To "You the Many,"
My name is Nicole Benson and I wanted to share with you all my story. My story is not at all simple or by any means short, but I hope I can share a small part of what I've been through in order that someone else may be encouraged and know you are not alone, that there is hope and life after an addiction; in particular for me, Anorexia.
This hope I have I found is in Christ. I wouldn't have a reason to fight my battle or be here to tell you my story if it weren't for Him. In my darkest days He was with me, calling me to Him, pulling me to His light. When death would have literally taken my life, He showed me that there is no low I could go that He couldn't rescue me out of, He fought for me, when I ran to Anorexia, He came and got me. He wouldn't let me go.
So as I mentioned, my war is with Anorexia, this began 18 years ago when I was ten years old. I know that it may be hard to wrap your mind around eating disorders if you haven't been through it or don't have someone close to you battling. The difference between this addiction and others is, with Anorexia you are depriving yourself of something you need to survive. With most other addictions you’re giving yourself permission to have something. Because this is hard for others to understand it has made it hard to be open about it. The fear of being made to eat something, or dealing with comments like "just eat a doughnut" or "I wish I had your problem" and the Karen Carpenter references get pretty old (for those of you who don't know Karen Carpenter was a singer/drummer of the 70's who was one of the first celebrities in the media to battle Anorexia. Unfortunately she did die from it, but anyways, I'm also a drummer who battles Anorexia, so yeah as you can see it gets old). These statements aren't easy to always deal with but I'm finding instead of turning to anger I want educate people about eating disorders, it is a rapid growing issue in our society, and it seems it can only help the more people can know.
To explain the eating disorder brain, for those who haven't experienced it, this becomes a voice in your life. This is not an audible one but it’s really the lies we believe and adopt as truths. Most people dealing with any form of eating disorder will reference the voice as e.d., to describe ed in short, it’s a loud voice that tries to take full control of your thinking, your whole life. It plays a constant record of lies that feel like they spin around and around in your head and won't ever seem to let up. The record plays and its songs are tormenting, lies like "worthless," "failure," "inadequate," "ugly." The record plays on and on just spinning the song of lies in your head to hold you captive to this silent killer.
To give this Ed voice a description so you can understand more of what it’s like. Ed is kinda Like Regina George from the movie Mean Girls. Like Regina, Ed lies to you gives you lists of rules and restrictions to live your life by, and calls you names that you adopt as truth and you end up believing about yourself. Ed distorts your view of how you see yourself and how you believe others see you. Regina would say these things to her friends with a smile on her face and a knife to your back, just like Ed does.
For so long I have lived as a slave to the lies of Ed, I still battle to this day. I do not write this as someone who is fully recovered or think that I have it all together. I'm learning though that I am not fighting alone, God is there fighting this battle for me. When I don't think I can ever eat again, when the mirror tells me I'm out of control, when I want to cave and go back to my old ways, He is there. He provides me a way out of falling. He has provided the safe people I can be held accountable to. I have 37 weeks of meal plans from a friend of mine that are laid out for me that I just need to follow. He has given me all I need; I just need to let go, which is the hardest thing in the world to do, but I can imagine what being free must be like. I heard once, "The things in my life that are the hardest to let go of, I let go of with my claw marks behind." Perfect description of what letting go of this is like, I imagine my fingers being pried off.
I know I won't be perfect at recovery and there are days that seem like I am not where I need to be. But when I am discouraged, I remember what a friend of mine told me, "When you feel like you aren't where you need should be, take a look back to where you were and see how far you have really come."
I know I haven't shared many details of my story with you, and to be honest, I would really need to just write a book about it or something to write all the complexities as to why I have gone through what I did. But really, you all don't need to hear another story of trials and depression. You don't need to know how "bad" my weight was or the Anorexia. You can assume it was bad if it almost led to me dying from it. The truth is what you probably need to hear is that I'm fighting like Rocky Balboa. I get knocked down but it doesn't stop me from getting in the ring to go at it again. That even though I go to the war trembling, I know I can go through it because God is leading me the whole way through.