From Darkness to Light / Part 3

Posted on July 30, 2011

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From Darkness to Light / Part 1

From Darkness to Light / Part 2

Anorexia is a very self-centered , selfish disease.

I cared about what I looked like, how I felt, and how everything in the world affected me. But, like every other problem that people deal with every day, once you know what you’re up against your choices change. I understand now that it’s all about perception and point of view. When I was suffering I was the center of my universe and I was somehow battling with myself to win something.

Now I know that HOW I was looking at what I was experiencing was all wrong. I thought the battle was inside of me. I couldn’t tell anyone about the self-destructive thoughts I had. That would expose me to the assumption that I wasn’t a happy person. I couldn’t admit to anyone that I felt compelled to keep things secret and hidden.

You call it what you want. I call it evil…evil that wanted me to lose … something … everything … you name it, it was all on the table and up for grabs. Evil that knew if it was truly and completely exposed to the light (in the form of information and intervention) it would lose its grip. But secrets in the form of ignorance were a huge part of the problem, too.

I didn’t know that brain chemistry really does change how a person sees themself and their world. I learned that it’s possible to see something in the mirror that is warped and distorted and have it appear normal and good.

There has to be an intervention of some sort. No amount of talking or therapy will help until after the weight is back past that person’s set point, or the weight that allows good, healthy brain function. I don’t know what that is or how to find it. A doctor would. But I do know what it feels like to cross that line.

So what can I say about it that will make a difference to anyone?

I would say, step back and take a good look at the war. I would say that there is a war between good and evil. I know because I’ve lived in both worlds.

Evil is dark, seeks power to control, manipulate and ultimately to destroy. It is cloaked in many appealing disguises and assumes very enticing voices with very convincing arguments. It wants to be your friend to entangle you and eliminate you.

Good deals with things in the light and encourages openness, honesty,camaraderie, love, support and compassion.

And ask yourself if you know what the battle is for?

Do you know WHAT you’re fighting?

It’s not you that you are fighting.

That’s confusing…and God is not the author of confusion.

Do you know what you’re fighting FOR?

You ought to know that you are fighting just for you to exist.  Do you know that  there is no one nor will there ever be another you? Do you understand that anything that encourages you not to be your best self is really trying to slowly destroy you? I’d say to start by telling yourself that God only creates beauty and intelligence. He knows we are all fighting to stay alive spiritually, emotionally, and sometimes physically. The light that emanates from Him is  a source of strength.

And to those who want to help someone with an eating disorder. Know that they want to be well.

It’s really not about that choice. Asking an anorectic to trust you and just eat is like telling someone that the only way home is to jump out of a plane  at 10,000 feet and then telling them that their parachute is defective and won’t open no matter what they do. But go ahead. Jump, people figuratively expect. What’s your problem? So stubborn!

Believe me there were times that death would’ve been a welcome alternative to the literal hell I was living in. But death is not what I wanted. Just relief from the constant barrage of negative thoughts and compulsive behaviors.

So find the third option for your loved one, or friend. Show them how you think they see their problem and give them a different angle from which to view it. Anorexia or any eating disorder is tricky because perceptions are already messed up. But that’s part of what you explain. All they’re seeing at the door of the plane is death. No matter what they do they’ll have no control and they’ll die. But their are other options. Hold someone’s hand who has a working parachute. Leave the battlefield. Identify your adversary.

For the anorectic the “other” option, or different way of seeing the problem can mean life or death. Understanding that it is not a battle to find willpower to fight  thoughts and behaviors, and be, in essence, their own therapist. It is a battle of their will to survive against evils battle to destroy.

Identify the weapons in their arsenal. Food is the only weapon at their disposal that will help them win back the control they need to shift success to their side of the battle. Food is not the enemy. But the adversary wants  to convince the anorectic that it is so that they’ll get confused on the battlefield and unknowingly surrender. And die. That’s the one and only goal of evil.

The person suffering with an eating disorder has to get their head wrapped around the fact that 99% of the war is outside of themselves. The other 1% is in their brain that will distort the truth until it’s healthy again. It has to be forced to temporarily sit on the sidelines.

They have to be told that they are wonderful, and that they are NOT the eating disorder!

Say it enough that they start to hear you.

Get their thoughts away from themselves and give them opportunities to serve.

Help them to become valuable to other people, or to nature, or to animals.

In essence, help them to discover who they are in the world and how they can uniquely participate in life.

Help them to find their passions in life and show how living those passions are meant to help them feel joy in their day to day life AND to bless others’ lives as well.

An eating disorder is a force to be reckoned with, out in the open, with at least one loving person  who is willing to somehow  see through the walls of the sufferer  and offer to be the one who,when everyone else gives up and walks away goes against the voice inside that keeps saying,

     “They’re free to choose.  It’s not my choice to make. There’s nothing I can do ’til they hit rock-bottom.”  

But instead uses every ounce of courage to help.

To stand by after the physical healing, to encourage the spiritual awakening that will be strong enough to withstand the lifelong, sometimes daily reminders that there are triggers that will threaten relapses.

To be a forever friend who shares his light until there is strength enough to stand alone and spread that light to one more soul who, seeing himself near the cliff, has no idea how to stop gravity from winning.

To come to terms that I have been given a body to take care of is huge. To understand that the battle to never let evil control it again takes frequent introspection…time out to see how I feel.

Can I feel the goodness around me? Is that what I see when I wake up in the morning and as I interact with friends and strangers?

Do I feel as forgiving of others’ shortcomings as I hope they are of mine?

Does my day, week, month, and year have a sense of purpose about it?

Am I flexible enough in my expectations of people and events that I don’t fall apart if things don’t turn out as expected? Or do I come unglued and feel unbalanced when I’m not in control?

These are just some of the questions whose answers reflect my spiritual state of mind.

I know now that exercise, being out in nature, listening to all kinds of uplifting music, being a friend, making a phone call to just say Hi, reading a good book, praying, hugging my loved ones, smiling, singing, and, yes, dancing, along with a million other little things are good for my spirit. And when I feel nurtured I take care of myself. And when I’m healthy I’m…well….I’m a spiritual being having a wonderful, exciting mortal experience!

As for me, I choose my battles because I’m free to do so. I choose to see evil for what it is and to walk away from it. I have found tremendous strength as I’ve learned about my weaknesses that are literally turned into strengths.  But it is more than that. It is knowing that I have the option of standing in the light, knowledge that emanates from God, and the warmth from that light that has healed me and has given me strength beyond my own. I know now that I don’t need to know everything, but I do need to know I’m loved and that I’m never alone. Even in my darkest moments there is light waiting for me at the other side of the door. A door that might seem too scary or difficult to open, but a door nonetheless.

Thanks to all my friends who stood with me in the darkness and opened the door for me and with me! I do believe in miracles.

Betsy Cross

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