Nya is a long time friend, colleague, and passionate supporter. Nya is the main content creator and organizer for one of the most unique and inspiring spaces on the internet. Check out her story below:
Sometimes I get really excited about the food I eat. Sometimes, I eat too much of that food. Sometimes I eat things that have no nutritional value at all - like Reese's peanut butter cups. Sometimes I eat three mini ones and a regular sized one. And sometimes...after I do these things...guilt sets in. Then I get angry. How could I be so stupid and foolish and gluttonous? Wasteful and inconsiderate and evil? What is wrong with me? Then I want to throw up. Immediately. Cause if I get the stuff out of my body, then I won't feel bad about having eaten it. But in all my time battling an eating disorder, that was never my thing. So I don't throw up. I'm tempted, beyond what it seems I can bear, to shut up. Shut my mouth, shut my emotions, and not eat. To not eat and to not tell anyone I'm not eating. To punish myself silently and violently by depriving myself of what I need - because that's what I deserve. I've heartily earned that discipline. I mean geez, if I can't control anything else in my life, I should be able to control what I eat and when I eat. What kind of self-control can I have against the things of true, soulish evil if I can't even say 'no' to some food? Discipline. This will get things in order. This will fix me. Good, hearty punishment is what I need.
I believed this. And I followed this pattern for a long time. It got to the point where I didn't require a previous event - I simply had to wake up feeling bad and I would starve myself. For days. At my lowest, I did it for weeks, lost an ungodly amount of weight, and scared my mother half to death. I should have died. When I did it again (considered lapsing or relapsing; I've experienced both), I should have died then too. When I damaged my body, I felt this sick satisfaction mixed with a plea for help. My eating disorder peaked at a time where my perfectionism, depression, and anxiety crested as well. It was a volatile and almost lethal mix. But, as my good friend Scot Luman says, "The moment you look in the mirror and get honest about who you've become is the very moment that you begin to be someone else." This is so true. I'd looked in the mirror a few times, but I will never forget the time I looked honestly.
I had done something wrong, (and, surprise surprise, I don't even remember what it was) and I was so mad at myself. Fuming. And I felt this intense hatred - something I'd never felt before - towards myself. If I was in a frame of mind to do so, I could have seriously hurt or even killed myself - that's how angry and hateful I felt towards myself. I realized in that moment something was very very wrong. And I knew that it wasn't supposed to be that way. And, finally, I didn't WANT it to be that way. I took a slow, long, painful road to healing. And, yes, I'm still on it. Though it's been about eight years since my last lapse, I did have a scare recently. All those old feelings rushed back, seemingly out of no where. Now married, I've got an additional line of defense - and my husband was phenomenal though he didn't completely understand what was going on. We have a group of friends we are very close to and attend church with - one of the girls was available to help talk with me as she has similar experience. I finally - after a long haul of unlearning and relearning - believe that the badness I feel is not my soul identifier. I am so worthy of love because I was made from Love and to be loved. I find my identity in God - the One Who loves us out of all kind of sinful behaviors and destructive living...even eating disorders, obsessive perfectionism, over self-reliance, depression, anxiety, and anything else that's ravaged your soul.
Take heart. The road is not short, nor is it easy. It's worth it. Love will ask you to be honest in some of the most painful and seemingly unsafe ways. Do it. It's worth it. And, if you can, do what it took me years to give in to doing: Be kind to yourself. That means be gracious, loving, and forgiving. And allow others to do the same.
Join the conversation below. Share your story - maybe you are watching a loved one destroy themselves. Maybe you are seeking help for yourself. Maybe you are in the healing process. Maybe you just don't get it - any of it. Let's talk.
Every person has a story and I'd be honored to tell it! If you would like to be a part of this #TrueStories series I would love to set up an interview with you to hear your stories. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know you’re interested.