What you are about to read is one woman’s recovery journey up-close, personal, and in real time. Rhonda Stinson, my longtime friend and sister in Christ, has been battling an eating disorder for a very long time. She is ready to be free! Over the coming weeks and months, Rhonda has agreed to share her journey with us – the good, the bad, and the ugly. We pray that you are encouraged and empowered through her story.
The footprints we leave behind show clearly where we have been, but they do not dictate where we can now go. ~Ralph Martson
By Rhonda Stinson
Looking back: As I became increasingly engrossed in my eating disorder, I also became increasingly afraid of food. I lived on oyster crackers, pretzels, charred cabbage and extremely watered down tomato soup for many years. I didn’t even receive full nutrition from these because I was vomiting up everything I ate. One day, I decided I’d count the number of times I purged in one day. I stopped at 26. Anything that hit my mouth came back up. I would only buy mints and candies that were 1-7 calories each. The list of fear foods is endless. I can remember going to bed every night for years and crying in anguish and despair. This was not just a normal everyday cry, but was heaving cries from the depths of the soul. One January day I woke up and just stopped purging. This happened when I was in my early 20’s. I went 7 years, no purging, not even a strong urge. I began to purge again for another 2 years. Between the purging, over-exercise, malnutrition and Type 1 diabetes, it’s a true miracle I’m alive today to write about it. No fat and no calorie/low-calorie foods were the only kind I ingested. You may think, big whoopdeedoo, so she added a bun or ate cheese; but when you’re in an addiction and you eat something that is “restricted”, it’s like a tiny raft blowing up an armored battleship. It’s major!!!
June 30: My parents and I began the first half of our 8 hour road trip to see my brother and his family in North Carolina. I never would have done this trip before because it would have meant very little exercise and foods that I would not eat. A life change has now begun and I’m “ready for the ride”. Ate my first Wendy’s chili and even ate the crackers! It was absolutely delicious and I’m so happy I could scream. I generally eat sugar-free pudding before bed, but I was so hungry I allowed myself to have a turkey wrap. I can just imagine the nutrients penetrating into my body.
July 2: The continental breakfast became a monumental milestone today. I ate 4 single serve boxes of cereal with 2 cartons of milk and a yogurt. My stomach was like an abyss. I don’t even remember the last time I’ve eaten cereal; maybe I’ve never had it before. Hmmm. I’ve become accustomed to eating alone in order to keep my eating behaviors hidden that I fear eating with others. Today, I enjoyed a picnic lunch with all of my family. So this is what it’s like…Wow. So here it is; I chickened out of dinner tonight. I just couldn’t get myself to eat pizza. I’ve had bad experiences with pizza and still have healing that needs to take place in this area. Had anxiety and guilt all evening because I allowed fear to rob me of a family get-together. This is not how I wanted to end the day.
July 3: We ate at Subway today. I ate the entire 6” sub instead of picking off slice of cheese and the majority of the bread and meat like I used to do. Didn’t even allow my mind to begin calculating calories and fat grams. So glad I ate it all. I feel such a sense of peace within.
July 4: On the trip home I was thinking about how God has totally changed my focus and attitude. I’m now intent in bringing Him glory. He has brought me back to life! My faith in God is blossoming into wonderful things like joy, peace and a sense of real fulfillment. May the fireworks begin!
July 5: I’m feeling very down today. It could be due to the fact that we’ve been going nonstop since vacation started and now it’s time to settle back into the old familiar. Appetite flare up at 2:00 pm so I ate a bowl of cereal. When tummy yells “I’m hungry”, I’m now heeding to its call. Walked almost 2 miles with mom and dad tonight.
July 6: Am I at a stagnant point in my recovery? I suppose that even being capable to sit still in one spot to write this is a major breakthrough. “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will bring it to pass. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him”. (Psalm 37:5) My parents can attest to this; waiting patiently has never been one of my strengths. I trust You LORD and commit my way to you. Help me have patience in waiting.
To be continued…