Why was my body failing me? Why could I only eat six things? Why on my already lean 5’11” frame, was my body deteriorating more every day, looking like it was literally dying, yet no professional ever questioned it? Why didn’t I love my body enough to know what was going on?
I had a love/hate relationship with my body a year later, July of this year. I hated how I looked in the mirror without clothes on. I looked emaciated. However, when I was dressed and all made up, I looked like I had a runway model’s body.
My husband of 37 years has always loved me no matter what my size which had stayed pretty consistent over all the years. However, one night after a 12-hour day, he just softly said “I’m losing you.” I was too tired and too much in denial to communicate anything back but I knew in my heart he was right.
Thankfully God sent a couple of girlfriends and then my family who began to increase my awareness and sought out help for me. None of us knew anything about eating disorders.
My recovery journey started in July when I stepped foot onto The Meadows Ranch. Until then, I had no idea how much I had starved and failed my body, and now it was failing me. Within 24 hours I had a nasogastric feeding tube inserted, and I was then fed nightly for 30 days. Oh, how I could not imagine what I was seeing, yet I knew I was finally taking care of my body and giving it what it needed.
My dietician at The Meadows Ranch knew how scared I had become of food, so with love and care she literally started reintroducing nutrition “one blueberry” at a time. That first bite was so scary, but it tasted like nothing I had ever tasted before, since it had been so long.
As the days in the Critical Care Unit came and went, so did my fear of food. Everything tasted so wonderful and I couldn’t believe how I was now treating my body, so it could care for me.
I started thinking more clearly as my brain was being fed and realized the people who loved me did not care what number was on the scale, they just wanted me alive. However, being this was all new to us, communicating was not always easy. How do I explain Anorexia when I didn’t understand how I could have it for 40 years and never seek help for it?
Then things changed. My husband came to Family Week. I knew the three other families that were going to be with us and I thought we had it the easiest and our stories would be short. Not so! Boy did we have to learn a totally different way to communicate. He just didn’t get how I could just not try to eat more as he just wanted to fix me, and I didn’t know how to communicate to him that I couldn’t … I couldn’t love my body enough to do just that.
However, by the time Family Week was over, our communications had totally changed and we saw each other in more of a loving and compassionate way than we ever had.
As restoration continued, I had to work through the changes in my body, and truly fall in love with it for the first time by accepting the vessel God had made it to be. This was only possible through prayer, love, and the tremendous work from my The Meadows Ranch team.
Upon discharge while settling into home, I struggled one day with wanting to weigh myself for the first time. I had asked my husband to hide the scale when I was in treatment and now I asked him to allow me to have it back. This is where the true value of our new communication skills came in. He asked me hard but real questions like “How would this benefit you?” and “What would you then do to my body because of that number?”
It was then that I realized what a pivotal role Family Week played and how much we had grown in our communications. After I realized it would be of no benefit at all for me to know my weight, then I started to truly fall in love with my body and how far it had come. How it did not fail me, but how amazing it was to have continued on such little fuel for so long. I’m learning to give up control and to love my body more each and every day as it changes.
As my husband holds me, as I pick up and play with my two year old grandson, I realize what a miracle I am. Myself and my entire family wishes to thank The Meadows Ranch for allowing God to use them to save my life!
I’m falling in love with my stronger, healthier body more every day.