Stephanie’s Freedom Story
My eating disorder began when I was just 11 years old. I was teased all throughout elementary school and had a very low self esteem by the time I started 7th grade (middle school). About a month after I started school I had a lot going on in my life, everything just seemed to be spinning out of control, and I was just searching for something to grab onto.
It started out small but I began eating less. It quickly got to a point where I wouldn’t eat for a week sometimes two weeks at a time, but then I would eat the entire kitchen and get rid of it all. This cycle went on for about a year. I was put in a psychiatric unit and diagnosed with anorexia.
I struggled with a lot of other things as well – things like cutting, drugs and smoking, homosexuality and depression. Four very long years later, countless hospitals, rehab centers, my parents shipping me all over the country to different treatment centers… years of therapy and doctors visits. It felt like I was going through hell, and I just wanted to die. I had completely lost myself.
Last summer I was once again on my way to a Christian rehab center where I would spend the next five months of my life, or so I thought. I didn’t want to get better and I had no intention of coming out of there “changed”. After a month of being there I just felt so helpless, I felt so dead and just so desperate for help but felt that I didn’t deserve to get better. One Friday night I attempted suicide. Thankfully one of the staff found me and stopped me. Just 30 minutes after that happened I was sitting and talking with some of the staff and I remember just feeling so desperate for help. So for the first time in a very, very long time I cried out to God. I asked Him to forgive me and to help me. As we were praying, the voices that I had been hearing inside my head for so many years instantly left, and I felt a freedom and a joy that is just impossible to even put into words.
Two crazy weeks later and I was back home. Jesus had set me free! My problems weren’t completely gone, but with God’s help I knew that I could get better. Even after I came home I still struggled with my eating disorder, so I came to a point where I just had to decide and to declare to myself and to God that I was never going to plan on not eating ever again. That and that I was never going to weigh myself ever again, and once I just decided that and declared that to myself, it just gave me a lot of freedom and strength to fight my eating disorder.
Since then I haven’t skipped a single meal, I haven’t purged at all and I haven’t weighed myself, not once. I am now 17 years old and have been at a healthy weight for almost a year. I am just so happy and so thankful to my family, friends and most importantly, to my Heavenly Father for loving me even through all the junk and the hard times for I truly couldn’t have done it without any of them. I know the biggest thing for me in my recovery was just to give up the control and to give it all to God and to trust Him! Once I did that, it was all so much easier. He gave me a freedom that is just so great I cannot even put it into words!
Encouragement for Others
The fact of the matter is that there is nothing that I can say or do to stop you from doing what you’re doing. I wish there was. I wish I could just wave my magic wand and make eating disorders disappear. This is something that you have to do, you have to want it, you have to choose recovery and freedom. I know that it’s scary. I know that it’s scary to trust food, to trust people, to trust yourself and to trust God. But once you do, once you give up that control and start to trust, once you let go of all the lies and let God fill you with his truth and unending love, I promise you it is so worth it. You will find a joy that you never knew existed, that you never knew was possible to be that happy.