Eating Disorder Hope: Portraits of An Eating Disorder

Shifting the Focus From Weight to Feelings

Australian-based photographer Jennifer Blau decided to take the focus off of appearance with eating disorder sufferers. She purposefully shot those who were at a societally acceptable “normal weight [1].”

Because eating disorders affect people at all shapes and sizes, Blau had a desire to tilt more on the message that it’s what’s on the inside that matters, as well as our feelings; society needs to be aware, educated, and sensitive to this message. Her exhibition is appropriately entitled “Just Ask Me How I Feel,” on display at Manly-Library [1].

Read the full blog at Eating Disorder Hope.

Nature is God’s Artwork

Nature is God’s artwork. Sometimes when I’m having a stressful day, I take a walk outside, breathe in the fresh air, and take photos of the beautiful nature that I’m so blessed to be surrounded by.

Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, I was exposed to all kinds of plants and wildlife, from alligators to pelicans, Crepe myrtles to the hanging Spanish moss trees.

On the west coast, the nature is quite different, but absolutely lovely. Did you know that you can find art anywhere? Those exposed branches on the side of the road, the dying flower, and dried leaves are all beautiful, it just takes a bit
of mindfulness to appreciate their beauty.
It’s just like us, sometimes when we don’t feel at our best, we can’t see what’s beautiful about ourselves. But God sees us perfectly and complete. We are never washed up or too dull for Him. We are all part of a larger masterpiece, a divine art that spans for all eternity.


Free and Above – Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

We recently got to ask Nikki DuBose – A former model turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate a few questions.

Here’s what we got to talk about.

1) Do you have any advice for young teens and young adults battling with an eating disorder who want to get better and start their road to recovery but don’t know where to begin or don’t think they’re strong enough to make that commitment of an everyday fight to recover and start the healing process?

Read the full interview on Free and Above.

Fiona Likes to Blog: 3 mental health books you MUST read today

I’ve spent many an afternoon wandering around the library. To me the library has always been a place of opportunity, and it has helped me find books that ignite new interests and explain unknown worlds to me. I’ve loved collecting books over the years, and looking back at my favourites reminds me if where I was at that point in my life, how I was feeling and what I was doing.

Having depression and anxiety means I often look for answers in the books I read. Recently I reflected on some of the books that helped me make sense of my own mental illness and it’s something that I think you might find helpful, so I’ve listed my top 3 books below.

Read the full article at Fiona Likes to Blog.

Addiction Hope: Q & A with Author Nikki DuBose on Addiction

Author Nikki DuBose of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light was recently interviewed on addiction and recovery. Here she offers a recap on everything from when her addiction began to how to help a loved one who may be suffering.

1. Can you pinpoint when your problems with addiction began?

I was wired for addiction – my mother had bipolar and dissociative identity disorder and her mother (she was adopted) died from cirrhosis of the liver as a result of alcoholism.

Read the full article on Addiction Hope. 

Eating Disorder Hope: Learning to Trust God in Recovery Process

“. . . Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me . . .”

I let the words sink in, and then I looked out my bedroom window that overlooked the water; for once, I took in the scenery not in fear, but in admiration of the sun as it descended below the horizon. The setting of the sun was a reminder of the magnificence of creation.

“If God made the sun, surely he made me. He must love me, too. I’m going to believe that no matter what, God is with me. When I’m afraid, God is right by my side. I might not see Him physically, but I can see him with my soul; simply because I believe that God is with me, He is,” I thought.

Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

Today as I hiked with my blind and deaf Australian Shepherd and friends up and down rocky trails and around the azure waves of the Pacific, I was amazed at the beauty of God’s creation and the magnitude of his power.

Read the full article at Eating Disorder Hope.

Fiona Likes To Blog | Opening up about mental illness in the modelling industry – Washed Away by Nikki Dubose

I had no idea what to expect going into this book. I never thought I’d finish the thing in just a few days and feel so utterly connected to someone I’d never met. Knowing Nikki’s story has reminded me why I started to write about mental illness online, even though it often leaves me feeling vulnerable to expose myself to the world.

Read the full review at Fiona Likes to Blog.

Empowered Eating – Must Read! Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

Washed Away: From Darkness to Light reflects a story of recovery and determination. Dubose allows us not only into her world, but similarly, into her thoughts, feelings, and emotions. She opens up about important conversations surrounding mental illness and the modeling industry that teaches a standard of “beauty” that is not always healthy and realistic. The memoir provides honest reflection as we see the stages of childhood, adolescence, adulthood and what Dubose takes away from each stage of her own life.

Read the full review at Empowered Eating.

Eating Disorder Hope: The Process of Transformation

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 [1].

Read the rest of the blog on Eating Disorder Hope.

Slay Girl Society Review of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

If you are looking for a story about a remarkable human being, with perseverance and resilience, who describes her horrifying and haunting life story with candor and courage, than I highly recommend Washed Away: From Darkness To Light, a memoir by Nikki DuBose with James Johanson. It is definitely not a light read – so be forewarned now. Washed Away is emotionally wrenching, compelling and brutally honest, truly providing insight into the mind of someone with mental illness and allowing the reader to understand her deepest and darkest thoughts.

Read the full review at Slay Girl Society.

Eating Disorder Hope: Eating Disorders and High School Life

During my first day at James Island High, I wandered aimlessly through the halls. Hundreds of students buzzed by, but I couldn’t hear anything for the dark voices. “Nobody will ever be your friend. You’re a loser!” I kept my head down toward the gum-spattered floors. I wanted to spare everyone from my hideous appearance. When the teachers called out my name During roll call, I didn’t answer; instead, I sulked in the back of the class, afraid to utter a single word.

As the days passed on through March, I wanted to disappear. I was certain that if I stayed at James Island High much longer, everyone was going to find out about my past. Deep down, I longed for others to understand, but I knew that no one could, so I avoided conversations at all costs.

During lunch, I anxiously raced through the lines and grabbed a couple of brown paper bags and desserts. I thought it best to dodge the noisy chatter at the tables and skipped straight ahead to the bathroom stalls. There I at least had silence. The crinkle noises my sandwiches made as I unwrapped them was all the friendship I needed. I had my food, and I had my thoughts. Although, I questioned my thoughts most of the time. I could only sit with my thoughts for a few minutes before purging; it seemed like the rational method to rid myself of the pain.

Read the full blog post at Eating Disorder Hope. 

Another Great Review of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

I squeezed in between Vanessa and Sarah on the bow of the sea doo boat and leaned my head back into my shoulders to let the sun bake away at the freakishly boy short tan lines on the tops of my thighs. As the boat bobbled further away from the campground on the small lake waves, Sarah pulled out a bag of chips. Vanessa tapped her stomach and shook her head no and then she patted mine.

“I envy your tummy you know. Always have.”

“I do too. It’s so flat. You must do something at home,” Lana said from behind.

I felt the blood rush to my cheeks and I quickly draped a Minnie Mouse beach towel over myself.

“No, I don’t do anything.”

“Well I’ve been doing these crunches that I saw in my mom’s magazine. I do like 100 of them. I brought it with me. We should all do them when we get back.”

Read the full review at All Work And No Play Makes Mommy Go Something Something

Eating Disorder Hope: How Eating Disorders Affect Work and School

Being broke, frustrated, and uncertain about the future wasn’t such a bad thing. The ball was in my corner; I could start over clean on the West Coast. I left Charleston on a Saturday morning around nine and hightailed it through the states.

The next day, Sunday evening, I rolled up to my new place in Mission Valley. It was a little after eleven; I lugged all of my trash bags into the shared apartment and fell asleep on the couch.

On Monday, I took my remaining money, and on a whim, enrolled in another school. Southern California Esthetics Institute was a four-month-long, intensive esthetician program, and it started the next day.

On the way back to the apartment, I called Dad from the car and told him about my new plan. He was impressed by my persistence to obtain a degree and wired me money to help with the expenses. I felt ridden with guilt; I knew he couldn’t afford to pay my way through school, so I looked for a job right away.

Read the full post on Eating Disorder Hope.

PsychCentral: Paranoia my old friend

The other day, while sitting and rehashing all of my thoughts over to my psychiatrist through the computer screen, I began to feel annoyed. There he was, blissfully writing away on his notepad, while I regurgitated the same, unhappy words. “What does he really think? And why does he find my pain so funny?” I thought. But then I stopped and started to listen to my words. And I realized something. As much as I had tried to fool myself into thinking that I was no longer a paranoid person, or unaffected by the thoughts and behaviors of others, I was completely and utterly wrong.

So I snapped out of my tunnel, looked him square in the eyes (which can be hard for me to do with him), and said, “Stop writing on your little notepad.” He stopped. I noticed that he was maintaining that smirk on his face. I continued. “No matter how much I talk to you, my paranoia still exists, and in fact, it seems to get worse. And…all you can do is smile. I feel crazy!”

Read more on PsychCentral.

PsychCentral: Whole Foods CEO, Gafni & Senator among those trying to silence victims of child sexual abuse

On February 28th, from 11am to 1pm, myself, along with many other prominent leaders, will be speaking at the Omni Hotel in San Fransisco. Our message to Whole Foods CEO John Mackey will be very clear: reject your relationship with former rabbi, spiritual leader Marc Gafni.

The reasoning for our demand is credible: The New York Times cited Mackey’s and Gafni’s relationship, as well as Gafni’s alleged sexual abuse of a 14-year-old. Ever since I found out last year, I have been protesting for Mackey to step up as a business leader, and speak for the millions of consumers who have been sexually abused. Refusing to do so and remaining silent on the issue, Mackey is enabling the culture of sexual abuse, something that I am all too familiar with. His silence and failure to advocate for consumers demonstrates his inability to be socially and ethically responsible. For more than a year I have stopped shopping at Whole Foods as a direct result of this issue. The Washington Post covered a national protest that I helped organize and participated in along with Peaceful Hearts Foundation, NAASCA, and author Nancy Levine (The Tao of Pug).

The way I see it, Mackey has had significant time to respond to this situation and address the growing culture of child sex abuse and violence. Instead, Mackey has remained friends with Gafni, and Whole Food’s organization, Conscious Capitalism, which was founded by Mackey, has blocked my Twitter account.

Read the full article on PsychCentral.

PsychCentral: Women, do not be afraid to stand on your own two feminine damn feet

Yesterday, while at a meeting for the League of Women’s Voters Los Angeles, I sat and took it all in. There I was, amongst women who, held varying political preferences, but who were all in the same room for the same reason: to make democracy work. I felt elated and strong. To my right were two teenage girls, who, just a couple of weeks ago, had travelled all the way to Washington DC to attend the Women’s March. They didn’t appear older than sixteen, but they cared enough about standing up for women’s rights that they got on a plane, put on pink, knitted hats, braved the harsh cold and made their voices heard along with over a million men and women at the US Capitol on January 21, 2017.

To my left, were some of the veteran board members, well in their years. And I thought, “Damn. This is amazing. This is how I inspire to be. Continuing to fight for the rights of women and marginalized groups for the rest of my life. Never give up, Nikki. Never, ever give up. These women are so inspiring. What’s their secret?”

Read more on PsychCentral.

The Mighty: What I Want Others to Know About People Who’ve Experienced Psychosis

“That face. . .Look at it!” I didn’t question the voice. I leaned in until my eyes crossed and my nose touched the mirror. My glasses began to fog from my breath. The voice continued, and then another voice joined it: a giggly, female voice. “Four eyes! Loser. No one will ever love you. What an ugly thing you are. I can’t tell if you look like a girl or a boy. Get to work fatty! Change that face. Don’t stop moving until it’s done. You can win, you can be the winner!”“Washed Away: From Darkness to Light”

In my newly released memoir, “Washed Away: From Darkness to Light,” I discuss many of the graphic events that led to my mental breakdown in childhood. I think that sharing our stories is critical because there are many hurting people in the world who will benefit from our experiences, and also the more we share, the more we continue to heal and grow.

Read more on The Mighty.

Psych Central: Depression doesn’t mean I’m broken, it means I deserve compassion

I could feel the sadness creeping up again, like an unwelcome relative looking over my shoulder and breathing down my neck. I didn’t want it to come, but it did, and I knew that I was helpless to stop it. And then it washed over me; it poured down like a river of madness, and bathed me in uncertainty. As the tears poured down my face and I crawled into bed, I wanted nothing other than to end my own life. Again. But I couldn’t move. I was drowning and stuck staring into nothingness, and the nothingness was ripping my heart apart. As much as I wanted to end my life, I had no energy to get up and do it.

Some time went by, and the energy slowly came back into my body. I muddled around and managed to answer work emails, walk my dog, feed myself and finish some schoolwork. As I drifted around the house and tried to connect with life again, my phone rang. It was a friend, calling to check up on me. My brain told me not to answer it, and I listened. Tomorrow, or maybe the next day, I told myself. Right now, right now I need rest.

Read more on Psych Central.

PsychCentral: Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse is Society’s Responsibility

We have a huge problem in this country when it comes to protecting children from sexual abuse, and that’s denial. As an Executive Board member of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, a child sexual abuse nonprofit, one of the most common issues I come across when a survivor discloses their abuse is denial – from family members, teachers, friends – the list goes on. Myself, a survivor of incest from my late mother from the ages of 9 to 13, and a male figure at the age of 8, I know what it’s like to finally come to terms with the abuse and entrust others with the information, only to have them deny that it ever could have happened. The psychological effects were beyond damaging; I questioned my own sanity, the trauma, and attempted suicide. After all, if no one believed that such heinous acts had occurred, what reasons did I have to go on living? Child sexual abuse left me scarred with depression, psychosis, suicidal ideation and many other mental illnesses, and without proper support, it was only a matter of time before I permanently checked out.

Read more on PsychCentral.

Washed Away: From Darkness to Light Book Trailer

Buy Washed Away: From Darkness to Light now on Outskirts Press!

An Open Letter to NY Times Public Editor Liz Spayd, from Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse and Advocates

Proud to have my name on this open letter to The New York Times Public Editor Liz Spayd. On behalf of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, I am listed as one of 35 Child Sexual Abuse Survivors and Advocates, urging Liz to cover the Child Victims Act of New York. Thanks, Nancy Levine for your hard work and dedication to this important issue, and thank you to everyone who is using their voice to create change.

“Dear Ms. Spayd,
We are a global community of survivors of child sexual abuse and advocates. We were heartened when, under your editorial direction, the Columbia Journalism Review published a piece by Steve Buttry, Director of Student Media at LSU: ‘The voiceless have a voice. A journalist’s job is to amplify it.’ We would like to ask you and The New York Times to consider amplifying our collective voice; we reiterate our request, emailed to you on July 11, 2016.
Our previous correspondence raised questions about The Times’ absence of recent coverage of the Child Victims Act of New York, and an appearance of a conflict of interest. Presumably there is no causal relationship between The Times’ absence of recent reporting on the Child Victims Act and Publisher and Chairman Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr.’s family financial interests in Whole Foods Market. But to quell concerns about an appearance of a conflict, we think this matter warrants further response.”

Read more on Medium.

The Paintbrush

I want to share this poem by Bettie B. Youngs. When I was thirteen my mother was living in a mental institution. During her stay she was given a packet of papers, essentially what contained all of her feelings, hopes and desires. I now have this packet because my mother passed away in 2012. A couple of years ago I was going through the papers and I noted a poem by Dr. Youngs; it touched me deeply and became the inspiration for my memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, which will be released fall 2016. I hope it speaks you in some way.

I keep my paint brush with me
Wherever I may go,
In case I need to cover up
So the real me doesn’t show.
I’m so afraid to show you me,
Afraid of what you’ll do – that
You might laugh or say mean things.
I’m afraid I might lose you.
I’d like to remove all my paint coats
To show you the real, true me,
But I want you to try and understand,
I need you to accept what you see.
So if you’ll be patient and close your eyes,
I’ll strip off all my coats real slow.
Please understand how much it hurts
To let the real me show.
Now my coats are all stripped off.
I feel naked, bare and cold,
And if you still love me with all that you see,
You are my friend, pure as gold.
I need to save my paint brush, though,
And hold it in my hand,
I want to keep it handy
In case someone doesn’t understand.
So please protect me, my dear friend
And thanks for loving me true,
But please let me keep my paint brush with me
Until I love me, too.

Haiku by Tony

Sitting in a room
Unfamiliar to me
Sidetracked by daydreams

Her skin’s smooth terrain
Traveled by my fingertips
Again and again

Brown eyes shine brightest
In the absolute darkness
Of a tortured soul

I built a new soul
Using the remaining pieces
Of my broken dreams

I always wanted
You to fall in love with me
But did not know how

Spirits pass through me
On the same wind traveling
Over my body

The road I travel
Can’t know my destination
But it supports me

I get close to you
You lean forward with a smile
Our eyes close to kiss

Moonlight and midnight
Walking downtown boulevards
Under neon lights

Under troubled skies
People scurry for cover
Leaves dance on the wind

Sometime memories
Reappear in night’s quiet
And I can’t escape

San Francisco night
Two birds fly past my window
Your face in the fog

Lovers in search of
Barren, isolated places
To hide broken hearts

A lie silences love
As an empty heart echoes
Sobs of betrayal

I know what I’ve found
Every time you’re around
Sight, touch, taste and sound

You lost one lover
You thought it was all over
You ran for cover

The night air crackles
A footstep breaks the silence
We are on our way

Naked emotions
Am I only what I feel
When I look at you?

The small of your back
A sweet spot for massaging
S-shaped oasis

We walk through a dream
Two shadows from one moonbeam
We’re not what we seem

I awake at dawn
A lonely companion
To my surroundings

Wild nights by firelight
Smoke and sparks jumping upward
To a cool climax

We meet on the street
You put your arms around me
We walk hand in hand

Rain on the windshield
Rainbow in rearview mirror
Black cloud overhead

Without a shadow
Love can stand unrecognized
In the light of day

I’m on the outskirts
Is there a map to your heart?
A road paved to love?

Wake me up slowly
As the darkness disappears
Around you and me

I sit in silence
Listening says, “I love you.”
Louder than my words

An inner vision
Only when you close your eyes
And see past the dark

 

Thank you, Tony, for sharing your Haiku.

Find out more about Tony’s work here.

Submit your art to nikki@nikkidubose.com

 

Identity – Eating Disorder Hope

“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.”

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

 

How A Parent’s Drinking Can Impact Their Child – A Personal Reflection

“There were many, many signs all throughout my life as to the severity of Momma’s alcoholism. I, however, was in deep denial for years – I didn’t want to face her reality because I wasn’t facing my own. As a result of a traumatic childhood – one filled with child abuse and sexual victimization – I developed eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorder, self-harmed, abused substances and battled various mental health issues such as depression and delusions.”

Read more on Clinical Addiction Recovery Institute.

Bay Area Lawmaker Says Models Can Be Too Skinny For The Runway

The Duchess of Windsor once said, ‘you can never be too rich or too thin.’ But a Bay Area lawmaker believes she is wrong–at least on one account–and has proposed a ban on models who look ‘too thin’ on the runway.

In fact, San Rafael Assemblyman Marc Levine wants to ban anorexic models on the catwalk altogether. He has introduced AB2539, which takes its cue from a similar laws already on the books in France, Italy and Spain. The hope is that models will stop starving themselves to get work, and women and girls will stop starving themselves to look like models.

 

Read more on CBS San Fransisco.

Hope and Healing from Sexual Abuse and Eating Disorders

The physical, sexual and verbal abuse in my childhood had a direct effect on my self-esteem and self-image. As a result of the abuse and other factors, I developed an eating disorder at the age of eight which lasted for over seventeen years. Later, my mental health issues expanded into substance and alcohol abuse, sex addictions, body dysmorphic disorder, suicide attempts, compulsive spending and depression. I thought that my so-called “glamorous” career as a fashion model would fix my sadness and bury my pain, but nothing could. If anything, it only made it worse because I was not dealing with the mess, merely painting over it and positioned in an industry that oftentimes mirrored the psychologically damaging situations of my past.”

Read more on Recovery Warriors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rebuilding Trust Among Family Members Through ED Treatment

“I knew that look on my brother’s face one Christmas Eve several years ago as I walked out of the bathroom. I had seen it too many times. It was one not of anger or disgust, but rather, of disappointment mixed with sadness. His silence spoke volumes, but I was certain what he would have said. ‘You’re not doing that again, are you?’

In fact, it wasn’t just my brother’s trust I had broken during the course of seventeen years of eating disorders, addictions and battles with various mental health issues. Almost everyone in my family and anyone I had had a relationship with had been whipped into the Nikki hurricane, only to be spit out again and left for dead. I had a habit of using people for what they could do for me, and then leaving them when emotions became too intense to handle. It was painful for me to form loving, trusting bonds with my family members, let alone anyone in a truly intimate capacity, which went back to the original trauma of being sexually, physically and emotionally abused as a child.”

 

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

 

 

 

 

 

South Magazine

“Charleston native Nikki Dubose, 30, grew up immersed in chaos. She had an alcoholic mother with dissociative identity disorder and bipolar disorder. She was physically abused at age 4 and sexually abused at age 8, which is the same year she started binge eating. Overeating turned into purging by age 10, which eventually morphed into anorexia nervosa.”

Read more on South Magazine.

Speak2Heal Episode 3 with Birdie McNeal: Loving Yourself Through Food

Hi everyone! So I’ve decided to convert the Speak2Heal episodes to a podcast format. I just feel that it’s easier and more effective that way! I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as I do.

In this Episode I talk to health coach Birdie McNeal about her recovery from anorexia nervosa and how she uses self-love to help others eat intuitively and love themselves mind, body and spirit. You can find out more about Birdie on her website, on Facebook & her Facebook Coaching Page, and on Twitter @TheEatingCoach.

On another note, look for my new book, Washed Away, coming out next year! I recently wrote a blog about it on the National Eating Disorders Association.

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

What I Learned About Love, I Learned From My Dad

“All right now, hold my hand real tight, don’t let go until you know when.” Dad peered down from his dusty baseball cap marked 88 and gripped my hands in his big bear palm. From my tiny viewpoint, the world was blanketed by the nighttime sky and littered in stars. Dad’s smile lit my heart, and at once, I release10422042_748861415164380_5452174188489951681_nd my faith and threw back my head, revealing a deep, belly laugh.

“Anda- one, anda-two, anda-three!” Dad swung me higher and higher, until the third count, when he released me and I soared, just for a few seconds, like a superhero amongst the crowds of blurry faces who were scattered amongst the bleachers. It was race night, and like every other Saturday, it was our time; we didn’t get to see each other often, but when we did, time stopped and life became precious.

I hit the rocky ground on both legs safely with a resounding “thud,” and, although shocked, I quickly dusted myself off and turned to face the one person who I knew would be right behind me. “That’s my girl! Didn’t think I’d let you down, did ya?” Dad swept me up in his arms and carried me back to the bleachers, as all fear of the unknown faded away.

My dad has always been my hero, whether or not he truly knows it. In my eyes, I couldn’t tell him enough. And when it comes to my relationships I’ve learned a lot through my biggest one: the one with my father. He’s taught me so much about what it means to love people for who they are on the inside, to see beyond the exterior package. The obvious is not what we see, it is what we choose to get to know about someone that makes them beautiful. Growing up in a small, country, two-bedroom home that raised over twenty children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Dad learned early the value of staying close and loving through it all. As I went through my struggles, he not only taught those to me, he showed them, too.

I’ve learned what it means to let go and allow love in. What it means to heal. For most of my life I shut myself off to love and used relationships as a way to abuse myself and others, long after my abusers left. Dad has always been there, in the background, offering advice and encouragement in his own kind way. The faith that he instilled in me as a child has slowly grown over time, and without his care, I don’t know where I’d be. At thirty and through two marriages, I can’t deny the huge role that his stability has played.

I finally know what it means to love myself. Although this one, like every relationship, is one that is a constant work in progress, the love I have for myself is mirrored by the love Dad has for himself. As we’ve grown and constructed healthier lives, our self-images have been strengthened. My dad has a much better image of himself than he used to, especially when I was living in the depths of my eating disorders. A perfectionist at my core, Dad’s voice was always in the back of my mind whispering, “You don’t have to be perfect for someone to love you.” When I was at one of the lowest points in my life at eighteen and attempted suicide, I never imagined that I could flourish and get to the place of contentment that I am in now.

Because of our relationship, I’ve learned what I want in a partner, and what I don’t want, the latter through my own trials and errors. I learned that I want someone faithful, loving, and kind. A person who looks past the obvious; someone who sees my soul. And just like Dad, someone who is always there to catch me when I fall.

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

Body Image from the Inside Out

“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?”

 

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

 

The God Question: Religion vs. Spirit

“’Does God exist?’ The question looms largely in our society today. Just mentioning religion or politics is enough to spark a heated debate anywhere, anytime. Your God, my God, no God, and let’s not forget the gods of different religions, cultures and mythologies.  

Some are compelled to research the history of this so-called creator of life, and need scientific proof that such a supernatural being could exist.  Others of us, however, believe with innocent faith, and tell openly of about our devotion and miraculous experiences.”

Read more on Recovery Warriors.

 

Eating Disorder Hope — “Regaining My Mind and My Hair”

“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.”

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

 

High Above This Tree

From high above this tree mom
I can do anything
I can soar with the birds
Sing their melodies
I am one with nature.
From high above this tree mom
I am able to conquer
my deepest fears.
From high above this tree mom
I am exactly where
I want to be
In your arms
protected.

©2014 Nikki DuBose

We love and miss you mom.

Love,
Nikki and Anthony.