This is me: beautifully broken and loved

In order for anyone to truly know me, I must break the silence. I have longed for months to write about this part of my life, but never quite knew how. So, I am just gonna throw this out there and see what happens (It’s long so bear with me).

I am a recovering anorexic. Let me guess, you had no idea. It’s okay, not many people did. From the outside, my life seemed “perfect.” As a child raised in a tumultuous home where substance abuse was a daily thing, achievement and perfection were my coping mechanism. I have always been a type A person and I always found an astounding comfort in the things I was in control of.

When I say my life looked perfect, I mean that what everyone saw was a straight A student, a musically gifted person, and a star athlete. In reality, I became so obsessed with making A’s, perfecting instruments, and achieving PRs that I became empty and emotionless. The only thing I focused on was my performance.

Growing up, I depended on other people to make me feel good about myself. I desired to hear the words “You look great!” or “Have you lost weight? You go girl!” Taking care of my body became my passion. I thrived off of those comments. Eventually, extreme dieting and compulsive exercise consumed my life. I had gone from passionately caring for my body to passionately destroying it in a matter of months and, by the time I turned 16, I had found myself in the hell that is anorexia. The problem was, when I finally realized there was a problem, it was much too late. I began to fight, lie, and cheat to hold on to the one thing that had given me support.

I violently and uncontrollably spiraled out of control until I was unable to conceal it.I began fainting at school, at church, and at home. I was freakishly cold 100% of the time and nothing could keep me warm. My hair thinned and broke with every stroke of the brush and I was constantly tired. I viewed food as a necessary evil. My body was starting to become so robbed of fat that it was about to began eating itself for energy.

Unfortunately, my family was deeper in denial about this than I was. My youth pastor’s wife was the one who stepped up, not my mom. She rushed me to the hospital one night after I passed out while leading worship. I was there until my body absorbed enough nutrients for me to function. They attached wires to my chest that I had to wear for a month and handed me two brochures: One for a little place called Tapestry (a residential treatment center in Brevard, NC) and one for a local outpatient treatment center. I decided that as long as I didn’t have to be locked away in the middle of nowhere, I would go to outpatient treatment (I realize now that that little place in the middle of nowhere probably wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be in my head).

I spent about 9 months in outpatient treatment and, let me tell you, it was miserable. There were so many times I wanted to quit. My parents didn’t support me. They thought I was faking it and just wanted attention (how do you fake something like this?). Not having their support was harder than anything, but through that I learned that God is all I need. I lost my friends, I lost my straight A’s, I lost my spot on the track team, and I had lost my family. I had completely forgotten about God in all of this mess, but He soon became my everything. He is all we need and I will forever find my identity in Him alone- not in the number on the scale, or the calories I’ve eaten that day. Not even in the approval of others.

Disordered thoughts about eating and exercise will always be something I wrestle with, because recovery is a daily, an hourly, even a second-by-second thing. My parents still don’t support me and an eating disorder took the life of my only recovery sister, but you know what? That’s okay, because I have Jesus.

A lot of times (actually every time) when I tell someone about the battle I am fighting, they say something along the lines of “I am so sorry you went through that.” Guess what? I’m not. Not at all. Jesus broke me and took everything away from me in order that He may recreate me and teach me that He is my everything and that He loves me and I am enough in His eyes.

There is nothing left to prove and nothing left to perfect. I am who I am in Christ and that’s enough.

Rachel

In loving memory of Kate aka K-bell, Katerade, Katiebug, and KitKat

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