food was constantly on my mind. I dreamt of food, and thought about food as soon as I woke up. In my brain I was secretly counting calories, worrying about what I was going to eat for dinner, and how I could balance it all out after I had "messed up" during the day. I tried "diet pills" that would speed up my metabolism and make me less hungry. I was in this constant cycle, and wouldn't tell anyone about it. I hid it so well, but I was secretly hating myself underneath it all. I just wanted to be normal.
Finally, one night after eating pizza and cake at a party, I felt terrible. I felt that I had really truly messed up. I thought I was going to gain weight and become fat after all that. I was in a constant battle with my mind. I went into a private room away from everyone else and started crying. I cried so hard. I cried to my friend, telling her I needed help. We prayed together. She encouraged me. She pushed me forward.
Everyday was a battle, some days I felt like I was falling back in the same sinkhole. I had to remind myself that a little progress is better than no progress. I started to see myself differently, started to realize that I am worth it, and that I am going to get full freedom from this. I had to keep looking forward, hoping, praying, and pushing myself to eat normal things again. I ditched the "diet pills" and that was the strongest stronghold over my life. I didn't think I could go a day without them.
My life started to slowly go uphill. With God at the center, I was finally able to gain full freedom. I wouldn't be the person I am today if I didn't face the challenges that I had to work through. Pain isn't always a bad thing. It's only bad if you can't fully get through it and gain full freedom. I now look at my life and know that one day, I will be able to mentor girls who struggle with body image, and help push them forward in their true identity. God can take any broken thing in your life and turn it into something beautiful. Don't lose hope.