Some with eating disorders also struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts. The sadness and hopelessness overtake them. It’s overwhelming to battle an eating disorder as well as depression. When they lose hope of recovery, it doesn’t take much to develop suicidal thoughts.
When someone is deeply depressed, it seems impossible to rise up out of the darkness. Plus, it’s very difficult to find the energy to fight when one is feeling sick and weak from inadequate nutrition in addition to feeling emotionally drained. Hope melts away. Without hope, there’s plenty of room for suicidal thoughts to creep in, to stay and to even take control.
I was depressed before the eating disorder began, and I struggled with suicidal thoughts myself. In fact, in my mind, anorexia was a slow form of suicide. Since I had stomach problems, I thought that others would think I was just sick. Looking back, I can see that it wouldn’t have been that simple. The eating disorder would certainly have been exposed before it would have taken my life.
During the later days of my eating disorder I no longer saw anorexia as a slow form of suicide. Even though I wasn’t willing to let go of it and maintain the last bit of needed weight, I wasn’t interested in losing more and more weight anymore. Even so, I continued to struggle with suicidal thoughts. I couldn’t see any purpose for my life, I lacked hope for eating disorder recovery, and my future looked blank, empty. It was so dark for so long. I lost all hope. The only thing that held me back from taking my life was that I didn’t want to do that to my parents.
I learned that hope is one of the worst things a person can ever lose. With it, there is strength to face difficult times. Without it, there is sadness, darkness, helplessness and confusion. I would never have imagined that I would feel good again.
Where does this hope come from anyway? For me, it came from my heavenly Father. With His help, I left the eating disorder behind. That experience restored my hope and built my faith. When I look back to His work in my heart during those years that I struggled with suicidal thoughts, it’s clear that He saved my life. Of course! Why would He want any of His children to end their lives prematurely? Besides, He had a plan to use me to encourage others with eating disorders – a plan that was impossible for me to see during my dark days. But He led me into this plan when I was ready. I don’t regret that I chose life.
What about you? Do you suffer from suicidal thoughts? If so, please tell your counselor, your pastor, your doctor, a loved one, someone. Have phone numbers easily accessible. In addition to those you know, there are also hotlines available. Some professionals even have their clients make promises or sign contracts committing not to hurt themselves, but to get in touch with someone when they feel they can’t take it anymore. It’s vital that you have some kind of plan in place because when those suicidal thoughts invade a person’s mind, they can easily take control.
In addition to having someone to call if you need to, another reason it’s important to tell any professionals who are helping you, is that they can prescribe or adjust medications. Finding the right medication or right combination of medications for a person can be very tricky. They may be able to aid you in this regard to help take the edge off your desperate feelings and suicidal thoughts.
You may have lost hope – hope of eating disorder recovery, hope of rising up out of depression, hope of healthy changes in relationships, or hope of a better future. Even if you can’t find the hope yourself right now, lean on those who will hold onto hope for you. When you can’t see beyond the darkness, ask them to hold up the light for you. Let them be there for you when you find it difficult, or even seemingly impossible, to hang on.
If you’re interested in the hope I have, go to the Christian Recovery page and read my testimony entitled, “My Life With The Lord” and you’ll find the source of the hope I now embrace.
You’re a special person in this world with a special reason to be here. You don’t have to feel special in order for this to be true. You don’t have to know the details of your purpose right now in order for there to be one. No matter what is going on right now, no matter how low you feel, the truth is that your life is worth saving.
You may also be interested in reading my article about depression.
By Laurie Glass