Thursday, March 31, 2011

Voices in My Head-Part I

I'm sitting here thinking about getting older. I have been thinking about that a lot, because today I am officially one year older. I am 36 years old which I know isn't old at all; but, for me even getting to this point has been a journey. I spent my teenage years wishing to be older, and when I hit my 20's, I spent those years wishing to be younger. Not younger necessarily in age, but in looks. I dreaded looking older. I had my last child by the age of 27 and to be honest, I took pride in the fact that I didn't really look like I had given birth to 3 kids in 3 years. And it wasn't so I could look better than "so and so". It was to quiet the awful voices in my head. If I could look thin, have a certain type of body, then maybe those voices wouldn't taunt me so much-but they still did. They were my constant companions. I carried them with me for a long time.


As a teenager, I was anorexic. Anorexia is a monster of a disease. It robs so much of you and your life. Yet, even though it was a monster, a lot of me found comfort in it. Sometimes I would look at others and feel sorry for them, that they weren't as disciplined as myself. And the voices were there ALL THE TIME-voices that would pick apart my body and looks until there was nothing left. Voices that caused me to stand in front of the mirror, naked, pulling at parts of my skin in pure disgust.


I overcame anorexia-sort of. The reason I say sort of is, because I still carried around the voices that come with this disease. I was eating and was a good weight, but if you could hear the voices, you would know. When I got into counseling about 3 years ago, I was diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder. It all began to make sense. I still hated my body, the way it looked, everything about it. I just didn't deal with it through not eating at all. I dealt with it through self-hatred, exercise, pride that I was thin and still weighed the same as high school, and pride that I didn't have what I call the mom pooch. I dealt with it through becoming obsessed with eating healthy. I was thin, but not anorexic thin. I was still within the normal weight range for someone my height, although definitely on the lowest end. Some people even told me that I was too thin. Part of me hated that and part of me clung to it. I felt disciplined and like I was taking care of myself. It became a mental game with me. How disciplined could I be? How thin could I be without being too thin? How healthy could I eat? This is what it had become if I were to be honest with myself.


And yet, when I would look in the mirror I would be disgusted with what I saw. There was always something that could be better. When I would walk over to the stove to get seconds of our dinner, the voices would fight with me. They would tell me that my husband was probably watching me walk over there and wishing that I wouldn't eat anymore, because I was already fat enough. I would feel undisciplined with wanting seconds. What made it worse was that I would get seconds which fed the voices even more fuel. When I would go to the grocery store and had to get something on the list that I deemed unhealthy-like chocolate candy-I would wrestle with even putting it in the basket, even if I wasn't going to eat it. The voices would taunt me and tell me how fat and undisciplined I was. The voices would tell me that people were going to look at me and judge me for being a slob and unhealthy. I would leave the aisle, circle the store to try to get up the courage to put whatever it was in my basket, and head back to the aisle. I hated the grocery store, and I hated food. It had caused nothing but pain in my life.


Even when I tried to loosen the reins a bit and allow the occasional piece of chocolate to pass through my lips, the voices were still there. Once I went to San Antonio by myself for a few days to just relax and refuel-my favorite "by myself" vacation-and I went into a store on the River Walk to get some dark chocolate peanut M & M's. The only bag I found was a really big bag, but the voices wouldn't let me buy it without taunting me first. "Everyone will see you buying that big bag, and you're all alone. They will know it is just for you. You are so fat and a pig. Are you really that undisciplined?"


I wandered around the store for about 10 minutes fighting with the voices. I didn't want them to beat me-they had beat me for so long. I went to look at magazines-anything to buy some time. After a good fight, I finally grabbed the bag to head to the counter. As I got closer, I realized they actually had a small little bag up by the cashier. Saved! Saved from people pointing and laughing. Saved from me being exposed as undisciplined and fat. Saved! Or was I?


I ran back to the aisle to put back the big bag and went to purchase my small bag. I left with a small bag of dark chocolate peanut M & M's, one diet coke, and a huge helping of guilt.


And so was my life for many years. The voices in my head that screamed at me without mercy. The self-hatred and disgust with myself. The desire to look different, because somehow I was not OK.


When I found out the Other Nut was looking at pornography, that was the final nail that drove those voices further into my head. It was proven for the last time-I wasn't OK.


But Jesus was bigger and stronger than those voices, no matter how long they had been there. He had a plan, and He was working.


And in only a way that Jesus can, He began to slowly crack open this Nutcase in this area. This was a hard one though for it had been with me probably the longest. But Jesus can reach the places that no one or nothing can.


Ironically, Jesus chose to use the very one whos actions had helped solifidy the voices-the Other Nut. The Other Nut said something one day that helped shine a little light into this dark area, and I think I even heard a small crack that day.


To be continued. . . .




5 comments:

Anonymous said...

love this, you are brave and insightful! want to read the rest of the story!
Kate E

"Ima" said...

Kate-I so miss seeing you! Maybe this summer? Thanks for your kind words. I finished part 2 so you can see the rest of the story. I have one more part to go. Miss you!

alittlebitograce said...

Oh I hear you! This piece is beautiful in it's honesty and rawness.

emily wierenga said...

oh friend, i know those voices... how powerful they can be. so thankful for your freedom... so grateful for you.

"Ima" said...

alittlebitograce-thanks for reading and stopping by. enjoying looking through your blog.

emily-thank you for your encouragement. i know you know those voices all too well. so thankful for you too and your hosting imperfect prose-love it.

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