Ah..I am finally home sweet home after a long day of traveling to the NEDA conference in San Diego. It was a great, yet surreal experience as I tried to figure out where I fit in. I am feeling remarkably unsettled, and I can’t quite put my finger on the origin of this feeling vibrating through me. I suppose I was hoping to come home being magically transformed into being ok, enough, valuable, but I seem to have found more questions than answers. I have not been magically transformed and although my body continues to speak recovery, my mind is filled with the incessant chatter of the eating disorder.
The pain and torment of my nerve dysfunction seems to have brought my recovery to a halt; on a hill. I may even be sliding backwards as I un-pack my bags just to re-pack them to go out to San Francisco for further treatment on the nerve. I find my self wondering if this is what war criminals must feel like as they are being “water boarded?” Do they feel like I do? Are they so desperate that they would do anything to escape the torture even if it could means death and/or life in prison? In my case does it mean locking myself back into my own eating disordered prison because nourishing this body just to have it torment me seems as crazy as staying on the water board? Does it mean resorting to slicing my wounds into my own flesh for just a moment of pain that is only slightly greater than my torment. There is something oddly soothing as I watch the life giving blood trickle out of the small wounds knowing it too will fall short of nourishing my by body and maladaptive nerve.
There is something about the invasion of my body for the treatment that causes me to disassociate from myself. My mind slips out of my body and hovers over it, growing angrier and angrier with the body. I begin to lose sight of the fact that this body is mine and no matter how hard I try to leave it….I can’t. So, in the separation and anger it simply makes sense to harm it; forgetting that it is me. I continue to slip backwards as I treat myself with the same anger and contempt I was used to receiving from my mother. I am angry and wonder what I have done to deserve what I don’t deserve. I am angry with God, but still take this all to him for forgiveness and healing. Maybe this is what hope looks like?
God shows me an unusual image as I pray. I am standing small and child like in front of him. I am wearing a brown jumper,my hair hangs straight and I am holding a heart in my hand. He is very tall and billows softly from the earth appearing pure and white. He towers over me. I sense him bending down to protect me. He rolls out and covers me like a thick blanket of fog. He then whispers to me as a gentle breeze while I offer up to him the heart… my heart to him. “The spirit part of you Liz, that you allow separate from your body so you can hurt it: DON’T!! You gave me your heart, your spirit and mine are now one. Dissociate if you must but allow your spirit to come to me. It is at the spirit level that we meet”
I remember His words that I have placed in my heart. 1Corinthians 6:17 “But the person who is joined to The Lord is one with him in spirit.” (NLT) as well as 1Corinthians 4;21 “Which do you choose? Should I come with a rod to punish you, or should I come with love and a gentle spirit?” (NLT) I hear his words and feel his warmth as he whispers to me once again. “Let me be your gentle spirit! I am teaching you and refining you through the fires of your life. You really are the one beating yourself up, while I want to hold your hand and walk you through this. Yes, you will feel the heat, but won’t turn to ash. And, by the way, I know my child that you are so very angry with me, and that is okay. I am a pretty big guy. I can handle it.” He goes silent. But the comfort remains over me.
I make the heart breaking, yet inevitable decision that I will not be going to Belize this year. I feel sad, but unburdened at the same time. I sense that God has something different in store for me. I feel I need to focus on feeling well in spite of not being well. Belize will be there next year and even if I am still broken he will use me then as he has before. Sometimes it is reassuring that God continues to use me in my brokenness, other times it scares the shit out of me. Will he leave me here because it is more useful in his plans? Ugh!
I often leave my dietitians’ office feeling like I am a life wasted, or self absorbed despite the articles I give her about how debilitating and distracting the nerve dysfunction is for, not just me, but anyone that has it. All of us that suffer from this often find it hard to focus on mundane tasks because of the distraction of the symptoms, but she goes on sounding like my mother, “you aren’t the only one that has________(fill in the blank)everybody has something. True! I am grateful that my “something” has taught me that empathy, grace and mercy are what we all (not just those of us with this condition) need more than fixing. We all need, at times someone to just sit in the mud puddle getting dirty with us instead of trying to pull us out, wash us up and make us all pretty on the outside while we still have mud stuck in the unseen places.
The thought of having lived a life wasted haunts me like the Halloween decorations that seem to float untethered from the structures they float above around my village. The ghosts of my past and my on again off again relationship with the eating disorder are surrounding me and taunting me from the recesses of my mind. They hang above me waiting to spring out and scare me. I hear them shouting not “BOO,” but “wasted” over and over again “a life wasted!” The words begin to sting like the self inflicted wound on my hip. I know these are mere lies of Satan, but I can’t seem to halt the assault. Wasted sets up in my mind and invites shame along with her. I know that I am so much more than the eating disorder, and the nerve because where I am weak, he is strong. I find my self quietly humming “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so, little to ones to him belong, they are weak where he is strong. Yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so. I close my eyes blinking back tears, he doesn’t just love me he loves me to death.