From the Bitterness of Disease

(Possible triggers?  Not much or even great detail, but it would be unfair not to warn you.)

I have an appointment next week with a nutritionist.  I’m having a hard time processing that fact, a hard time understanding why that’s even necessary.  I have an even harder time, given that I will be paying out of pocket for this and I’m not really convinced that I need to do it.

It’s difficult to remember that I’m not healthy – physically, emotionally, or spiritually.  Difficult because everywhere I turn, people commend me on my willpower, my weight loss, my “healthful lifestyle.”  Even people who are in my inner circle – people who have walked through the last seven months of relapse with me and watched me cry over meals and pounds – make these comments.  Because I am not anorexic, not 80 pounds with every bone showing, I must be okay.  I’m not that thin, so I must not be sick.

But I am, and in moments of true clarity, I recognize that.  It is the reason that I struggle to love and trust God, the reason I have to devote many more months and possibly years to the work of healing before I can enter into my calling as a missionary.  It’s more subtle than the anorexic or bulimic who is so sick s/he must go into an inpatient treatment, but it is there.

The way I am cold and shivering in 70 degree weather while wearing a sweatshirt is sickness.
The way I wobble and have to grasp the rail on the way upstairs so I don’t fall and drop the baby is sickness.
The skin that cracks and bleeds at the slightest provocation, then refuses to heal for weeks is sickness.
The mottled purple-blue of my skin is sickness.
The hair that falls out, breaks off, refuses to grow is sickness.
The bruises on my back from bones that don’t have cushion left is sickness.
The new bruises every day across my arms and legs from the smallest bump or pinch is sickness.
The shadow of bones as they become more prominent day by day is sickness.
The period that gets a little shorter, a little lighter, a little less consistent every month is sickness.

Even knowing that, it is difficult to see myself as sick.  And I have this fear that I will meet this nutritionist next week and she’ll laugh at me for being so fat, for thinking that I could possibly have any issue with food.  I’m not really that screwy about food, right?  Ten years isn’t that long a struggle in the grand scheme, right?

I wish I could end this on a more hopeful note, that this past 30 minutes of writing had led me to some great revelation.  The reality is, I’m terrified of meeting this nutritionist, terrified of what she’ll tell me, terrified of my not being in control of the meal plan any more.  But how I wish and hope and pray for health – and I know this is a small step down that road.


From the bitterness of disease man learns the sweetness of health.  ~Catalan Proverb


2 thoughts on “From the Bitterness of Disease

  1. I might be late for this, but if the nutritionist DOES do that, she is obviously not someone you’d want to work with! A good nutritionist trained to work with eating disorders will be able to help you assess what you need to work on, will ask questions that allow you to share the information you just shared, and will partner with you to work on your recovery in a non-judgmental and empowering way. I have worked with 4 over my recovery and each has contributed something major to my healing. If this one doesn’t work out, make sure you try another. Some people just suck at their jobs. But you definitely deserve help, so make sure you persist until you find someone that can help you!

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