I almost didn’t write a new post this week. My blog feels the farthest thing from my mind right now. Between getting all my curriculum online for my high school Spanish students to teaching my four boys here at home, life feels bizarre and uncertain and muddled. My emotions and my thoughts can’t seem to find a safe place to land.
But then I realized, if I feel that way, I’m sure many others do too. And if you are fighting the lies of your eating disorder in the midst of this pandemic, I’m guessing it’s hard to keep your head up and your emotions in check. Life is hard on many fronts.
This is no time to pull away from each other. This is the time to pull together, even when we can’t be together. If ever there was an oxymoron . . .
Choices Taken Away During COVID19
One lesson I am learning on a day to day basis, sometimes minute by minute, is that I cannot hold on to my normal routine. I can’t hold on to what I thought was a constant because right now, nothing feels constant. I can’t pretend I’m in control of my life.
This whole COVID19 hit home the hardest for me on Tuesday when Snap Fitness had to shut down. I know that sounds silly and maybe a little shallow, but that was the moment I had a panic attack. That’s when choice taken away because of COVID19 hit me where it hurt.
My time at Snap each morning is my personal stress relief time. It’s the time when I can be in my own space, doing my own thing, pushing my own body, not pulled in different directions by home, family, school, responsibilities. I go, I sweat, I do my thing, and I return home ready for the day.
And when COVID19 took that away from me, I felt like my world was closing in on me. I felt denied my rights as a human being to make my own choices. That feeling sucks. I’ve only ever felt that way once before in my life and that was the day I entered treatment for my eating disorder.
Choices Taken Away in Treatment
I don’t see into this COVID19 future, how choice taken away because of COVID19 will impact normal life to come, but I can look back on November 7, 2016 when I became an eating disorder patient. And I see how choice taken away at that moment became my saving grace. November 7, 2016 was the worst day of my life because I felt reduced to being a 39 year old child who couldn’t even go to the bathroom by herself or have a glass of water without asking permission. I felt trapped.
But then I woke up on November 8, and then on November 9, then 10 . . . and living moment by moment, without the ability to rely on my normal routine, my normal life, my normal choices, became my greatest joy. Being forced out of my life forced me to rely fully on God. I have believed in God my whole life, loved him my whole life, but not until those days did I understand to my soul’s depths what dependence on him meant.
It meant joy. It meant letting go of my own agenda and accepting that I had to give up control in order to understand the life I had been missing out on because of my ED. I needed to rely on people who knew better than me what needed to happen in order for me to get better and stay safe. My actions in treatment were for my own good, and they were for the good of the others who were there to heal as well. If I didn’t follow the rules, I could have hurt the others who had triggers I didn’t know about. My actions in recovery could become a testimony to what following the rules, trusting the professionals, walking the line, and fighting for healing could do.
I walked out in 16 days ready to fight in my own community and space. I earned my freedom because I had submitted to the rules put in place for all of us so that we could each find recovery as we needed it.
Why Choices Need to be Taken Away Sometimes
And now I’ve made the connections for myself right here and right now. I hate what choice taken away because of COVID19 is doing to my normal life, but I need to trust that by following the rules of those in authority, we will all step out of this pandemic healthy and given back the choices to live our lives again.
I am a selfish, spoiled human being. I want what I want when I want it. And when I can’t have it, I pout and panic.
I didn’t like being forced into treatment, but I came out in joy, dependence on God, and finding freedom from my eating disorder. I don’t like being forced to socially distance myself and give up my normal daily routine because of COVID19, but I will live knowing God is doing something above and beyond what I see. He’s teaching me something. He’s using this time for a purpose we don’t see or understand. He’s creating new awareness in my soul of my need for him.
And maybe if that’s the only lesson I learn – my need for him – than that’s enough.
God is enough. He was enough for me in my eating disorder, to spur me into dedicated action, and he’s enough for COVID19. I will trust and live self-aware. I need to be okay with giving up some of the choices I normally get to make. I don’t need Snap Fitness to center my life. I need to give that job fully over to God.