Nothing has ever been more rewarding in my life than when I found an inner peace I’d never known or knew was possible to feel! I discovered true happiness, and was finally capable of loving another with all of my being and all of my heart. It was all because I had finally begun to love myself, completely, no matter what the number on the scale, no matter the differences between my body, and those of the ones on the covers of magazines. In putting the pain and bad experiences of my youth behind me, I had been set free, just like the title of my blog. I was truly “Caged No More!” I broke away from a miserable life of deep depression, self hatred, self harm, self destruction in the act of carrying out eating disordered behaviors, and feeling hopeless. I was fed up!
Both my health insurance and my mother’s checkbook helped pay for years of therapy, psychiatrist visits, and an Intensive Outpatient Group Therapy for people like myself who were struggling with an eating disorder. Our group was small, very intimate/close knit. Ages ranged from 16 to 47. I participated in Group for about 6 months. My mother really went the distance with the greatest determination to get her daughter well. So much, in fact, that she and my father suffered very much financially in paying for this Group therapy that did not accept any types of insurance. Mom even rented an apartment for she and I to stay at during the week because this group therapy, and the rest of my treatment team were all located in a larger city, 3 hours from home. We would go back home for most weekends and check on my dad, and our dog, Little Bit.
Though the time I spent in group was made up of some of the most difficult moments of my young life, looking back, I have so many awesome memories from the experience of it all. I will forever cherish them, so dear to my heart! In living in that apartment with only my mom and I, our bond was strengthened like never before. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I learned just how much she meant to me, our bond was stronger than ever, and the closer I got to being a healthy young woman, the more I was able to really take it all in, appreciating all of the sacrifices both my parents had made for me. My eyes slowly began to open. Not only did I participate in the group which was led by a few different therapists/psychologists, but also the director/head of the program. The woman behind it all was a certified Nutritionist, also qualified for individual therapy, specializing in eating disorders. My favorite part though was that she was a recovered Anorexic, so she was the real deal. Donna, was her name, and she’d really been there, right on the battlefield with ED. Because of her own personal experience with these disorders, she was really able to connect with all of her clients. Donna was a very kind soul, you could see it in her eyes. She was in her 60’s I think. I also really benefited so much from our private, individual sessions, in which we would do emotional and mental exercises I had never done before, such as using guided imagery, checking in with ourselves ‘in the now’ and meditation. I am eternally grateful for this remarkable woman.
Not long after I completed Group at around age 20, it was at 22 that I was completely free from it all. My relationship with God, our Creator was at its all time strongest. I found myself, I found inner peace, I was able to see the true beauty in all of myself, and no longer hit myself in problem areas. I stopped tearing everything out of my closet in rage…
Then after 7 years of all the Bulimia and pain…
I FOUND RECOVERY!!!
Recovery is a blessing like no other for all of us who have known the darkness of an eating disorder, how our disorders make our lives horrific beyond words, and all of the baggage that is shed in the process is more than liberating… Recovery is different for everyone. We all have our own unique, individual paths and stories of our journeys along the way. There is not just one way to get there. Your story may be different than mine, or similar. No matter what your journey looks like, we all go through the same struggles and pains that come with reaching that goal. We are stretched beyond our comfort zones and must face the truth, how we really feel, no longer using food as a drug or coping mechanism. I wanted to share my story with you as a personal testimony to let anyone who is very down and out and feeling hopeless know that…It is possible! It can be done!
Growing up I always heard people saying that life is short. As a teen I didn’t feel that way and wasn’t really able to grasp that concept. However, in my mid-twenties, things began to look different to me. I began to see the world with ‘new eyes’. At that point, having been through so much, experiencing so much pain, dramatic life events, and change, My perception turned around completely. At that point I had lost a couple loved ones in my family too. I think the older we get the more we see things for what they really are as with age comes wisdom, even if we might be very mature at a young age. In this awakening, I now try to tell all of the special people in my life just how much they are loved and appreciated. I try to remember to give thanks daily when I pray, and when I begin to experience any type of negative thoughts, or emotions, I do my best to counter them and get myself out of there. Life really is short, and its fleeting away in the moment. Feeling angry, sad, bitter, and hating on yourself, or any of that stuff is a waste of time. One day we will regret that if we let it continue. Its all in practicing the incorporating of healthy, and positive thoughts, and things into our lives.
I finally graduated Group and was ready to return to college. Praise God for that. Bulimia was destroying my life from the inside out, but Jesus had other plans.
Please don’t be a victim. There is too much out there for you to experience, far many more chances to take, new people to meet, new opportunities. Don’t sell yourself short. We all have a calling, a purpose. If you haven’t found yours yet, keep exploring, and don’t give up!