by Donna Gibbs
Each week, I work with individuals who have unintentionally become a slave to a raging eating disorder. Eating disorders are challenging monsters, and they make for hard counseling work. But I must say that it is also some of the most rewarding work that I do. Seeing the transition in a person who has almost lost their life then become someone who can speak life into the lives of others is a privilege I can hardly describe. I’m going to invite you to have a taste of that experience for just a moment. Below is a letter written by one who has barely escaped the horror of bulimia…written to another who has just discovered that they are a slave to this wretched disorder.
You don’t know me, but I know you. I know you very well. I know the pain you feel, the hurt you have and the depths of despair and darkness that surrounds you. You’re in a dark place, that’s driven by anger, anger at yourself. You’re angry you can’t control certain things in your life. Angry you don’t know all the answers. Angry you’re not where you want to be or where you think you should be or where you think other people want you to be. Angry because you think that you’re not good enough and you don’t want other people to know that you aren’t. There’s this voice telling you you’re not worth it, you’ll never be worth it, you don’t deserve worth the way you are. It tells you in order to have worth, success, acceptance, love and control, you have to do what it says. It hurts you. It forces you to hurt yourself. It makes you cry and purge and eat and purge and cry. It tells you this is the way to get what you truly want. Yeah, you suck now, but just keep listening to that voice and it will make all your wants and dreams come to life. It makes promise after promise. But you always seem to come up short. There’s always another goal to achieve, and you always think that’s the last goal. But it never is.
But what it doesn’t tell you is that it hates you. It hates you so much it convinces you to hate yourself. This voice doesn’t want you to succeed. It wants to kill and destroy everything you have ever held dear. It will take everything from you. Your family, friends, job, grades. Your happiness, excitement, wonder, curiosity, attention, time. It will thin your hair, destroy your teeth, and weaken your fingernails. It will strain your heart, destroy your esophagus, and wreak havoc on your digestive system. But ultimately, it will take your life. It won’t just physically kill you, it will emotionally and mentally destroy you first until you are just wanting to die. It will become all consuming. Until you eat, breathe, sleep bulimia. It will become the only thing you care about, the only thing on your mind. Nothing else will matter.
Every time you purge, you flush away so much more than food. You flush away your life. You flush away any chance at true happiness. Every time you purge you fall deeper and deeper into the lie. Into the black hole that is bulimia. This black hole will suck you in and utterly destroy you. There is no such thing as happiness in an eating disorder. Only death.
I’m writing to you, not to scare you, but to show you there is hope. You can stop. You can recover. I have been in the nasty clutches of bulimia for well over 8 years now. I have been at the bottom of the pit just wishing to die. I’ve been to a lot of therapy, doctors and inpatient once. But here I am. Alive. I’ve been down the road that you are headed, and I can tell you, from experience, it’s not a trail worth taking. It’s not glamorous, or cool, or trendy. It’s only dead ends, smoke, and fun house mirrors. If there was anything worth having or keeping in bulimia, I wouldn’t have wanted to recover. It’s taken so much from me. More than you’d ever want to hear about. Don’t let it take another minute away from you. Your life is precious. You are so strong, and brave. Eating disorders try to take people who are strong and beautiful, and make them believe they are weak and ugly. Don’t let it lie to you. Don’t let it take over your mind and life. Throw that negative voice out and retake the throne of your mind and be the queen that you truly are. You can have control of your own life without purging. I hope this letter helps you.
You are worth it. Just as you are.
If you are reading this, and relating to the belief system described above, the obsession with bulimia (or any other eating disorder), the thoughts of worthlessness…please let someone know. I know you have worked hard to keep this a secret, but you have become a slave to an unworthy master, and there is help for you. The promises of the eating disorder are empty, but there is a hope that is rich and full of life! Reach out today! I promise you, there is a way out of bulimia! We at Summit Wellness Centers stand with you – it’s your time to take back your life!
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