March 14th, 2016
The past couple of days have been interesting, to say the least. Some things have been revealed that I didn’t anticipate would be, ever. I’m not sure what I was thinking in that regard… It’s rather striking actually, how someone with an eating disorder can be so smart in the way that they manipulate certain things to get what they want (most often, food, weight, or exercise-related), but be so not-smart as to think through the practicality of their plan. I’m very ashamed of the things that I confessed to my mom yesterday. They were lies that I was continuing to tell, even as I was going through the process of trying to recover. It wasn’t a planned confession, either. We were simply driving down 217, when my mom asked me a simple question. She wanted to see my meal plans. I knew in the back of my mind that this question would arise eventually, but had yet to figure out how I would handle it. It should have been a simple question requiring only a simple response. Yes, of course, would have been the appropriate one. But I hadn’t been being honest about my meal plans. There was a reason my mom wasn’t getting to see them, and it wasn’t because I wanted to “Have to have some self-accountability”, as I told her it was. She made it clear that that wasn’t a good enough reason, and when I continued to try and justify why I thought that was a good idea, she indicated that she was done talking about it. She didn’t poke or prod, like I anticipated, or say that she would be bringing it up with Brian in our next family therapy session. Yet, I felt so convicted at that moment. Why was I holding onto being deceitful about this one part of my eating disorder, when I was doing everything else in my power to work to overcome it? It didn’t make sense. I felt God’s presence telling me that this was the time. I had to come clean.
So, I blurted out, “MomIneedtotellyousomethingrightnowbutIreallydon’twantto.” The decision had been made, I knew there was no going back now.
“What?”, she asked.
“I need to tell you something.”
“You’re not going to like it. But I need to tell you.”
“I’ve been cutting ‘X’ calories off of my meal plan”, I mumbled.
“I’ve been cutting ‘X’ calories off my my meal plan”, I said, a bit louder this time. Still not loud enough, though, over the radio.
“What did you say?”, she asked, turning off the radio.
“I’ve been cutting ‘X’ calories off of my meal plan”, I said in a clear and confident voice, this time.
“Okay”, she responded, nodding, as though she finally understood.
We sat in silence for a minute, before I told her that I was so, so sorry. I went on to explain how it had happened, how I had initially been deceitful about what I was eating when I came back from Residential, and then once my exchanges began to get increased, I was already behind. I was caught in a cycle of lies, with no way out, unless I confessed to ALL of them. I was far too embarrassed and ashamed to do that, and besides, there was no reason to, as long as Mom wasn’t seeing my meal plans. I would make them at the program and have Diane check them off, and then follow them at home, minus the ‘X’ number of calories. But there WAS a reason to confess. My honesty. My integrity. My recovery. I didn’t realize how hostage I was being held by that last bit of deceit that I was continuing to engage in every single day.
“I’m scared to ask, because I don’t know if I can even trust your answer”, Mom said.
Ouch. That hurt, even though I completely understood. How could she trust me?
“What?”, I said, wanting to at least know what she was wondering.
“Well…is there anything else?”
I thought for a minute. I couldn’t think of anything, at first. And then, I could.
“Oh, yeah, there is.”
I’d already confessed to the group last week that I’d been water-loading before weigh-ins. Not significantly, but with at least 16 oz each time. But I hadn’t confessed that I’d been wearing clothing (my jeans, in particular) under my gown, as well.
As I told my mom these things, I felt a weight lifted off of me. No joke, I actually felt lighter. Isn’t it ironic, that by working SO HARD to keep my weight down, I end up being weighed down by the lies and the guilt that plague me every single day? Yet, when I’m in a healthy place, being honest and vulnerable about what and how I’m doing, though I may weigh two pounds more, I actually feel lighter…
Our time out (we were headed to the mall to run errands) ended up being very, very good. I’m not going to lie and say it was easy, or it wasn’t sad, or that I felt 100% glad that I had told my mom what I had. I realized what that meant. I felt the E.D. voice screaming at me, telling me how incredibly stupid I was, how I’d just blown it, how there was no chance I’d ever have at freedom now. But you know what? This IS freedom. Being honest, is freedom. My mom being able to trust me, is freedom. Not worrying every single day about how I would cut ‘X’ calories off of my meal plan but still make it look like enough to my mom, is freedom. Consumption by eating disorder thoughts and manipulations…that’s not freedom.
The hard part now, is that I’m going to have to tell my treatment team these things today. I’m going to need to get my meal plan adjusted, I’m going to start weighing in without clothing on, which may mean I need to gain another pound, and more than anything, I’m going to have to own that I was being dishonest, yet agin. Which will be very, very hard. The amount of shame I feel in this is hard to put into words. I definitely considered not including this in my blog. But, as I was scrolling through Pinterest last night, looking for some words of affirmation, I stumbled upon a quote that spoke to me.
“You’re only as sick as your secrets.” -Alcoholics Anonymous
The number of secrets I’ve kept in conjunction with this disorder have often felt insurmountable. But by claiming each one, I know I’m bringing myself closer and closer to healing. My hope, is that letting go of these last two pieces of the eating disorder that I was holding onto, will allow me to finally, truly, recover. I understand that it won’t be easy. I’m yet again, losing a crutch I was allowing to give me a sense of relief. But my hope, is that in being 100% vulnerable, I will finally feel a sense of freedom. That this “light-ness”, that I’m experiencing right now, will continue. And that I will continue to rely on the Holy Spirit to sustain me.
The less secrets I have, the less sick I am.
Moving forward, my meal plans will be visible for my mom. I’m leaving them on the island in the kitchen, and that will allow me to have 100% accountability. I’m also going to do them in pen, as opposed to pencil, because I know I will be temped to change them if they’re erasable. More accountability. Less secrets. More healing. Less sickness.
My mom made a really good point yesterday, as well. It’s hard to be living this life (engaged with the E.D.) when you’re walking with Jesus. I started a bible study with two girls this past week who are incredible role models for me. I call them my mentors, though they refuse to accept that title! 🙂 They drove up to Portland from Corvallis this weekend, and we met up for coffee and to discuss our readings yesterday. I’m walking closer with Jesus right now than I have been at any point over the past two years. And yesterday, after we did our bible study, was when my confession occurred. I would’ve never done that a year ago.
The power of the Holy Spirit.