Nacole’s Anorexia-Bulimia Story: Fumbling towards Destruction

So I began stumbling down this dark path, numb and despondent me, groping along as if blind. And somewhere around the age of 12 or 13, I began to have an aversion to eating. Greasy hamburgers made my stomach turn, and when placed in front of me, I begrudgingly ate a few small bites, and then threw it up.

I was so dislocated from everyone else. They were all enjoying the meal together and talking and laughing but it was like I was on the outside of a dark glass, looking in, unable to join in, this depressed bubble impermeable. I did not like mealtime–I spent my time closed off in the bathroom–isolated, all alone. Paranoia consumed me. When anyone made a comment about how little or how much I ate, the paranoia wrestled me to the ground and strangled me. I suffocated under the weight of this monster. I couldn’t breathe.

The only comfort to me was the only thing familiar–me–just the way I’d always been. The little girl me was scared and didn’t want to change, didn’t want hips, extra fat, things I didn’t recognize–I was losing me. Maybe I was trying to control a life that felt a little like it was on a runaway train. Maybe this was the way I reacted to the negative things said about me–I self-inflicted pain.

I scratched at the wounds and let them bleed out.

No one had to teach me to throw up; I just had an innate response to emptiness.

Maybe I thought if I hugged the cold round bowl enough and let everything force its way out, I could force-empty myself of the pain. But the more I did, the further I sunk into misery and numbness. As the days went by, I ate less and less.

My mother took me to the doctor to figure out what was wrong…why did I lie on my bed all the time and read? Why didn’t I go outside and play like other kids my age? Why did I drag around, listless, no energy? The doctor said there was nothing wrong–suggested vitamins and a well-balanced diet.

Sliding down the hallway doorpost, 14, I was a slumped mess and tears pouring, a girl completely lost and alone. My father had taken a job as a pastor, moved us to a new state where the girls were mean and didn’t like new-comers and pushed me down a flight of stairs. Every day at school they hounded me hard, wrote cruel poems about me, laid them on my desk, snickered as I read, my face flaming hot. They tried to make me ashamed of who I was, hated me and wanted me to hate myself too.

My only solace was the dark sanctuary and seeking God in music at the piano where a young man too old for me would come in and stand behind, bend down, breathe on my neck, lips close to my ear as I played–wherever I went, he would always find me.

My parents were at the church almost every day working and most of the time my sister was there with me–but I was so lonely for relationship and the safety of home. This day I was there by myself, in a heap in the floor, the wet hot liquid boiling over, no friends, and I huddled and rocked back and forth, home silent and dark.

And dark were the places I went to in my mind.

I lie there in the lukewarm tub, holding the razor and thinking hard on how nice it would be to end it all, the blade to my wrist, Satan hovering, his grip tight.

Then a knock came to the door.

Someone had come to my rescue.

My Father had come to check on me–wanted to know if I was okay. The Holy Spirit had prompted him that something was wrong and to see about me. I got out of the tub and eventually came out of the bathroom.

My parents talked and prayed with me, confronted me about what they felt was going on with me. I was balled so tight with a mix of hurt, abuse, despair and depression, and I broke open and began to shake uncontrollably. My father brought juice to calm me down and my mother looked me right in the eye and prayed against Satan’s tight control over me.

I can’t really explain what happened, but in that moment I was healed. Satan left because God was in the midst. His presence was powerful to save and I was so thankful my parents loved me enough to intervene for me like that. Love drives away all fear.

I still had emotions and habits that tended toward anorexia–but I felt the freedom of what it feels like to recover and get better day by day. I began to laugh and smile. I continued to exercise, and I also ate. My parents encouraged me and kept me accountable.

There were times, even years down the road, of short relapse and I would lie in bed, after only eating grapes that day, happy with my caving-in stomach and the feeling of hunger and the control I exercised over it.

But God’s truth prevailed in my life.

Today, I still sometimes look at myself in the mirror, and I don’t like the girl that I see. The years of self-abuse left its mark on me and the abuse and taunting from others, they cut deep wounds that needed stitching and I see threads of hate woven throughout my life still. I am hard on myself. I judge myself harshly according to society’s strict marginal laws beauty falls within. Our culture with its shallow view of beauty, with air-brushed models in swimsuits, hands us a standard to strive toward that doesn’t even exist. It’s an illusion and my human mind spins to keep up. It’s a mirage and my sight is distorted.

But God.

God’s grid and His definition of beauty are different. There is no specific margin for height, width, number on the scale, or size of clothing with God.

And so, as I grow from girl to woman, and more babies come, and hips spread to give life, skin stretches and sags, I place my identity and my beauty in His hands, and I draw from that deep, deep well of His love and acceptance.

And as I begin to walk out this love and acceptance, it isn’t something that happens overnight, but as with all of life, it is by process that I learn this, extending to the marrow of me–I begin to figure out, as one of my commenters reminded me:

“Your adornment (is) the interior disposition of the heart, consisting in the imperishable quality of a gentle and peaceful spirit, so precious in the sight of God” 1 Peter 3:4….
The Message says it this way: “What matters is not your outer appearance–the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes–but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way, and were good, loyal wives to their husbands.” 1 Peter 3:4, The Message

This is what God says about my beauty, about this frail, human body:
“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God–you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration–what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life prepared before I’d even lived one day. Your thoughts–how rare–how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them! I couldn’t even begin to count them–anymore than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you! ” Psalms 139:13-18, The Message

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction in on her tongue. Proverbs 31:25,26, NIV

“Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.” Proverbs 31:30, The Message

My Prayer:
God, I want real beauty. I want to be a servant with worn spots of motherhood on me. Let me wear the work apron in place of fine jewels and instead of being obsessed with lashes lavished with makeup, let me have eyes that are a place of found grace when my kids have fallen into sin, not lingerie-store pushed up and out, but a soft breast for little ones to fall asleep on, and not a perfect hour-glass figure, but a wife and mother that prays on the hour for You to come love them through me, and not a mother who checks herself in the mirror, mumbling insults in front of little ears, but a mother and wife that whispers in the ears of those she loves the beauty that a God-made heart holds….

If you want to read the first part of this story, you can go here to Nacole’s blog…


37 thoughts on “Nacole’s Anorexia-Bulimia Story: Fumbling towards Destruction

  1. I didn’t know this part of your story, but I am humbled by your sharing. What replays in my head is that moment with your mother, when she looked hard into your eyes and prayed for your release. God is good and faithful. I am so glad I know you.

  2. Wow, Nacole. First I love you so much that words cannot say! You are my beautiful first born daughter and very precious to me. That night all I knew is that God told me to put Satan in his place by the authority that Jesus has given us thru his blood being shed on the cross for us!!! Beautiful woman of God and beautiful, courageous story of healing and restoration. I as your mother am very thankful. I knew we were leaving ya’ll too much and I knew of the times you got in the car totally defeated and drepressed. But God is gonna take care of you!! As he always did!!!!! Love u, MaMa

  3. Thanks for sharing in honesty and authenticity. And the fact that your parents were sensitive to the Holy Spirit and loved you that way is such a gift. My husband is a pastor and I have a daughter that I worry over this way. This encourages me.

  4. Thanks for your honest authenticity here. I know it took courage and vulnerability. I am so encouraged by the sensitivity to the Holy Spirit by your parents and your receptivity to them. My husband is a pastor, we have moved a few times and I worry over my daughter regarding some the things you speak of here. Thanks for this Nacole.

    • oh Shelly, thank *you* for being so honest and being vulnerable with me here, friend. every word spoken here has ministered to my soul. i am sorry for your daughter–i know how hard it is. i will pray for her and for your family, sweet lady. blessings and love to you.

  5. Nacole…you have a brave heart…I love to see how God is continuing to let all His love bring all your beauty forth. great job my friend:)

  6. I’m not sure I took a breath as I was reading this today. I’ve waited all week (NOT patiently) to hear your story, and I could almost hear that “publish” button click. I always knew from the moment I found your blog that the Lord had a purpose for your life and had great things planned. Now, as I read this, all of that has been confirmed. And I just love your Momma. What a wise, sensitive, discerning person she is! Thank you for opening up like this, for laying bare your heart, and giving us a glimpse down this path you walked. You are such a blessing!

    • oh Cora, you always leave me a little speechless. you are an *amazing* friend. “that the Lord had a purpose for your life and had great things planned.”–a friend could utter no better words. i love my Mama too, and love you, dear woman.

  7. Ugh Nacole, I left a nice long comment and ate it. Anyway it basically said that I know how the darkness tugs at you – I never knew details – but I know a little of your heart my friend. I can’t say I enkoyed reading this – I couldn’t enjoy reading the pain and hurt of a friend. But I’m glad I know. And you have soul beuty my friend – the best kind. Your words, as always were beautiful. your strong heart shines through them. God bless you and all of yours my friend.

    • ha ha! Craig, you *always* make me laugh or smile– ate it–im glad im not the only one. how could i expect you to enjoy it–you who feel so deeply? i understand, friend. *thank you*, my brother and my friend–thank you for so much.

    • well, Alene, you took my breath away with that one. i think i will say this to myself over and over for at least a few days–“you are beautiful, marvelously made and breathtaking inside and out.” oh–i loved every word of this–your words so brave. yes, friend–he *is* a liar. blessings to you.

  8. Thanks for so bravely and beautifully sharing your story; So glad that you had parents that listened to God and prayed over you. You are amazing and you shine forth His beauty and grace…{{{HUGS}}} dear Nacole.

  9. Nacole I have so much to say but I don’t know if I can say it all. I just know that I had such an overwhelming response to this. My eyes are wet and my head is hurting and my nose full. We have such a different experience growing up and it just amazes me. You, the thin one driven to be thinner and not eat. Me, the short fat one driven to food and gaining more and more weight! Both of us hating ourselves and not knowing really why! I had no idea you were doing that at 12yrs of age. Just like you didn’t know I was hiding and eating! Unfortunately, I am a stuffer, so in a way that made me “stronger.” I was able to make it out less damaged. I think however that means that there is so much lurking beneath the surface. I will be 30 in 4mos and still I battle severe depression like I did when I was a teen. My survival method is to ignore it ALL! As I read this my heart broke for you; the you now who is struggling to recover and especially the scare little girl who didn’t know who she was and why she didn’t belong. I just knew I was an ugly nobody who would forever be living vicariously through my beautiful older sister! Things have changed though haven’t they?! While we still bare the scars of those experiences and may still be struggling to understand them and ourselves, we are no longer those same lost girls! Well atleast not in EVERY way. I’m still a little lost lol! I just know that God wants to heal us completely and allow us to not take our children down the same distructive paths! It’s funny how alone we both felt while we had so much to hold us together….if only we had known.

    By the way, I may have only been 12yrs old and barely 5feet but I would have fought that girl in Many,LA and I would do it now! I didn’t care that she was 5’10” and could hurt me, she talked about my sister and you just don’t do that!!!! That was the first time I used a cuss word in public lol!

    I love you

    • ha ha! {sigh}….ok, so laughing may not be the best response to your comment, sweet sister, but that last part made me giggle out loud. and sigh and shake my head….at just all of it. that you had to go through all of that, that we didnt really know how to help one another through it, that you are still dealing with so much. i love you and im *always* here for you. praying for you–you are always, unceasingly on my heart–except when im scraping banana peel off the floor and yelling at my kids about spilled boxes of cheerios–love you dear girl, *deeply*.

  10. Thank you for breaking your heart open here, Nacole.
    Just so real.

    So awesome to come out of the darkness and into the Light.
    Putting your story into the hands of the Author of life . . . where it belongs.

    You inspire courage in me, friend. Perhaps someday I’ll write my own journey of a similar path . . .

    Bless you.

  11. i love the affirmations you give yourself from scripture…and i am glad you had a loving earthly father there to comfort you as well…you have a powerful story and one that will touch lives…

  12. Wow! I’m in tears. I remember how is was when your body starts changing and all of the people around you are too. Nothing stays the same. I remember longing for the days of simple and innocent. But then puberty hits and everyone is trying to stand out and not get lost in crowd. I didn’t go through anorexia or bulimia, but I did suffer through depression. I just couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.
    My own daughter is knocking on the door of tweendom and it scares me silly. I try to make sure every day she knows how beautiful she is, and not because of the outward but because of the light that lives in her. I’m always looking for signs of depression or the beginnings of trouble. I want to be able to stop Satan in his tracks.
    Thanks for willingly sharing your story. You are a blessing!!

  13. So much pain. So much truth. I shame myself for wishing I could be this sick, but instead I’m fat. Knowing it’s my own way of stuffing my feelings down deep to ignore, but instead they show on the outside. I know I have to live in this visual world, but I long to be free of it and home, where I won’t feel judged.

  14. I too clicked over from imperfect prose. Beautifully written and though my heart aches for you, I praise God for using it for his glory. You seem so very beautiful. Thank you!

  15. Your story is redemption. Beautifully written. And I love your prayer, “I want to be a servant with worn spots of motherhood on me.” Me too.

  16. Oh, Nacole – I know those mean girls -the going inside yourself, reading, reading, reading just to get away from it all. Like you, God saved me, watched out for me, protected me. Beautiful sister! Your story ministers to my heart!

  17. What a wonderful story of the power of a parent’s prayers over their children. It gives me hope. Thank you, Nacole, for sharing this very personal part of your life. I know you are just as beautiful on the inside as you are on the out. (and visa versa)

  18. Nacole. This is just a gripping, hope-filled post — proof that God can redeem all things. Thank you, thank you for sharing. Your words are touching hearts, and will continue to do so.

  19. Pingback: Anorexia god | Imageyoo

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