Here’s part two of my interview with Laurie Glass, a Christian counselor who recovered from anorexia. Below, Laurie continues telling her story of recovery and the pivotal part her religious faith has played.
She also reveals what recovery means to her and the myths associated with eating disorders.
Like I mentioned yesterday, Laurie’s story teaches us about the importance of identifying and cultivating meaningful values in our lives. Whether you’re religious or not, figuring out what matters to you most – your deepest values – along with nurturing a greater sense of spirituality can be deeply healing.
This gives people a sense of direction, a compass to guide you, and reminds you that there’s so much more to life than your ED.
You can learn more about Laurie here.
If you haven’t read it yet, check out part one of our interview.
Q: What insights have you taken away from your struggles and recovery?
A: Since my eating disorder occurred at a time when I also experienced a crisis in belief and distanced myself from God, I learned more about myself as well as about Him. I took from that experience that I need to keep my eyes on Jesus no matter what.
Regardless of my circumstances, I need to remember the truth of God’s Word – that the Lord loves me, and He has my best interest in mind even when it doesn’t appear that way to me. He can transform disappointment, difficulties and heartache into experiences that help me learn and grow. Things aren’t always as they appear. Something that seems negative can end up being beautiful.
At the time the eating disorder started, I lost sight of my identity in Christ. Ultimately, though, it’s what God’s Word says about me that matters most. It isn’t what others think or even what I think of myself, but what He thinks that I should put my identity in. If I place my identity in Christ, the One who never changes, I have a solid foundation. This is a process, but it’s more freeing with every step I take.
I used to feel that having emotions made me weak. I learned they make me human. I used to stuff them in. I learned “better out than in”. I was afraid to allow them to surface. I learned that was the path to healing.
One of the things that helped me most in my recovery was writing in my journal. I did this for hour and hours. And I cried and cried, and I sobbed and sobbed. It seemed the pain couldn’t go any deeper. It was a long process, but over time, I found healing in those tears.
Yes, it hurt to let things out, but keeping the pain in would have hurt me even more. Through journaling, I also observed that I would write thoughts I didn’t even realize I had until I saw them on the page. Those insights helped me be more honest with myself and, in turn, were valuable in my recovery.
Q: What can family members do to help a loved one with an eating disorder?
A: I think it’s important for family members to educate themselves about eating disorders so they can gain a better understanding of what their loved one is experiencing.
Eating disorder recovery is commonly a long and complicated process that requires patience, persistence and perseverance.
Q: What resources do you recommend (books, websites) for individuals struggling with an eating disorder?
A: The two websites listed below offer a lot of resources – books, treatment finders and more – for those with eating disorders.
Q: What does recovery mean to you?
A: It means being free from bondage, feeling healthier inside and out, having the time and energy to be there for others, taking back what the eating disorder took away, and being grateful for the new life I now enjoy.
It also means taking opportunities to share what God has done in my heart and life. I’m passionate about reaching out to those with eating disorders.
Q: What are some misconceptions about eating disorders?
A: One misconception is that eating disorders are about food and weight, so a person just needs to eat an appropriate amount of food in order to recover. They don’t understand it isn’t that simple and that underlying issues drive eating disorder thoughts and behaviors.
Another misconception is that someone with an eating disorder is underweight. This is sometimes the case and sometimes not. People with eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes.
Q: Anything else you’d like readers to know about eating disorders or your story?
A: Since I recovered in 2003, I’ve been walking with women in their recovery, and I’ve been working to provide personal and practical resources for those with eating disorders. In 2007, I built Freedom from Eating Disorders at www.freedomfromed.com.
In 2010, I published my book, Journey to Freedom from Eating Disorders. And in 2011, I formed an LLC and officially began offering online Christian counseling services to adult women in eating disorder recovery. Reaching out to those with eating disorders is my heart work.
Thanks so much to Laurie for sharing her story!
If you’d like to share your story of recovering from an eating disorder, ditching dieting or boosting your body image, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
P.S., One last reminder that tomorrow I’m announcing the winner of this stunning poster. Today’s the final day to enter.