Treading Water

Mark 6:31 “Then Jesus said, ‘let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest a while.’ He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.” (NLT)

Oh, how I craved a quiet place away from the chatter of the eating disorder. Even my quiet time with the Lord was starting to become hijacked by the clamor of the eating disorder, and Satan was all too willing to seduce me with the lies the eating disorder would have me believe.

As a woman in midlife with an eating disorder not being okay, simply isn’t okay. Subsequently I had become an expert at portraying “fine” because I had to be fine. I needed to be fine for my family. I carried the burden of hiding my illness so as not to trigger a young, at the time family member, struggling with her own issues. In portraying “fine” I misled myself, friends, family and even my therapist into believing this façade. The pressure to help her and protect her felt live heavy boots stomping on the thin ice of my own recovery My recovery began to develop delicate cracks, threatening to become fissure. How the hell could I fix her when I was once again breaking?

No one asked if I was breaking and I didn’t tell. I looked “fine.” I looked “recovered,” and here is the clincher…I acted recovered because I felt emotionally and spiritually recovered and I believed in the old school eating disorder protocol that once the psychological and spiritual wounds were healed, the food would follow. I waited and waited for my fear of food, my weight, and my insatiable need to exercise to fade away along with my persistent desire to fade away. It didn’t follow.

I needed a quiet place, a safe place where I could be taken care of because I was, once again, not doing a great job of taking care of myself. I wanted to escape to a place where I could fast, pray, and be okay with not being okay. I knew fasting from food would just further indulge the eating disorder, but I could seek God and fast from the people, places and triggers that beckoned me back in to, not fasting for God but fasting for control.

It has been six months since I checked out of my life and into an intensive outpatient treatment center, The Center for Balanced Living in Columbus Ohio. I truly believe that there our times in our lives we need to check out in order to revive ourselves, to allow God to breathe life into us because we have spent far too much time exhaling, and to little inhaling.

We barely subsist through our days on the tiny sips of air we inhale while treading water. The problem with treading water is it is exhausting. We need to make the choice to be satisfied with simply keeping our heads above the surface or face the distant shore and swim towards it.

There comes a point in recovery when honestly, swimming towards recovery becomes exhausting. Your are arms feel as heavy as you perceive your body to be and you lose your kick. It is at this point that you believe you can’t possibly take one more stroke, you stop and tread water, looking back and forth wondering if you are able to make it to the distant shore or turn back to the shore from whence you came. It is so tempting to swim back because we forget that objects in this mirror are actually further away than the appear.

As women we are so busy with taking care of other’s that we forget to stop, and float instead of exhausting ourselves treading water. So, stop, floalt take in a deep breath, and keep on  swimming toward the beachhead of recovery. We need to inhale deeply in order to move towards not only what we want, but what we need. I no longer desperately wanted recovery, my body was telling me I needed it.

#eatingdisorders #MiddleAgeEatingDisorders #recovery

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