When I hear the word remission, I immediately think of cancer relief. It’s a word that implies someone has beat their illness yet there is a chance of recurrence.
By simple definition remission means the “period during which the symptoms of a disease abate or subside. Release, as from a debt, penalty, or obligation. Forgiveness; pardon.”
I have never had cancer, and for that I am incredibly thankful. I have had another disease that stuck to my bones for years, and took a lot of hard work to even begin the healing process. I am a recovering anorexic-bulimic.
My journey with starvation began when I was in middle school, and I was bigger than most of the other girls. I was awkward, depressed, and completely lacking in the knowledge of how to relate to people. One day I fell ill with a stomach bug, and lost five pounds over a period of two days. This spark ignited my already noxious mind with the notion that I could be more attractive, more normal, if I could eat less and lose weight.
So that’s what I did for years. There were times when I would be better at it than others. In high school, my depression was at a peak, and being 16 and miserable was not something that I had planned on. I was not losing enough weight so I decided to begin purging my body. The only problem was I hated throwing up. I absolutely despise the act. So I opted for a much easier route. I began taking handfuls of laxatives, daily. Typically with bulimia one binges, but I was hardly eating anything anyways and eventually ended up getting very sick. Laxatives cause you to lose ample amount of vitamins, to become dehydrated, and are addictive among other things. I was also working out far more than someone in my condition should have been and was feeling the effects wearing on my joints.
My senior year began, and I felt like death. My gums would pour blood, and lots of it, just by the tiniest bit of applied pressure. I was in desperate need of help, but I did not know how to ask for it, and I don’t know if everyone around me was just naive to the fact that I was falling apart or if I just did a really good job at hiding it, either way I did not have anyone there to help pull me out of this pit.
That was until I started dating this guy who really helped me begin tobreak this crazy cycle I had fallen into. It was a slow process, but he helped me to think of myself differently and to gain a healthy appreciation for my body and for food. Our relationship did not last, but I think that God allowed him in my life long enough so that I could begin my journey of healing.
I went to college with a new fascination about health and wellness, and learned so much about how the body functions. My depression began to subside, only coming back in waves. I was well on the way to recovery, all without medical intervention.
That was more than seven years ago, and I have not lapsed back into my anorexic-bulimic state.
Now just because I eat and actually enjoy it, does not mean that fear of gaining too much weight is not wedged tightly in the hidden crevices of my mind.
When I became pregnant, my first initial fear was that I could possibly lose this baby since it’s still so early on which was followed by the overwhelming anxiety of gaining far too much weight which for me was both a concern of vanity and health.
So I was careful. I counted my calories for about 24 hours, then decided that I was not going to be ruled by obsession. I ate when I was hungry and allowed myself to give into some of my cravings, not in excess because that is not healthy for me or baby, but just enough to not be miserable. I didn’t gain any weight at all my first trimester, and have healthily added on the right amount of weight right on into my third trimester all without stressing over what I eat.
This pregnancy has taught me to love my body and to respect it far more than I ever have. My body is doing amazing things, and frankly I think I look darn good.
But even in all the strides toward a healthy body image I have made, it can take one ignorant comment to start to quickly unravel all of the good work I have begun in my mind.
I’ve spent most of my day crying because of a handful of inconsiderate comments that were doled my way about how large I have become. I’m a fairly intelligent person, I can tell that my body is bigger than what it was eight months ago so I do not need someone else reiterating the obvious truth that I am most aware of. I have also had to deal with being compared to other pregnant women who have completely different body types than I do and who may or may not have taken as good of care of themselves as I know that I have. Why are pregnant women targets for such ridicule?
I do not make jokes about how obese someone has become or how the person next to them is so much smaller than they are, what possesses some people to think it’s OK to do the same to an already over-emotional, hormone ridden, pregnant woman?
In times of frustration like this, it is easy for me to default to my old way of thinking and want to eat 500 calories or less a day. But there is something greater inside of me than that. I am growing an amazing gift that God has intrusted me with, and it is now my sole purpose in life to guard, cherish and protect her in anyway that I can. This starts with me trusting God for strength, and believing that what He says is true in Philippians 1:6 “Being confident in this that He who began a good work in you will carry it out unto completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
He began a good work of healing in me. He began an even greater work of allowing me to conceive this little miracle. I know that He will finish what He has started if I let Him. I do not want to get in the way of His special promises. I have been released from this burden and forgiven for making it an idol. I will always be in remission, bearing an invisible scar, relying on the perfect strength of God to make it through each day.
I’ve been given a wonderful husband who has seen me through my darkest hour and who continues to shower me with encouragement and blessing. I’m so thankful that not only did God demonstrate His love for me through the death and resurrection of Jesus, but He continues to show His love for me through this incredible man who is used mightily to offer strength and compassion when I most need it.
So today, remember to be kind to others. Your words may weigh more than you can even imagine.