I sat down with a friend for breakfast early Monday morning. As we talked, she remarked that she had never seen me so alive. She wondered where this was coming from, what had happened.
My reply: “An eating disorder. That’s what happened.”
Don’t get me wrong, my eating disorder did not bring me back to life. But it did make me keenly aware of my need for grace, for mercy, for healing, for recovery.
After visiting my family in Kansas this summer, I came back incredibly homesick. I miss my family. It is difficult to be away from them for a year at a time. I wondered why this year was so much harder, why I was failing so miserably at keeping my feelings in check. And then I realized- I had been keeping my feelings in for too long. The homesickness, the sadness, wasn’t a sign that something was wrong, but rather something was incredibly right. It was a sign that I was feeling again. I had been homesick all this time, but I would never allow myself to feel it. I lived in a state of constant numbness. My eating disorder had resurfaced as a way of telling me something was very, very wrong because all the emotional cues that a healthy person would experience were shut down inside of me.
When people think about the word depression, they think of perpetual sadness. And that can be one aspect of it. But for me, it was about perpetual numbness. I never allowed myself to feel the incredible pain and heartache of everything I’ve been through. I also never felt joy or peace or happiness. I functioned externally, but I was internally dead.
Fortunately, I believe in a God who brings the dead to life. And when I am not strong enough to believe in Him, He still believes in me. And he puts incredible friends in my life to hold me in those spaces.
Sitting in that coffee shop on Monday, across from me, was a very brave soul who has stuck with me and kept the faith when I could not.
And that’s what it means to be the body of Christ, to be the Church. We hold to each other as we hold to Christ. Communion was a ham and egg breakfast sandwich and coffee that morning. And I think Jesus was pleased with it.
Tonight as I write this, I am feeling sadness but I am also experiencing hope. I am breathing one breath at a time, walking one step at a time, But not alone.
In this moment, I am alive.
P.S. I wrote this while listening to Simple Minds “Alive and Kicking”. Great song. God bless the Scottish pop bands of the 1980s!