- Sara Mann
So I think this past week or so I could win an award for feeling sorry for myself. I definitely was spending more time in whine mode (not to be confused with the much more preferred wine mode), fretting about my situation and keeping myself in a constant state of boo-hoo.
This always tends to happen when I’m waiting on test results. I have had a lot of testing over the past couple months and the anxiety it brings is pretty outrageous. I’m a “worst case scenario” type of person. When it comes to my recovery, I’m the forever pessimist. Sure, I have moments of hope and confidence, but when it comes to testing, I just can’t seem to beat the blues. I think it’s because I’ve been getting my veins pricked basically every other month since I started this whole treatment thing. If it’s not a prick, its a pee cup or pee paper or saliva swipe or even spit tube. Anorexia left me with a LOT of health problems and therefore testing, testing and more testing. Testing causes me to live in a lot of fear and anxiety. It also makes me hate my body, anorexia and this whole stupid, terrible, long process that I’m calling recovery!
To be REALLY honest, it leaves me sometimes wishing it would all just end. I will say things to myself like, “I can’t live like this,” or “I don’t want to keep living like this.” It can get really dark when you have been going through pain and suffering for three years and there still isn’t really an end in site. I sometimes feel like I’ll truly never recover and I feel like a failure because of what my body is doing and my complete lack of control over it.
On another note..Since I moved I have felt pretty isolated. We live in the boonies now and my husband travels at least half the week. Literally, it’s isolating. I can take my dog for a two mile walk and not see a single person!!
Isolation + Testing + Feeling bad for myself = NO BUENO!
SO, I decided I have to meet some friends! I MUST! It’s hard though! I feel insecure about my body, I just moved here so I don’t have a job to talk about. I don’t have children to connect with other woman over and I don’t feel well 75% of the time because of my health issues. It ain’t easy! BUT, I do go to church and love God, so I figured that’s a start!
We have been attending a church for a couple months now and they were having a woman’s kick off to their new study. I RSVP’d yes, figuring that when the day came I could just not go if I felt terrible. (come on, you know you have done it too…) I really don’t want to or like to be social when I’m swollen, but I also felt like I had no choice if I want to meet some people. The day of the kick off rolled around and pretty much every part of me was dreading going. I don’t have good clothes anymore, what if people don’t like me, what if I see someone I know and they see how much weight I’ve gained? Pretty much an anxiety nightmare. I also hate being asked how I am because, I mean, if I answer honestly it’s a bit of a downer!
Alas, I mustared up all of my good thoughts, positive vibes and inner courage I had and decided to put on a comfy outfit, put my butt in the car and go! I figured if people don’t like me, my outfit, or my body then they suck! BYEEEEE!
When I got there I would say I walked into my biggest nightmare….MINGLING. I am VERY introverted. People who are close to me might not believe it because with them I can be loud, opinionated and fun, but if I don’t know you, or am thrust into a room full of people I don’t know…it’s not good. I literally almost left, but figured I came this far, so I’ll stay. I felt like I was in middle school again, worried if people will like me and feeling WAY awkward. It was also a pizza party and since I’m gluten free (by testing, autoimmune issues and doctors orders) I didn’t feel like being “that” person so I made a bee-line for the back row of chairs, plopped down and searched for chapstick in the bottom of my purse for literally five minutes. Pathetic. I know! At least I didn’t leave!
Finally a woman talked to me. Thank GOD for extraverted people! In the middle of our conversation I all of a sudden hear a woman go, “SARA?! Is that you?!” All I could think of in my mind was S$%T, I’ve been spotted, I REALLY hope this person knows what’s going on with me…” Sure enough this woman did know what was going on with me. In fact, she was a person who wrote to me when I first entered treatment to tell me her own sister had passed away from an eating disorder. She was so nice and kind and sat and talked with me. She asked how I was doing and was empathetic and supportive and really excited that I had come to the kick off. She even said I looked beautiful, which was some I rarely hear anymore! Then she told me she wanted me to meet another woman she was friends with. She called this woman over, introduced us and then asked me if she could share my story with her. I gave her the go ahead and after she shared my story this other woman looked at me in awe and proceeded to tell me how she had lost her daughter, who was in her 30s, to anorexia and her name was SARA too. WHAT?! Look, I don’t always know why God leads me into situations, or gives me the strength to do things I feel insecure about doing, but wow, here I am, at a party, with only one person I know, and what are the odds I meet a woman, who’s daughter named Sara passed away, from exactly what I’m recovering from?! My heart hurt for this woman who had lost her daughter and at the same time I had a deep sense of understanding of how hard recovering from anorexia is and how I at times thought my life would end because of it too.
This woman asked me how I was doing it? The answer I’ll leave for another blog post, but honestly it’s by God’s grace and mercy as well as strength that comes from a place much deeper then myself. I just choose every day to recover. Sometimes every second. She also asked me how I was doing, and I shared with her that it’s been hard, the thoughts are overbearing and I hate my body and being overweight, but I’m hanging in there and praying that one day I will fully heal, recover and be successful. I kid you not, she looked me right in the eyes and said, “Sara, you didn’t die from anorexia, you are alive and THAT makes you a success.”
I’m telling you what, that really changed my perspective immediately. Here, I had been spending my time whining, worrying, anxious and bitter when instead I should be celebrating that I’m alive! Anorexia kills people. Seriously, it does. I could have and should have probably died from how bad mine was, but for some reason God saw it fit that I didn’t. He gave me the strength, support and courage to go after recovery and here I am, alive! Ya, I have a LOT of health problems and being fat in a culture of thin and keto B.S. is not for the faint of heart, but hey, I’m alive! I can walk, and talk, and hug my family and live!
I really needed that moment with this woman. She will never know how much her words encouraged me in my battle through recovery. She will never know that speaking about her story and her loss inspired me to keep on fighting. She reminded me of my worth and gave me renewed perspective on my situation. She was like a light at the end of a week of anxiety and darkness.
Although it is hard, and I have to make a conscious effort to do this, every time I get tired and want to wallow in how hard recovery is, I’m going to remind myself how good it is to be alive and that I AM a success, because anorexia didn’t win, I did.
- Sara -