Posts Tagged ‘psychological disorders’

Be Kind for Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle

Be Kind--He is Making Everything NewA year ago today one of my high school classmates took his life.

I didn’t know him incredibly well–we had classes together all throughout high school but we weren’t in the same friend group.

The thing I most remember about him is that he was always making people laugh. He was really funny–voted most humorous in our senior class.

If you had asked me what I thought about him in high school I would have said he was goofy and didn’t take anything seriously.

I think that’s why hearing that he had committed suicide was not only incredibly sad but was also shocking. I had written him off as this silly guy without realizing that he was facing a very real fight.

He wasn’t funny because he was incapable of being serious or facing the dark parts of life. He was funny despite his battle because he desired to bring joy and light into other people’s lives.

His suicide was a wake-up call for me to extend more grace and more kindness to those around me because the reality is that we never know the extent of the battle they’re facing.

So today I think about my classmate and the many lives he touched and I pray that his memory continues to bring light to people even though he is gone.

If you are struggling, visit web please know that you’re not alone, thumb even if you feel profoundly lonely. Calling the Suicide Prevention Lifeline Number can be a good first step: 1-800-273-8255

When relapse happens

When Relapse Happens

Trigger warning: drugs, website addiction, decease relapse, herbal eating disorder, depression, anxiety

I was sitting in a cafe today, reading various theology essays for one of my classes while also listening to some music. I ended up turning on Macklemore, just needing to listen to something different. What I wasn’t expecting was to start tearing up right there in the coffee shop. I was listening to Starting Over off The Heist album and its honesty and vulnerability really struck me, as well as its connections to my own journey and story. Starting Over is, in a way, a follow up to his song Otherside, which Macklemore wrote about his journey to getting sober.

*Both of these songs have swear words*

Here is Otherside (this is the remix):

I’ve seen my people’s dreams die
I’ve seen what they can be denied
And “weeds not a drug” – that’s denial
Groundhog Day like repeat each time
I’ve seen Oxycontin take three lives
I grew up with them, we used to chief dimes
I’ve seen cocaine bring out the demons inside
Cheatin’ and lyin’
Friendship cease, no peace in the mind
Stealin’ and takin’ anything to fix the pieces inside
Broken, hopeless, headed nowhere
Only motivation for what the dealer’s supplying
That rush, that drug, that dope
Those pills, that crumb, that roach
Thinkin’ I would never do that, not that drug
And growing up nobody ever does
Until your stuck, lookin’ in the mirror like I can’t believe what I’ve become
Swore I was goin’ to be someone
And growing up everyone always does
We sell our dreams and our potential
To escape through that buzz
Just keep me up, keep me up
Hollywood here we come

And here is Starting Over:

Somebody stops me and says, “Are you Macklemore?
Maybe this isn’t the place or time
I just wanted to say that if it wasn’t for Otherside I wouldn’t have made it.”
I just look down at the ground and say thank you
She tells me she has 9 months and that she’s so grateful
Tears in her eyes, looking like she’s gonna cry. Fuck!
I barely got 48 hours, treated like I’m some wise monk
I wanna tell her I relapsed but I can’t
I just shake her hand and tell her congrats
Get back to my car and I think I’m tripping yea
Cuz God wrote Otherside, that pen was in my hand
Im just a flawed man, man I fucked up up
Like so many others I just never thought I would
I never thought I would, didn’t pick up the book
Doin it by myself, didn’t turn out that good

If I can be an example of getting sober
Then I can be an example of starting over
If I can be an example of getting sober
Then I can be an example of starting over

Whew that last line gets me every time. Otherside continues to help people get sober, and yet Starting Over is just as important because we all need reminders that our relapses are not the end of our stories.

My own personal journey is different from Macklemore’s. I’ve never struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, but I have struggled with an eating disorder, depression, and anxiety. I am very open with people about my journey and about the freedom I have now in the Lord. But, at least for me, it’s really easy to get into the mindset that because I have freedom from these things, I will never relapse. And if I do relapse, then that must mean that I have failed in my freedom, I’ve failed God, and I’ve messed up my testimony. And that thinking makes it so difficult to be open with and share struggles that I still have.

There are days that I look at my body and I don’t feel like a new creation. My mind starts going and I fall back into eating disorder thoughts. 

After months of being depression free I experience another depressive episode and then another and I don’t want to admit that it’s actually depression.

Then out of nowhere I find myself triggered and my anxiety rushes back and I don’t know how to respond except to shut down.

God has been teaching me a lot about what it means to live in freedom.

–I’m starting to understand that to live in freedom means to live free of the shame that accompanies struggling.

–He’s teaching me that the sooner I can lean in to community and let people know that I’m hurting, the faster I experience freedom again because Satan operates in secrecy and darkness.

–And I’m learning that relapsing doesn’t change the fact that I am a new creation and that I live in Christ’s freedom. I belong to Jesus and Satan has no authority over me. My identity is freedom and that cannot be shaken or taken away from me. My relapses do not define me or change the fact that my story is about God’s continual faithfulness to me.

We need more stories of freedom from addiction and eating disorders and depression and trauma. But we also need more stories of people bravely starting over again.

Let’s keep writing our stories together, armed with grace and love for ourselves and the power of Christ.

What Causes Eating Disorders? Biological, Social, Psychological, and Spiritual Factors

eating disorder awareness-what causes eating disorders? Biological, <a href=page Social, troche Psychological, and Spiritual Factors” src=”http://www.heismakingeverythingnew.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/eating-disorder-awareness-what-causes-eating-disorders-Biological-Social-Psychological-and-Spiritual-Factors.jpg&#8221; width=”600″ height=”600″ />

Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist and am not trained in eating disorder treatment or prevention. I struggled with disordered eating/eating disorders for 12 years and I am now in recovery. My purpose behind writing these posts is to start the conversation about eating disorders, which continue to be misunderstood and stigmatized, share my experience with those who have eating disorders or know others who do, and to hopefully give some clarity and understanding about these complicated and dangerous diseases. I also want to give hope that recovery is possible!
Trigger warnings: In all of my posts about eating disorders, I try to be very sensitive and avoid triggering language. However, the reality is that I am talking about eating disorder thoughts and behaviors and recognize that these posts could trigger people struggling with EDs. If you think that these posts could be the least bit triggering for you, please do not read them. The last thing I want to do is to set anyone back in their recovery process.

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I believe that there is real spiritual warfare going on in and around us right now in this world, and I believe this for many reasons including the vast Biblical evidence and my own personal experience. As someone who has suffered from a variety of psychological disorders during my life and who is working to become a therapist, I frequently think about the intersection of psychological disorders and the battles taking place in the spiritual realm. While that is a topic way too big to address in this one post, and I honestly have not come to a complete conclusion of what I believe is the relationship between the demonic and psychological disorders, in this post I’m going to give you a few of my thoughts on why people get eating disorders.

So why do people struggle with eating disorders? Here are the three factors typically mentioned:

1. Biological factors there have been a lot of studies done that show the biological roots of eating disorders (here is just one study). Just as people can be born predisposed towards schizophrenia, alcoholism, and mood disorders, some people are born predisposed to developing eating disorders. Think about it this way: the vast majority of women in the U.S. will diet at least once in their lives, they are all exposed to similar media messages, they come from a variety of socioeconomic statues and family backgrounds, and yet there are estimated to be around 8-9 million women in the U.S. who suffer from eating disorders…that’s only about 3% of the population. So how is it that some women develop EDs and others don’t? Part of the answer is biology. It is estimated that 50-80% of the risk for developing EDs is due to genetic/biological factors.

2. Social Factors Just because you’re predisposed to eating disorders biologically doesn’t mean that you will necessarily have an ED at some point in your life. Social and environmental factors do play a sometimes very large role in the development of EDs. These factors might include things such as being emotionally, physically, or sexually abused, growing up in a high-pressure home where parents placed an emphasis on physical appearance or were always dieting, lack of healthy social friendships and relationships, being bullied, participating in a high-pressure activity such as modeling, the entertainment industry, or competitive dancing, etc. Sometimes these situations can “activate” a biological predisposition.

3. Psychological Factors- these factors include things like low self esteem and suffering from another mental disorder such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or OCD. There is also work being done to see what sort of temperament traits, such as perfectionism, could influence the onset of eating disorders.

I think one thing that is important to remember is that Christians have biological, social, and psychological factors that influence the onset of their eating disorders, just as non Christians do, which is why I’m a huge advocate for everyone with eating disorders to receive treatment from a psychologist who specializes in treating EDs or from a specialized treatment center. I see a troubling trend in the Church where Christians struggling with serious mental disorders receive prayer and perhaps some counseling from their pastor (who most likely doesn’t have a Masters or Ph.D in clinical psychology or mental health treatment) and then don’t get any treatment from trained professionals. Eating disorders are very real and dangerous diseases that typically require treatment.

PLEASE don’t hear me saying that prayer doesn’t really work and God doesn’t really heal because I absolutely know He does. It was God who ultimately brought me healing and recovery from my eating disorder (although the many years of therapy I had were absolutely elemental in the process), but I have also seen the Lord work to bring freedom through therapy. Healing is such a huge topic that I don’t have time to address now (and also don’t have all the answers to), but if you’re interested in some of my views about prayer and healing, read this post.

With that being said, do I believe that spiritual warfare plays a part in eating disorders in addition to the biological, social, and psychological factors? The short answer is yes, I do. Here’s a breakdown:

1. Biological factors- We live in a fallen world and as a result of that our bodies suffer in ways they were never intended to. I believe that living in a fallen world has messed with our bodies, meaning that biological predispositions to diseases, including eating disorders, are not something that God creates in people, but rather are a result of our broken world that He never wanted for us. With this perspective, you can say that Satan contributes to the onset of eating disorders because he is the one causing turmoil and brokenness in this world.

2. Social factors- I believe that the Bible teaches us that everyone has freewill to disobey the will of God. This means that people have the freewill to abuse people, bully people, pressure them, etc. The social factors that contribute to eating disorders are in no way ordained by God, but I do believe that they can be influenced by Satan. I believe that when people do evil things like abuse, assault, insult, or bully others, their actions can be influenced by the grip of Satan over their lives. Here is a post where I address the tension between good and evil in this world, including some ideas of why bad things happen.

3. Psychological factors- One psychological factor that influences the onset of eating disorders, as mentioned above, is the presence of other mental disorders. I believe that Satan can and does influence these other disorders just as he does eating disorders. Another major aspect of eating disorders is low self esteem and the unhealthy thought life that accompanies low self esteem. In my post What an Eating Disorder Sounds Like, I shared the constant mental struggle I was faced with every single day as I battled my eating disorder. This is where I most saw the demonic most manifest itself in my eating disorder struggle. I am not sure if I would say that Satan caused my eating disorder–I think my ED was the result of my mind and body doing the best they could to protect me from some pretty terrible things happening in my life by giving me a coping mechanism. But whether or not my eating disorder was directly caused by the work of the Enemy, it was absolutely maintained and worsened by the work of Satan. The terrible things I thought about myself and the hatred I had towards my very being were from the Enemy. Satan was so entrenched in my mind that he was able to make me believe in my heart that God did not love me anymore. Healing from my eating disorder consisted of replacing disordered coping mechanisms and attitudes about food with healthy ones, but the deepest work of healing happened in my soul where I had to allow the Lord to speak truth into my life. My real recovery came with the reestablishment of my relationship with God and with me holding firmly to the truth that I am loved, adored, and known by God.

What are your thoughts about the causes of eating disorders? Do you think that the spiritual realm affects things in our world like psychological disorders?

To learn more about eating disorders, read some more of my posts on the topic by clicking here. 

What an eating disorder sounds like—The life in the mind of an addict

eating disorder awareness- what an eating disordre sounds like-the life in the mind of an addict

Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist and am not trained in eating disorder treatment or prevention. I struggled with disordered eating/eating disorders for 12 years and I am now in recovery. My purpose behind writing these posts is to start the conversation about eating disorders, malady which continue to be misunderstood and stigmatized, thumb  share my experience with those who have eating disorders or know others who do, viagra sale and to hopefully give some clarity and understanding about these complicated and dangerous diseases. I also want to give hope that recovery is possible!
Trigger warnings: In all of my posts about eating disorders, I try to be very sensitive and avoid triggering language. However, the reality is that I am talking about eating disorder thoughts and behaviors and recognize that these posts could trigger people struggling with EDs. If you think that these posts could be the least bit triggering for you, please do not read them. The last thing I want to do is to set anyone back in their recovery process.

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Through my recovery process from my eating disorder, I’ve really come to understand how hard my eating disorder was for my friends and family. I go back and read journal entries from when I was sickest in my ED and I do not recognize myself. I read words and am so sad for the person who wrote them. Writing out the words of this post is sad–facing the reality that I wasn’t living out a full and joyous life in the Lord for so many years is hard. But God is a God who redeems all things–our testimonies have the power to release others from darkness.

I can’t imagine how hard and confusing it is for people who have loved ones with EDs to understand what is going on. I know that I said and did things that were really hurtful to people I loved and I made it really hard for people to be around me. I know that it’s hard to continue being persistent in the way you love, support, and show up for the person in your life struggling with an ED. My purpose behind writing this post is to give you a small glimpse of what it’s like to live with an eating disorder. And even the words I’ve typed in this post are insufficient to explain the burden you carry when you have an eating disorder–it’s painful every moment of every day and it’s with you every moment of every day. I hope that this post will help you understand your loved one who is struggling and help you give them more grace and love.

I also hope it will also encourage you. This post describes my past, but praise the Lord it does not describe my present and will not describe my future! The Lord is so faithful. Recovery is possible. But I’m letting you know now- it’s not going to be an easy road and it’s not going to be a short road. Be gentle on yourself as you try to love someone in your life who right now is probably not very easy to love. But also be unrelenting in the way that you pursue them, love them, support them, forgive them, and pray for them. 

Here it goes.

I’m sitting with my friend at a worship night. The pastor is giving a powerful message about God lifting away past baggage, hurts, and pains and bringing healing. All I can think about is the fact that my friend and I are going to Sonic after this.

Am I going to get anything to eat? A milkshake? A milkshake and a burger? Burger and fries? Milkshake and fries? How many calories in a milkshake? How much have I eaten today? I didn’t really have dinner but I don’t know about the milkshake. What about just a burger? What do I weigh? Have I gained weight lately? Does my workout cancel out enough milkshake calories? What is the pastor talking about? Burdens? Sounds about right. Maybe fries and the milkshake will be the best combination. What is my friend going to eat?

This was not a one-time occasion. This was my life.

Every day I would go to school. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

Talk with friends. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

Go to church. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

Spend time with my family. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

Do homework. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

Watch TV. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

Shoot a photo session. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

Bake. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

Workout. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

Spend time with God. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

At night I would lie in bed, unable to sleep for hours. Every bite of food I had eaten that day would haunt me. I would pinch the fat on my body, stare at it in the mirror. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

The panic would build. It’s 2am. Just do 100 crunches. Then 100 more. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

The irrationality of it all is astounding, but it all seems rational in the moment…I have saran wrap in my room from a project I was working on. I should saran wrap my stomach…that will make me feel better. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

It’s 3am. Let’s write out a list of all the food I ate today and how many calories it was. Then I’ll cut it in half and that’s what I’ll eat tomorrow. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

I walk around feeling so empty. It’s late at night and I’m in the kitchen. I start eating. In my mind I’m screaming, “I’m not hungry! I don’t want this food!” But I can’t stop. I’m powerless. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

I go to bed feeling ashamed. How much do I weigh? I need to be better tomorrow. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

God, take this from me. I don’t want to live this way anymore. No! Don’t let anyone take this from you! You have to be in control! You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

I sit in my classroom through lunch. I’ve already finished the half of a sandwich I packed so I sit at the computer and bookmark another twenty recipes I want to make. I want food. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

This is not a life worth living. I have an eating disorder and need help. You’re wrong. You’re way too fat to have an eating disorder. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

I got an A on my exam. Good job, you’ve avoided embarrassing yourself this time. But next time you’ll probably fail because you’re a failure. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

I hear mean, rude, hurtful words coming out of my mouth. I see my relationships with my friends and family members disintegrate in front of me. But I’m powerless to stop it. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

“Oh, how He loves us, oh how He loves us, how He loves us.” But God doesn’t really love you. How could He love a worthless piece of crap like you? You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

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In recovery, getting rid of eating disorder behaviors is hard, but even that is easy compared to getting rid of the thoughts. It’s the thoughts that plague you ever single day. You may look like you have it together on the outside but on the inside you’re fighting a war.

Psychological disorders are hard and messy and confusing. I encourage you if you have a loved one struggling with an ED, don’t assume that you know what they’re going through. Ask them questions, even if it’s hard. Read memoirs about people struggling with EDs and ask them how their experience relates to that of the book authors. Use this post to start a conversation. Keep showing up in their life–their ED tells them that they aren’t loved, aren’t worth anyone’s time or attention- don’t let their ED win. And please, please, please, help them seek proper treatment. And please, please, please, never stop praying for them, for a total defeat of the Enemy.

Need to read something encouraging after this post? Here is my post where I talk about my recovery from my eating disorder.

Want to learn more about eating disorders? Click here to read other posts I’ve written on the topic.