The following post is something I shared on Facebook on September 4th and it's important enough to me I felt like sharing it here would be appropriate. My Facebook account has been deactivated since May (just the healthiest thing for me right now), and I only reactivated it on the 4th for not even 24 hours (deactivated now), but I share something to this effect with every passing year--it's a cathartic experience for me and honestly I feel the truths deeper as time passes, so it's that writer's NEED inside me to write it out, and it's my desire to hopefully help even one other person along the way, hence why I post something similar every year on Septembee 4th.
Here's the post (from my reactivated-for-a-day Facebook page) from 9/4/15:
Hey everyone, I'm only reactivating for a while on this date because September 4th is a very important milestone date for me and I always like to mark the occasion by praising God and letting others know how much He's already done in my life, and I know He's still working on me (🎶to make me what I ought to be🎶) and will eventually deliver healing from my current battles.
September 4, 2004, I returned home after spending 2 months at Remuda Ranch, an eating disorder treatment facility, due to the battle with anorexia that has consumed my life now for 12+ years. I can't believe it has been 11 years since I last rode out of the place that saved my life in a van at 3am to catch my early flight from Phoenix. I know Remuda has changed considerably over the past 11 years, so I can't speak directly for it as it is today (still great, I'm sure), but when I was there in 2004, it was the absolute best place I could have had the privilege of being a patient and receiving healing not only physically and mentally, but spiritually. I give sole credit to God for providing the means for me to go to Remuda, and for using it as the place to not only literally save my life, but to give me the skills to make it through the remaining three years of high school and 4 years of college (not without struggling and having slip-ups), but Remuda, along with my family, mentor, friends, and student health center staff helped me stay out of another treatment center throughout my high school and college years).
Remuda Ranch and the friendships I made there will always have a special place in my heart that absolutely cannot be explained in words. Even though I ended up in UNC's eating disorders program in September and October of 2011 (a place I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone--a truly excellent program, especially if you are ready to receive the help), this date, September 4, is still one of the most memorable dates in my life. Of course coming home after being away from my family and the rest of the works for 2 months was wonderful, but three years after that, September 4th 2007, my first year at Centre, is the date Rog and I started officially dating, and I used to call this a bittersweet date since the two coincided, but going through what we've gone through together in the past eight years, it's no longer bittersweet to me.
I no longer have the "desire" my disordered mind had to go back to Remuda, and my memories made there, while not all of them were great at the time, are ones I will treasure forever, so why on earth would I consider it bittersweet? My discharge date from Remuda used to make me sad, because I longed for that sense of community, but now I only look at this date with love because without God making it possible for me to go to Remuda, there's a chance I wouldn't have been around three years after to start dating Rog. And in the 4+ years we've been married (since I've been deactivated I didn't post on our anniversary in June), we've endured more than we ever could have anticipated (definitely more than we would prefer), starting with the UNC stay 3 months into our marriage, and now having the past 2.5+ years of our life being put on hold due to chronic Lyme Disease and the multiple co-infections that come with it, leaving me bedridden most of the time as we travel the long, painful, and slow road of treatment to healing.
But in a very strange way, chronic Lyme and co-infections have been a blessing in disguise as far as my eating disorder is concerned because even though I still battle mentally, it has taken a back seat (hopefully permanently), because the single most important thing to me is to do whatever it takes to heal. This includes appreciating my body for what it can do when it's able, nourishing it with the best quality nourishment/nutrition possible while following the "Lyme diet" guidelines, taking the steps we need to restore my body to health, rebuild my immune system, and kill the various bugs that have been attacking every my body for 20+ years (un/misdiagnosed until 2.5 years ago), leaving no stone unturned, and give my body the love and care it needs by listening to it when it tells me to not push myself too hard, to eat when it's telling me I need quality nourishment (if I'm able--sometimes these infections make it not possible), and doing my best to not focus on the physical appearance or shape of my body or how it looks in the mirror because guess what:
it doesn't matter.
What you weigh doesn't matter. How you look in this or that outfit doesn't matter. The number on the scale doesn't matter. When you're put in a position like I've been now for 2.5 years, you realize you would give up literally anything to be able to just function. Our bodies are amazing works of art created by God, who calls us beautiful, and if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, who are we to tell Him He's wrong? A healthy body that can walk, laugh, leave the house, do any number of activities, work, visit family, travel, or simply love a day without pain--that is the best gift anyone could ask for. If you're able to walk, hold a pen, use a computer, enjoy the seasons and their beautiful changes, or even just enjoy a TV show with your husband/wife and are able to keep both eyes open (my right eye has basically remained closed for the better part of a year and a half due to trigeminal neuralgia as a result of Lyme and friends), be thankful and rejoice in that. Physical beauty fades, and it's not what's important anyway.
Cherishing moments we have with family and loved ones, learning what is truly important in this world (it's not thinness, wealth, fame, or any other thing we too often yearn for as humans), and glorifying His kingdom in every possible way, especially by witnessing so more souls seek Him--THOSE are the things that are important. Even on days when it's hard to focus on that, and I'll be brutally honest, there are a lot of days I feel down and find it hard to do so, THOSE ARE THE THINGS THAT MATTER. Cherish your life, treat your body and your mind with respect, and above all give thanks to God for reading this because that means He let you wake up this morning and live through today. Without God I never would have made it through the treatment centers I was in in 2004 or 2011, and I most definitely wouldn't be alive today if it weren't for His mercy, comfort, grace, and ability to be my strength when I have none.
So today, September 4, 2015, I want to proclaim this date not bittersweet, but a day of thankfulness for what He's done and what He's still yet to do. I don't for one moment believe He's finished working on this good work He started in me, and it's my hope that I'm able to praise Him throughout the bad days as well as the good, because I know the ultimate Physician will deliver me when the time is right--and that's HIS time, not mine.
Collage of pictures from my time at Remuda--three taken when my parents were there for family week (6 weeks into my stay) and one of some of the greatest, strongest girls I know to this day. The bottom right picture is of something appropriate I hung beneath my mirror in my dorm room in college--it felt like this was a good place to add it.
I hope everyone has a manageable (or even good!) week!