ED has an ally. And he and his ally work against me. They tag team me. Just when I think I’ve pushed ED away and duct taped his mouth, his little ally sneaks in the back door and pulls the tape off. Then he grabs a megaphone and holds it up to ED’s mouth, right in my head. What I’ve learned to ignore from ED, his ally magnifies and blows out of proportion again. When ED knows I’ve shut him out, he uses his ally to let him back in. I walk 5 steps forward, away from ED, and ED uses his little puppet to drag me back four. I’m getting angry. This morning I banged my head against the shower wall and grabbed at my hair to try to pull ED back out of my head. And as for his ally – I asked Benj if I could get a hysterectomy.
I don’t think there’s a female that wouldn’t agree with me, but hear me on this: ED and my hormones play hard ball in my head and wreak absolute havoc on my recovery. Last week I felt freedom in my eating plan, I felt comfortable in my body, I felt empowered in my reasons for exercising. This past week, all gone. ED gave my hormones the reigns because he knew he had lost power over me, and because I can’t shut the door to my hormones, this little weapon of ED’s bowled me over. I have reached the point of dread over this week of each month. I haven’t had to fight hormones for a very long time. When I was on birth control, my cycle was normal, but after being off, I had a visit from my hormones maybe once every six months, if that. I’m out of practice in playing these mind and body games. And ED knows it. My hormones should feel very used and abused by ED because he uses them to suit his purposes. He used them to reassure me that I was properly underweight, and now he’s using them to undermine everything I’m overcoming in recovery. I don’t like being jerked around like this.
It’s a switch that goes off. Monday I met with my therapist and we had a great talk. My therapist is also my dietician. She weighs me each time we meet. I have no idea what I weigh, and that’s just fine with me for now. She simply tells me if I’ve gained a few pounds or lost a few, always making sure I know that I’m in my range, making sure that we both know my head is in the right place and that my weight isn’t ED’s power over me, that healthy remains my focus. But this time, probably without even realizing the difference in her words, she simply told me, “You are still in your range.” That probably wouldn’t seem any different to another, but what ED grabbed onto immediately is that she didn’t tell me if I’d gained a few or lost a few or stayed the same. The switch flipped. Last week, I don’t think this would have bothered me one bit, but this week, all I noticed was the absence of the “gained a few” or “lost a few”. My hormones used the megaphone to allow ED to scream at me.
“She didn’t want to tell you that you’ve gained a lot of weight and whatever the upper edge of her range for you is, you’ve reached it. So she can still say you’re in the range, but I bet she’s expanded your range just so she could make sure you were still in it without having to tell you that you’re getting fat.”
And so I believed him.
“You are gaining weight uncontrollably. Your tallies aren’t doing it for you. Start counting calories.”
And so I did.
“You better kick it in the butt with your exercise. You aren’t doing enough. If you just did a few extra minutes, you might fight off the fat your gaining.”
And so I had to second guess my reasons for exercising every day this week.
“You look ridiculous in all your clothes. Why did you think you looked good in your leggings? You have weird legs and frumpy hips. I’d be embarrassed if I were you.”
And so I started analyzing parts of my body in the mirror without admitting that I was analyzing body parts in the mirror.
I HATE ED! I hate him!
I hate him. He steals all my joy. I allow him to steal my joy just because his little gopher, my hormones, comes to visit each month. For goodness sake, they’re my hormones. How is he allowed to use my own body against me? This shouldn’t be allowed. I get my hormones because I’m healthy again. That should tell ED right there that he can’t use what measures my healthiness against me. He is the epitome of UN-healthy. Yet, here I sit, struggling to regain what I lost this past week. My hormones are gone, but the effects of them linger. Every month they linger. And I have to fight my way back to ED-freedom. When will this stop? I get so mad. I have to apologize to Benj, to my boys. I have to reach out to my friends and admit that I’m not doing so good right now. I hate having to admit that ED is back.
I feel like a fool saying that I let ED back after celebrating so many victories. Trust me, I do not lie in my blogs. I have never lied. So to have to write and admit that ED got back in because of my stupid hormones which ED hijacks to attack me, is very humiliating. But this is necessary. When I finally explained to Benj all of what I’ve just written, I literally felt ED slither a bit farther back into his hole. I had been isolating myself in my head with ED this week. I know this, but this morning clarified once again – ED isolates. All week he tried to keep me from fulling revealing my struggle. I did reach out to friends one day and asked to go out for lunch. I talked to my exercise partner about my fear in exercise again. I told Benj my hormonal thoughts were getting the better of me, but in all of these discussions, I didn’t truly admit the deep down fear that ED causes me. I am SO scared of regressing. So scared. You have no idea. Remember, I touched recovery three years ago. But I lost it. I let things slide one too many times and I went backwards. I don’t want to go backwards. I don’t want to lose this freedom. I don’t want be humiliated by going back to what I’ve been so open about since November.
I am scared.
But that fear itself touches on the power I’ve given ED this week. Fear blocks God. I’ve allowed my fear to override God’s promises, his faithfulness, his power, his grace. I don’t have the ability to kill ED. But God does. And when I focus on ED’s power instead of God’s, ED will win the battle every time. But praise God he has the war. God gave me hormones because I am a female. I need them. They are a part of the beauty of his created order. God isn’t going to let me go back, but that doesn’t mean I can sit in a corner and cower in fear from the what ifs. Perfect love drives out fear. God did not give me a spirit of timidity and fear, but one of power, love, and self-control (II Timothy 1:7). He’s got this. Hormones and all. Hormones will come back. A month from now they will come back, but if I live dreading that day every single month, I will not fully allow God’s power, love and self-control to invade my soul, my head, and my heart.
I was scared this morning. So I knew I had to write, to build my community, to admit my fear so that I could let it go. When I admit my struggles, I release the power they have over me. ED can’t isolate me in my fear if I don’t allow myself to be isolated and live in my head, alone and afraid. I put this out for the world to read so that I am free.
God has set me free. Once again.
I may forget this again. But every time I have to fight ED, I get stronger in the how. And the how is always God first and then the people he has put around me to hold me up. I am not alone in this fight. Because I refuse to be alone.
My hormones will come back, but eventually, they will come back without the megaphone to ED’s mouth. Because ED won’t be there anymore to serve. His alliance will have been broken. Hormones and me might just snuggle in my bed with a good book and hunker through. But know this like I know this: ED will have nothing to do with it. He’ll be gone. And his nasty little megaphone – it will be shattered into a million pieces on the floor.