*** Courage Award Winner ($50) in Oregon Women’s Report Inspiration writing contest. See last week for all of the six winners.
I have an eating disorder called anorexia. My battle started when I was fourteen in my freshman year of high school and continued in earnest for almost two years. At fifteen I developed hypoglycemia which means that my blood sugar drops too quickly and I have to eat more often to keep it at an appropriate level.
When I became hypoglycemic my family started paying more attention and made sure I eat. I’d like to say that ended my battle with anorexia but eating disorders are an addiction. Like any addiction it’s a life long struggle.
Because of the hypoglycemia I never had to admit, even to myself, that I had a problem. It wasn’t until I was nineteen and about to embark on my first overseas mission’s trip as a leader that I finally came to terms with the fact I never could’ve imagined how God used my struggle in miraculous ways.
We spent almost three weeks in Florida training and getting to know our team of five leaders, twelve teenagers and two young children. Then we headed off to work in Switzerland. When we got there one of our fifteen year old girls admitted to us that she was struggling with bulimia, an eating disorder where the person eats and then forces themselves to throw up. We were shocked, no one had had any idea what she’d been going through.
I had the opportunity during the month to counsel with this girl and share my own struggle. Through lots of tears and emotion I admitted my story. And I was amazed by the results.
This fifteen year old was sharing her struggle openly with the entire group while I had remained quiet about mine for almost five years. Within a matter of days she was sharing with me about wanting to go back and help others with similar problems. I was shocked at how excited she was.
She was still struggling but she was ready to make a difference. I hadn’t even admitted my struggle until just a few months before. This girl inspired me to help people. I always thought that I had nothing to share but she proved me wrong.
When I got home I was terrified but I was ready to change. I started talking about my battle with anorexia and I started learning how I could write about it to help others.
Struggles aren’t meant to be kept a secret. We encounter battles every day that we can’t handle alone. God gave us friends for a reason. And when you look around you’ll realize you’re not the only one with problems.
I still struggle daily with the temptation to starve myself but I’ve surrounded myself with people who are willing to help. They encourage me and check in with me to make sure I’m staying healthy. Anorexia is my daily battle but with the love and support of good friends I’m learning to fight it. My inspiration came from a fifteen year old who changed my life.
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