Stress. What an interesting creature, right?
It can cause lack of sleep, it can cause zits, it can cause ulcers, it can cause a crazy desire to clean. For me, it can cause a roller coaster relationship with food.
I shared my first battle with an eating disorder in Body Talk part II. I never imagined I would walk down that road again. I thought I was all fixed up. Then came stress unlike any stress I had gone through. I went through a dramatic relationship & work crisis in my mid 20’s. I was dealing with it through the best means I knew how…professional counseling, prayer, friends, and family. What I wasn’t fully aware of was how the stress was affecting my relationship with food. I wasn’t paying attention to the fact that I simply wasn’t eating. I can, with 100 percent confidence, tell you it was not intentional. I wasn’t feeling fat, I wasn’t feeling unattractive, I wasn’t needing to lose weight but I can say I was going through so many wild emotions and stressors that I simply wasn’t feeling any desire to eat.
While I couldn’t see what was happening, others were seeing it. Because they knew my history and story, it was a red flag. While I wasn’t concerned, the world around me was. My job actually asked me to put myself into treatment. The word shocked is an understatement to how I was feeling! My job depended on it.
What was I to do? I knew this road. I was not on the same road I was on before, but I had no choice. I found a local PH.D. level psychotherapist who was willing to see me. As she heard my story and what I was going through, she looked at me and said
“You don’t have an eating disorder; you have an anorexic life.”
It was statement I will never forget. It took a lot for me to even take it in and evaluate, but she was right.
I had worked so hard to live such a perfect life that it was beginning to eat me. The life inside me was beginning to wither away because of how hard I worked to fulfill other peoples’ expectations of who I should be rather than just being myself. I spent three months growing, learning, and pushing myself to be different …to be real.
The whys and hows of all this were gut-wrenchingly painful. But, I have also never understood God’s love and grace for us more clearly.
“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:18-20
I am thankful, beyond ways to measure, for His love.
* Can I ask you a favor? Will you share your story with me? Your relationship with food story. Or can you let me know how I can best continue this series for you? You can do it in the comments or you can do it through email. You can be anonymous if you need. I will most certainly ask you before I use anything you write. I have been blown away by some of the stories I have heard already and how food affects our lives. Thank you for your thoughts, comments, and encouragement so far.