Stories of Recovery
MY JOURNEY TO FREEDOM
By Laurie Glass
After years of struggling with my health, after years of giving and giving to others, and after several changes of direction in my life, I was spent on all levels. I then lost some things that were very important to me. As I began to grieve, I reached out for support from those around me. My pleas were met with silence, and I sank into depression.
I’d worked so hard, and I’d always tried to do the right thing. Yet things fell apart beyond my control when I was in my 30’s, and I didn’t know how to start over yet again. I tried to look into the future, but it was blank. I looked inside, and I didn’t know who I was anymore. I also became angry with God for the way my life was turning out and distanced myself from Him.
I consciously began to restrict my food intake in an attempt to control at least one area of my life. I knew this was an anorexic behavior, but I reasoned I would do it temporarily just to get through a difficult time. But it didn’t take long before anorexia was controlling me. I took diet pills, and my doctor threatened to hospitalize me to get me off them. Although it was hard to do, I went off them on my own according to his instructions.
While grieving over losses, healing from hurts, questioning my life and purpose and so on, I was overwhelmed with my emotions as well as afraid to allow them to surface. I thought I would lose complete control. As it was, there were times I really should have been hospitalized. I was depressed and suicidal. In fact, in my mind, anorexia was a slow form of suicide. I went through some emotionally scary times. In time, I had to let some feelings surface, and I spent countless hours in tears writing in my journal. It was an emotionally excruciating time.
God pursued me and after some candid talks with Him, we became close again. It was wonderful having my Best Friend back. I learned how patient, forgiving and gracious He was, and I will always treasure that time in my life when He drew me back to Him.
I went through another job change and bought a small home. It was great to be settled in, but I still had underlying issues to work through.
I did well with my eating early on, but then I relapsed for a long time. I went on and off the diet pills several more times. At that point, my goal wasn’t to lose more and more weight, but I couldn’t accept the last bit of weight gain. So I got caught up in a gain-lose cycle. There were times I thought about trying to fight anorexia again, but I couldn’t think of a reason to try. Besides, I didn’t want to go to all of that hard work only to relapse again. On the other hand, I couldn’t take the ups and downs anymore, and I was getting sicker. So I decided to fight one more time. I was finally willing to see a dietitian and obtained a meal plan.
By this point, I’d worked through most of the underlying issues – the grieving, allowing my emotions to surface, journaling through tons of thoughts and feelings about God, relationships, the direction of my life and so on. I wrote verses, inspirational quotes and truthful statements on note cards. This was effective in changing my thoughts about myself and in alleviating my doubts that I would break free of the eating disorder. After living with anorexia for going on six years, I fought it harder than ever. But I didn’t fight on my own. I leaned on God in a way I never had before. During those final months, I ate better, felt better about my life, had hope of breaking free of the eating disorder, and I didn’t look back. It was 2003, and after doing so much of the hard work of recovery, I knew I was very close to breaking free. Then on a day I call Freedom Sunday, God spoke to me in a very profound way and freed me of anorexia! It was an amazing experience!
Now I’m a new person who takes care of herself, is content with her life, laughs every day, has healthier coping skills and relationships, possesses a renewed hope, keeps healthy boundaries in this vulnerable area of her life, and is ever so grateful that God didn’t give up on her.
Now it’s my passion to reach out to those with eating disorders which I do through my writing as well as through my website, Freedom From Eating Disorders. www.freedomfromed.com There I offer encouragement and support as well as practical recovery helps. I want others to enjoy the same freedom I now embrace.