- Janae Janik
After Treatment: Where I've Been, Where I am, and Where I'm Going
It’s been awhile since I last blogged. Almost a year to be more accurate. The thing is I’ve wanted to. But I haven’t.
Not really sure what that’s about. Maybe it was because I didn’t feel I could write about recovery and healthy coping when I was back in the midst of an everyday struggle. Maybe it is avoidance. Maybe it is a refusal to surrender. Maybe there is an aspect of spiritual warfare. I’m not sure.
For eight months I was participating in an intensive eating disorder recovery program. As I was heading into graduation this time last year, I really felt God tugging at my heart telling me it was time to surrender this again. I had let myself crawl back into a destructive pattern of not eating enough and obsessing over calories and weight. Guilt and anxiety consumed my thoughts around food, but I didn't know how to let go. I didn't want to let go, and I was scared of what "recovery" truly meant. (More on that in my next blog.)
But finally, I was able to see that I couldn't fight this battle on my own. So I made the call, and enrolled myself in a program thinking I'd be better in a month or two. Boy, was I wrong!
I had to relearn how to do one of the most basic human functions. Yes, technically I knew how to eat, but not without experiencing intense negative emotions and self-hatred. I needed a team of people to hold me accountable and re-train my brain to see food as energy instead of the enemy. I had to relearn what a normal meal looks like. I had to learn how to give myself permission to eat three meals a day with snacks in between.
That mess takes time!
And it was HARD - way harder than I initially imagined it would be. A mental battle that I do not wish on anyone. And as I contemplated whether or not to be honest about my most recent journey, I realized that if I am so passionate about the power of life lived in vulnerability then I have to be vulnerable about where I’ve been, where I am, and where I'm going.
But even after all that treatment I still struggle. I still see a dietician to work through some of the lingering thought patterns and behaviors. Some days are harder than others. Every day is a thousand choices about whether to live in recovery or stay in my disorder. Do I believe I can one day be fully recovered. Yes, absolutely. But I’m not there yet. And I’m realizing that is okay.
It’s been four years since I initially began struggling with disordered eating and almost three years since I was officially diagnosed with an eating disorder. Alongside that, has been some pretty severe waves of depression and anxiety. And through it all I’ve fought to figure out how this whole faith thing fits into my struggles. Questioning how I could feel so hopeless when I KNEW the God of all hope.
But I’m done living in shame. I’m done thinking I have to have it all figured out in order to have a voice. Cause really, how many of us have it all figured out? Everyone puts on an Instagram filtered smile and presents themselves to the world. But just look around - this world is hurting and broken. Your friends are hurting and broken. The church is more divided than ever. It’s members are hurting and broken.
Where is God in the midst of our deepest pain? That’s where I want this blog to go. Deep. I want this to be a platform that launches you all into discussions with your friends beyond the surface level stuff - into the heart of Christianity. God's love for the brokenhearted.
I'm more free around food now than I've been in years. I have more mental energy for the things I truly value. (Who knew there's so much more to life than calculating what and what not to eat!) Most importantly, I'm learning to love myself with all my imperfections. I'm learning to love my body for the incredible things it allows me to do. But the key is I'm learning. It's a process and I'm just taking it one day at a time.
Maybe you can see a piece of yourself as I open up more about my journey. Or maybe you have a family member or friend who is struggling. Regardless, I hope you’ll join me again, read my posts and share them with friends, coworkers, and anyone else you think could use some encouragement or needs to be seen.
Because without vulnerability we can never experience the intimacy of real human connection.
“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” - Timothy Keller.