I was naturally a shy, introverted child. Add in an abusive environment, a mother with severe mental illness, substance abuse, and an early battle with eating disorders, and my shyness was lit on fire.
Turning inward to the extreme and developing depression, playdates in my room with stencils, colored pencils and drawing pads were my everything. This was my way to connect to life and imaginary people.
When recovering from eating disorders and body dysmorphia, one of the biggest challenges can be to change our inner perception, that negative self-talk, especially when we have a distorted outer vision of ourselves.
The Way We See Ourselves
However, we must consciously work on shifting the way we see ourselves on the inside, before we will ever love who we are on the outside. Everything begins in the mind. In my debut memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, I write about how I was able to wipe away that negative, monstrous outer image, starting from the inside .
REDMOND, Ore., Jan. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Eating Disorder Hope is honored to announce the Winter 2017 recipients of its respected Seal of Excellence. These recipients embody Eating Disorder Hope’s message of hope and healing while contributing to the eating disorder community in unique and invaluable ways.
Through the Seal of Excellence initiative, Eating Disorder Hope proudly honors deserving parties from three categories each quarter, including Non-Profit Organizations, Eating Disorder Professionals, and Community Members. This interactive initiative relies on community participation through an anonymous online nomination process.
“Disordered behaviors and addictions might start out as seemingly insignificant attempts to reach out for comfort, but they eventually can take over our lives. When I was eight years old I began to binge eat as a way to cope with being physically, sexually and emotionally abused — that led to a more than seventeen-year battle with all sorts of addictions.
I didn’t know how to deal with my feelings and I also didn’t know who I was – I grabbed onto to destructive behaviors during the most influential period of my development.”
“I’ll never forget that fateful day when the horrible memories resurfaced. Although blurry and confusing, one thing was clear; I had been touched in places I shouldn’t have. Held down for far too long until I felt like I was going to perish from suffocation. A crimson, misshapen face, rough hands and chapped lips signaled my demise. As I sat alone in my bedroom and gazed into unwelcoming silence, one after another the past flooded my brain like a movie. A film that I, the prisoner, watched in unrelenting horror.”
“Every day I am faced with a challenge. I can either accept and embrace myself, or I can choose to listen to the negative voices that threaten to tear down the walls of my self-worth. Building my body image is a job that begins on the inside, and it’s one that I must form with blocks of love and patience.
In order to construct a solid foundation, I must clear away the rotted materials and replace them with long-lasting ones. As I take inventory of my life, what do I see that needs to be swept away? What does not serve me anymore? What are healthy changes that I can make that will ensure a positive environment for my mind, soul and body?”
“As I peer into the mirror on this wintry Saturday morning I come face to face with one of my oldest demons. My enemy lies dead, void of life, yet I am aware that it has a way of reentering in the darkest corridors of my mind. We meet again, I hesitate as I reach behind the middle of my head and snap, snap, snap! Section after section I unfasten my extensions to reveal what used to be a sight of horror; my thin, natural hair. I am determined to confront the sight with a bold spirit, for I believe that this cannot melt me into a neurotic puddle any longer. Shaggy, light brown tresses barely caress my shoulders, and I exhale a sigh of nostalgic relief. Peace begins to fill my heart for the first time since childhood. My hair.”
“I love rewriting my history. As the days unfold I gaze upon the New Year with hopeful eyes, and expect favor for my life and for my continuing recovery. I have to admit, I wasn’t always optimistic in regards to my health.
An enormous part of me never dreamed that I would be here…healthy, energetic, and most of all, freed from the most toxic relationship I have ever known…my anorexic image.”
“I cherish the array of feelings I receive when I send family and loved ones cards or presents in the mail. Just imagining their bright, beaming faces puts warmth in my heart.
Nothing sets my soul afire and brings me peace quite like knowing that the holiday season has arrived. As a little girl this magical time brought my family together and allowed me to feel safe and secure.”