I am airing my dirty laundry in public because I am tired of having secrets. This secret doesn't protect anyone, instead it only produces a 'safe' place for lies to build up. I'm tired of being afraid- that people are laughing at my jiggly butt as I walk away- that I'm never going to get a handle on this obsession with food- that my daughter will copy me and live a lifetime of this vicious cycle of starving, guilt, binging, guilt, and starving again. This present way of life is fruitless. Wanting to be a good role model for my daughter has changed everything. Overcoming something this big is not easy to do alone. Way back in April I was inspired by Jodie from Mommy Moment and her Mission Beautiful Post-it initiative. I took her challenges, encouragement, and advice to heart. I wrote about the beginning stages of my journey into Mission Beautiful. And here is how I have continued to change in the last five months.
Stop the broken record .
I used to punish myself with negative thoughts and mean words. Making a conscious effort to STOP this behaviour was just the beginning of change.
What do you you do when your normal way of life must be changed? I knew I needed to find a new thought pattern fast, to keep from falling back on the old ways of coping. The post-it challenge seemed silly at first, but it really made a difference in the end. Starting the day with a smile and a little self-love got easier over time.
No I didn't build a shrine to AMY in our home...but I did start to buy clothes that fit my post baby body. When my self-esteem is at it's lowest I tend to cover myself in ill-fitting clothes and could go six or more months without a hair cut or grooming. I have punished myself terribly for these last two years based on my disgust for the numbers on my digital scale. See I had only gained 30 pounds while pregnant, and the weight had dropped off within 4 weeks after birth and breast-feeding. 12 months of Depression meds and being home aided in packing on almost 50 pounds. Since April I have dropped 20 pounds, though I'm not entirely sure how, other than the fact that I am happier.
I have been fiercely independent my entire life. This has brought much frustration and tension to relationships with my friends and family. Frequently accused of being snobbish, cold, and distant- I am just the opposite- warm, friendly and kind to others. At times, terribly protective of my own warped way of coping, hiding an eating disorder, and afraid of not being accepted for who I really am on the inside. All these things are a way of punishing myself even more-by pushing away from people that care about me and want to give me what I need most-love and acceptance.
Forgive yourself and others.
Merriam Webster says this:
Definition of FORGIVE
1a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for
1b : to grant relief from payment of
2: to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : pardon
Definition of FORGIVING
1: willing or able to forgive2: allowing room for error or weakness
Last Spring I had a light bulb moment during a Young Adults Bible study at my church. The discussion was centered around forgiveness. I had a thought that illuminated my entire heart and mind. Forgiveness is not meant to only benefit your offenders and offer them a free pass to pardon. Forgiveness is about letting go of the hurts that have been inflicted against your person. That can be easier said then done. "Allowing room for error or weakness" in your own life and "ceasing to feel resentment against" your offenders will change your world.
Cedric Center for Eating Disorders (Vancouver, BC).
Directory for Eating Disorder Support Canadian Drug Rehab Site.
Eating Disorders. Article from Canadian Mental Health Association
*I am not a physician, this post is inspired by my own experiences and not meant to replace professional advice.
*Quotes extracted from Merriam Webster Online Dictionary (09/19/11).