I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard that life is a journey that we are all on. Each hardship and experience is just part of the journey, and we keep plugging away. Honestly, I think life is more of a series of journeys… we have many little journeys going on at the same time, and each one affects the other and overall played into the major journey of life.
In the past few years, I have been on several journeys of my own. Many of you know about my journey of moving away from my family and Guatemala to the US for school. Then the journey of nursing school began in the midst of the journey of the move. I have tried to be very open about what I have felt and the process of moving, getting into school, and adjusting to life. Through it all though, there is one journey that I have kept fairly quiet, but has still played a HUGE role in so many parts of my life…
Before I dive headfirst into this, I want to outright say that this is NOT an easy post for me to write, but also one that (especially in the past weeks/months), God has been urging me to write. So if it seems like I’m all over the place, I might be! But bear with me here…
Let’s rewind about 2.5 (maybe 3) years. At that time I was looking ahead to moving to the US and getting ready to get into school. I was feeling a little (ok, really) overwhelmed about all the changes that were about to take place, but still feeling like it was something that God was calling me to do. When things feel overwhelming and out of control, what do we try to do? Well, control something! For me, at that time, my “thing” to control became food. I could control what I ate, how much I ate, and when I ate. I didn't hate my body or think that I was fat, so I never thought that something like an eating disorder would affect me. Honestly, it wasn't something that I woke up and thought, “Today I am going to start controlling any and every aspect of food in my life,” rather it was something that started small (making minor changes) and then began to escalate.
Fast forward a few months (May-ish, 2012)… now I (and my family) were beginning to notice that things were no longer under control, but becoming out of control. I was beginning to obsess more and more about what I ate and how much I ate, and my weight was showing it as well. At this point, we (my parents and I) decided it was time to get some more professional help, and we found a counselor and nutritionist in Guate. I was “diagnosed” with anorexia nervosa and the mental/emotional therapy began. What I found amazing was that once I really realized that this was an issue, it was so much harder to fight!
Ok, so moving forward a few more months (August 2012-August-ish 2013). I am now in the US, away from family and learning how to be a little more independent. I have a lot on my mind and am getting into US life. By this time, my (unhealthy) lifestyle related to food from the past few months has become comfortable and I simply focus on the life at hand (school, settling in, etc) and let my health take the back burner. Yes, I was still meeting with a nutritionist and counselor, but my heart wasn't really into moving in the right direction. Honestly, I stayed in the “unhealthily comfortable” mode for a while… looking back, probably well over a year.
|December 2013 (21st birthday!)|
Let’s fast forward a few months more (January-April 2014). I am now into nursing school, which is crazy stressful. I have the stresses of school and life hanging on, and my health is continuing to go downhill, dangerously so. At that time, something really snapped inside me. I realized how stinking tired I was about trying to control food and having that added stressor in life, and decided it was time to make a change. I had gone through seasons like thisbefore, but this time was different than others, it was time to take more action… I decided to enter an intensive outpatient program specifically focused on eating disorders. I was able to meet a group of girls that were in the same boat as me, and really make myself focus on ME and MY health rather than everything else in life. Did I enjoy driving to King of Prussia three times a week? No! But I felt like I was able to take some big steps forward and make some breakthroughs in mindsets. Did I come out of the program “recovered?” Nope, but definitely in a much better place than before!!
Ok, now let’s get back to the here and now (October 2014). Am I recovered from this eating disorder? No. Am I actively recovering? You bet! Each day is still a battle, and I constantly need to watch my attitude and thoughts. I need to remind myself that I am doing this for my future family, for my future life, and for everything that I am doing right now.
So why am I posting all of this? This journey that I have been going through for the past few years has taught me so much about myself and has (and is continuing to) shape me into the person I am today. I have learned how important it is to have a solid support group in any area of my life and how blessed I am to have that support! My faith and reliance on God has increased tenfold; when you can’t rely on yourself to make healthy decisions, it reminds you to rely on the only One who shapes your future! I have come to realize that the stereotypes that are in society these days are sometimes very painful (example: eating disorders and body image), and not necessarily true for everyone going through those specific things.
|October 2014... |
much healthier and happier!
While there are times I don’t know why God is allowing me to go through this battle and trials, I know for sure that He will see the good work that he began in me through to completion, and what an amazing promise that is!!!