25 September 2010

Forgiveness, grace and anorexia

Tomorrow my husband will return home for good.
I have a lot to forgive. But perhaps not what people think.

My doctor says to me, "You left him first." This was very hard to take, particularly right after David left. I came home from class, his things gone and the house stripped bare of his artwork. I didn't need to read the note he left. The bareness echoing through our home told me what had happened.

Anorexia had driven him away.

Anorexia nervosa is a strange disease. It can kill you and the logical part of my mind understood that. But it is so seductive. There was just something about feeling empty, airy; bones protruding and stomach concave that just drew me in time and time again.

I was unable to give up anorexia. I was afraid to give up anorexia. I didn't know any longer who I was without the disease.

Anorexia also is a disease that fights back. The more I've tried to recover this month, knowing that was the only path to any kind of life and any attempt to salvage my marriage, the more I've eaten and the harder I've worked, anorexia has been at work, too. Insidious, sneaky; planting unwanted thoughts and fears into my brain.

It just doesn't get it. Anorexia isn't welcome here anymore.

It was only through the grace of God that I was able to eat when I was lonely and doubtful that I could either recover nor regain my former life. That life seemed so far gone . . . I really felt I had lost everything.

So why did I keep going?

Grace showered down on me, covering me in God's love and caring as I struggled to escape anorexia's grip. I prayed every day for release, to please this time allow me to escape. It really has felt like a prison sometimes.

God heard me and made it easier each day to nourish myself, to try and bring myself back to life.

With grace comes forgiveness. First I needed God's forgiveness for a slew of broken promises. Promises that I would stop abusing laxatives. Promises that I would stop starving myself. Promises that I wouldn't cut or do a multitude of things to degrade myself.

Promises broken. And yet God forgives me each and every day.

But I also must forgive myself. For too long I have blamed myself for developing anorexia. I have blamed myself for what my illness has done to my husband, family and friends, and I have since apologized to those who loved me.

But I left out one person. I haven't apologized to me for what anorexia has done.

I am sorry from the bottom of my heart for hurting myself, one of God's creations. I didn't deserve that kind of treatment, and I will try to treat myself better each and every day. For out of loving myself will I be able to give love to those around me.

As I sit here, my last evening without my husband at home, I think about forgiveness and grace. I forgave him a long time ago. For my doctor is right; I did leave him first. I left him for anorexia, shutting him and everything out until I didn't believe there was anything else. I do not blame him for leaving; in fact, it was probably the most loving act he could have done even though it hurt like hell for both of us.

It will take a long time to heal. I am only at the beginning of recovery. Anorexia continues to scream its lies at me; sometimes as just mere background noise, sometimes loud and obnoxious taunting about my newly gained pounds.

Anorexia whispers, You can be thin again. Thin Thin Thin ...

I was thin; I was skeletal. I am becoming slender and healthy. By no means am I overweight and that is one of the worst lies anorexia keeps throwing at me, as if it will make me return to it.

I won't.

As I told my doctor the other day, I had already decided I would either beat anorexia this year or kill myself. I don't want to live another year like this one. Plummeting weight and the all-pervasive wish to just die, die of anorexia because there felt like there was no hope of escape. I was smothering and I knew my body and soul couldn't take much more.

I will keep moving forward, toward life and laughter and my true love back with me again. The anxiety is sometimes so strong it feels as if it will consume me, and the call of anorexia is still seductive, but . . .

I will keep moving forward.

"Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; 'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far and Grace will lead me home." John Newton, "Amazing Grace" 1779


I Hate to Weight said...

this is the BEST news all around. i love how you are taking care of yourself and doing what you need to do.

I am thrilled that David is coming home. you two are meant to be together. i am praying for you both.


lifeafteranorexia said...

This post really touched me. There is much truth in what you have said. I'm glad to see you're really fighting this thing. I found out a long time ago that you have to put just as much time and effort into recovery as you did into being sick. It sounds like you are ready.

So glad things are working out between you and your husband. Good luck to you!

Nicole said...

Thank you for posting this, it was very inspiring to read. You are an incredible and strong woman, Angela, and I wish you the best of luck <3


Angela said...

I'm so happy that your husband is coming home. You are working so hard at recovery, and I'm inspired by your strength and determination. Sending hugs <3