I don't know how much you know about eating disorders... Let me give you three common terms: restrict (or "deny all"), binge (or "stuff it down"), and purge (or "get rid of it all, fast").
I began Living Waters because I knew that I had to deal with the sexual abuse I endured as a child. I also had a hunch that my problems with food had at least some roots in that painful past.
Theresa's words haunt me: "That's gotta come up and out." She has said it twice now--the only two times I have even mentioned the abuse during prayer. Yet every time she says those words I back down. How does something like that come up and out? Fear paralyzes me, and I go no further. I don't know how to live with that "up and out". And so I stuff it back down.
I wonder if Theresa realizes how much "up and out" sounds like purging to my ears. Thank God, I have never successfully purged. I've half-attempted to purge, but I've never carried through. But "deny all" and "stuff it down"--I am much more familiar with.
If it hadn't been for the diagnosis of anorexia, I would never have broached the topic of my childhood. I would have gone on denying-all for the rest of my life.
I find it interesting that the same morning I decided to stop restricting (Thursday, November 26, 2010), was the same day that, deep-down inside of myself, I knew I had to deal with the abuse. I had been denying it for so long, and it was slowly killing me.
But alas, this was also the same morning that binge eating entered my experience. What the heck?! I became a binge-eater with an anorexic brain (no wonder my body image has not yet recovered). So, I no longer "deny all," and yet I shift to "stuff it down." Again, How do I attempt to get rid of something that has become part of my identity?
I did tell my therapist that I wanted to deal with my past...but I didn't much pursue it past that. And now I am in Living Waters--and adventure I began October 2, 2012--almost two years later. And I am still stuffing it down.
Theresa's words: "That's gotta come up and out." She tugs on a string attached to something in my stomach. (The actual image I have is of a boneless chicken wing--spicy buffalo flavored, of course--attached to a string, and Theresa, or perhaps God, is pulling at it.) I feel like she is asking me to purge.
Shouldn't this be a blessing to an anorexic minded girl who has been binging?? Well there are two sides of the coin. Yes, it is then out of my system. But then you will have just seen what went in--and shame will over take me.
Let's think scientifically... throwing up is actually a protective reflex. Something foreign or threatening to the body is expelled before it does too much damage.
When asked to identify where I carry my shame, I identified my stomach (I have not figured out why yet). But if I am ashamed of sexual sin AGAINST my own body, then that is false guilt--it is foreign and threatening, and it must come out.
Theresa's words: "That's gotta come up and out." She tugs at the string. My gag reflex goes. But I stuff it down quick. And I stuff it with food.
Tonight I felt it. It felt true. Let it "come up and out", and I will no longer desire to binge. I will no longer need to stuff it all down.
But WHY??? Why, if I know the other side will be peaceful and well, do I still sit here and resist my gag reflex?
It's shame. I don't want people to see me puke. And I certainly don't want them to see that boneless chicken wing--or all the other food I piled on top of it.
It's fear. I've had that chicken wing in me so long. It's part of me...What will I feel like without it? Won't I feel empty?
I asked a friend of mine the other day: "What is preventing you from being that better person?" He responded with an "I don't know." But I know the answer: it is himself.
This time the tables are turned. Jesus asks me: "What is preventing you from being healed and whole?" I can't pretend not to know any more; the answer is me. I know what I have to do; and yet I stand at the edge without actually doing it.
I KNOW WHAT I HAVE TO DO. Jaime, just do it already! I have to let him do the purging. I have to let go and endure the fear and the shame.
Puking hurts. And it's pretty gross. But as long as I am responding to a natural, God-given reflex, I am going to feel a whole lot better afterward. And what has been killing me will finally be expelled from my body.
Jesus' words: "That's gotta come up and out." He tugs at the string. My gag reflex goes.....