I don’t really know what I need to write. But I know I’m at a point when my brain is at capacity, like an elevator crammed with people. There is no turning to the right or left or back. Stand forward and hold your breath, praying that when the door opens on the next floor, no one new needs to get on. That is my brain. I can’t move one thought to the right or left without bumping into another. I can’t reorganize to make each thought comfortable in its own space anymore. That is the feeling I know – the feeling that tells me I need to pour those thoughts out onto my paper so that they can straighten wrinkles and readjust creases and I can be at peace once again.
Thought #1: ED sucks and I hate him. I will always hate him. I hate that he tried to ruin my weekend away with my family by whispering those lies back into my head. I hate that I let him in. I hate that my husband told me that this is the first time in a long time that he saw panic in my eyes. I hate that I have to fight ED’s voice in my head while I’m trying my very hardest to focus on my boys and the fun that they are having.
I hate ED’s voice: You’re eating too much. You’ve gained weight since Christmas. She’s skinnier than you. You don’t look good in your new clothes. What made you think that was a good choice to wear today. You shouldn’t eat that. You shouldn’t wear that. That mirror isn’t lying. You really do look that way. You should have exercised this morning. Don’t play with your boys. You should be swimming laps instead of sitting in the kiddie pool with them. You better talk them into swimming longer so you can burn more calories. I can’t believe you just ate that. You are worthless.
That is what it is like to know ED. That is the barrage that I hear in my head constantly. I hate fighting that voice while I’m trying desperately to find joy in the moment. It makes me so tired, and I just want to shut it off. I just want ED off. I want him to go away.
Thought #2: God must always be my first line of defense. ED’s voice started again a few days ago. He had been quiet for so long. Did I become over-confident? Did I miss a trigger? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I didn’t talk to God about it soon enough. Not until this morning, on the way to the Mall of America from our hotel did it occur to me to call in reinforcements. I texted my prayer warriors, some of those who have known ED in me the longest, and I asked them to pray. And they did. I knew it the minute they did. The emotion of being able to let go of the fight on my own brought me to tears. I felt the relief like when my mom used to take care of me when I was sick. I knew I was in dear hands. I let go of the weight of ED and allowed them to put me into God’s. I will be honest that ED didn’t disappear completely, but I didn’t have to try to interact with my family with his constant harassment in my head. God only needed me to ask and he moved in with all his ammunition. ED doesn’t stand a chance when God is on my side of the door. I waited too long to let God in through the window, allowing myself to get tired trying to hold the door shut to ED on my own.
Thought #3: Balance is so hard to find. Where is that line between being over-confident that I’m beating ED and living in fear of hearing ED’s voice. I don’t want either of those because both choices steal my joy. I will admit that today I was afraid of ED. I started counting calories again. I started second guessing my tallies. I started hating the shape of my body. I started depending on exercise and any form of movement to burn calories. I started comparing to every woman around me. I started isolating myself from my family because of my preoccupation with ED. I’m going to go back to Thought #1 again: ED sucks and I hate him. Now I’m going straight back to Thought #2: God must always be my first line of defense. I can’t be scared of ED. He can’t have that kind of power. I let him have that power, and I’ve lost control of every tool and weapon I’ve learned to fight ED off. But I can’t disregard ED either. I do that and he can slip through the back door while I’m sleeping on the couch in the front room. And then he can slither into every dark corner of my heart and start whispering darkness where light took hold. I repeat Thought #3: Balance is hard to find. I’m not sure I’ve found it yet. I do know peace from ED. I’ve had it. I still have it; I know I do. It’s a matter of not losing ground, holding my place, calling in reinforcements when I know I can’t do it alone. Balance is not an allusive state. I’m not a gymnast, but I’m pretty sure they practice darn hard at that balance beam. Today was a very tough day of practice.
Thought #4: Tough work yields results. Like that gymnast who has a coach giving pointers and sharing expertise and fixing mistakes, I have my Coach walking beside me doing the same. God and I worked hard today, with my support crew right in the pit. We all got blisters today, but when those blisters pop, callouses will form. Fighting ED is tough. All of you know this by now. I’ve made this a group effort, a team training, a committee on a mission. Tough work means digging in with a plan of action and enough people to get it done. I want an army. I’m not afraid to ask; I’m not ashamed to ask; I’m no longer shy to ask. When I hide, I’ve already given ED the upper hand. I’d rather do the hard work together than hide in a corner alone.
Thought #5: Fighting ED is worth it. I love the freedom of my tallies, the freedom of time I don’t have to exercise, the freedom of building relationships, the freedom of loving my husband and boys without ED warping my mind. But more than anything, I love peace knowing God has this. I am 100% sure that God has this. I am holding on to that truth with both hands clenched tight. Today, I don’t think I let that peace start slipping away. I don’t think that’s what this day was. This day was ED kicking back against the successful battle we have all been fighting against him. He thought he could get me alone, away from my own house, my own food, my own routine, with just the clothes I had packed, and he thought he could slither back in.
Thought #6: Well, ED, you were wrong. You were wrong because #1: You suck, #2: God is my defender, #3: You just moved me closer to that equilibrium I need, #4: I’m willing to work hard and use all my reinforcements to kill you, and #5: I have more reasons to kill you than I ever, ever needed to keep you.
I started writing this blog not knowing what I needed to straighten out in my head. I’m ending with the clarification I needed. I’m sitting in a dark hotel room with 5 of the most precious people I have in my life snoring quietly beside me, my eyes barely able to stay open, my body screaming for sleep. But I needed this first. I needed to extract my thoughts and once again, like always, writing has put my world back into focus. I’ve taken out my jumbled thoughts and have clarity left.
God is good. ED is not. I am running my race, eyes once again locked not on that which entangles, but locked on the One calling me home. And I am surrounded by each person reading this blog, acting as my cloud of witnesses. We need each other. Now is my time to need my cloud. Tomorrow, someone may call on me. Without realizing it, dumb ED, you are equipping me to be the pit crew for another. You attach me, revealing to me more of your manipulating moves, and I share them with someone else so they can counter attack you tomorrow in the form of their ED. Holy cow, I just found the thought that was smashed in the back of my elevator, just waiting to get out:
ED, you are killing yourself! You mess with one in God’s army – you mess with us all! Bam!
Now I can sleep.