Although I am eating more normally again, my eating disorder continues to scream at me. My stomach bulges, my legs swell, my back is engulfed in wrinkles – all of this plays through my head. Then that voice returns: “And you think that you deserve to eat? Be strong and say no.”
At one time, that voice would have pushed me into a dark place and near to death. Right now, it still bothers me but more by telling me how worthless I am for not listening to it. Instead of focusing on ED, however, I must keep tuning into the voice of wisdom.
Wisdom helps guide us as we learn from life. It is a mixture of practicality, intelligence, humility, listening, willingness to learn, and strength of character. Others teach us wisdom, but we also must learn it for ourselves from experience. This process can be painful but also rewarding and exciting.
At times, my voice of wisdom is drowned out by the mental illness’ voices clamoring in my head. Hard as I try, I cannot hear her guidance. At other times, my eating disorder or anxiety might imitate wisdom and make me think that their path aligns with her ways.
During these moments, having someone to turn to for help in finding my voice of wisdom is essential. For me, that is my wonderful mother. She is always willing to speak the truth and help me. At times, her frustration at my disordered voices sends stinging arrows at my confused thoughts. As her instensity rises, mine does too until we are both teetering on the top of a volcano about to erupt. However, I am there because my voices want me to jump in while my mother is there to yank me to safety, putting her own life at risk. I cannot thank her enough for being that voice of wisdom. Despite the difficult moments and angry phone calls, she continues to fight to help me because she loves me.
There are others who are also helping me to locate and identify wisdom: my therapist with her thoughtful approach, Christine with her humorous but genuine prodding, Celine and others at school who try to show me how they truly see me instead of my distorted self-image, and so many more people. All of them I am very thankful to for their great help.
Still, finding the wisdom is something that I must work at myself. Prayer, time to process information, walks alone, and writing help me to do this. Lately, I have little time for any of that. Hopefully, that sense of constant rushing with no room for breathing will end soon. My wise voice is loud enough to say that my life is too busy and must change. Even I can hear that.