Stop looking at the grave clothes

So now I have died (see my last post about dying to sin), what do I need to do now?

Well, I could be wrong, but I think I need to stop looking back at the past, and the old me, and live as the new me. I have spent a lot of time living as if I was still ill, if that makes sense, even though it was over. I am not saying I should be reckless and expose myself to triggers like buying loads of chocolate and seeing if I manage not to eat it. No, what I am saying is that I need to be in the light and not living as if I still can’t see.

C.S. Lewis talks about this in the Last Battle. At the end of time the children and the citizens of Narnia go to Aslan’s country – they have died and are essentially in Heaven (the Narnia books are an analogy about creation and Christ and sacrifice and heaven – too much to list really). But they are still bumping into things as if they were in the dark stable where they died. Aslan tries to tell them they are free but they don’t believe it, so they don’t enjoy the fullness of being free, they live as captives in the darkness.

“Starting a new lie! Trying to make us believe we’re none of us shut up, and it ain’t dark, and heaven knows what,” the dwarfs said.

….

“They will not let us help them,” Aslan explained. “They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own mind, yet they are in that prison…”

That is what I had been doing; still considering myself as ill and still focusing all my time and attention on trying to stop being ill. Even though it was over I believed the Father of Lies (Satan) when he said that I was still a captive to food and bulimia. God’s truth is that the Josie who was that person is no longer. Time to stop looking at the grave clothes and focus on being renewed and born again.

Now instead of spending my time thinking about binging, deciding whether or not to binge, trying not to binge, trying to distract myself or just prodding that sore tooth to see if I wanted to binge, my focus is no longer on this sort of thing. I am not addicted any more so I don’t need to spend time thinking about it. I need to seek first the Kingdom of God and spend time trying to further His Kingdom and be salt and light in the world and show His love to others. If I fill my world with that I am switching the light on rather than trying to dispel the darkness. God is the light of the world and He will do all the hard work, not me.

That doesn’t mean that I will forget my experiences. I still want to help others and use what I have been through to show others the way to true freedom. I still want to write my book and this blog to show that you are not alone and that there is hope and you too can be free. You can still message me and ask questions. I believe God has called me to share my testimony to as many as possible to help them to be healed and to bring them to Him. Nothing is more important than salvation. Even if I was not healed, being saved is priceless.

Take care everyone and keep going,

Love Josie xx

 

Advertisements

Praise the Lord, I’m dead!

Sound weird? No, I am not physically dead – I am very much alive. Nor am I spiritually dead – in fact I am more alive than ever. I am dead to sin.

I have only just learnt that when Christ was crucified, my old self died with him. I always knew the phrase ‘born again’ and I thought it meant that you were different after becoming a Christian, and had new life. I didn’t realise how literal it was.

My Church has recently run a ‘Freedom in Christ’ course – a kind of discipleship course for Christians. I didn’t do it unfortunately but one day I was in my parents’ house and was feeling really low and desperate and fed up of my eating disorder and, looking back, was suffering from depression. Everything seemed too much and I had no hope. I came across the step to step guide to Freedom in Christ and flicked through it. It is amazing and I was instantly filled with God’s peace and love and hope as I read through the Biblical truths contained in the book. It is meant to be a group activity, and only the outline is given in the book (my mum lent me the DVDs a couple of days ago which will hopefully give me more information and detail), but each word was like an arrow bringing healing to my heart. I will be writing separate posts on each thing I have been blessed with learning recently as otherwise this would be even longer!

I have since downloaded a book by Neil Anderson – Freedom from Addiction. Admittedly I haven’t actually finished the book (or even started reading Anderson’s part of the book) but I have read part 1 which describes a journey through alcoholism and the way out through finding freedom in Christ. When I first read that it was about alcoholism I thought that I wouldn’t relate as I have no issues with alcohol (I don’t really like the taste and I have never even been drunk and haven’t even sipped alcohol since we started using non-alcoholic wine for Holy Communion). However, it was such a powerful story and I felt understood.

The author of the part of the book in question was Mike Quarles who tried every different type of treatment for alcoholism, including AA and Christian treatment centres. He was also a minister for a while before his descent into alcoholism. One day he discovered that he had died, which freed him.

It sounds strange, and I told my mum about it and I don’t think she really grasped what I why this was so exciting to me (even though she agreed with the theology that we are dead to sin when we are Christians). But I have been praying that I would be able to eat like a normal person. I begged God and I thought he was saying that he wasn’t going to make that happen because I need to rely on Him and it is my eating disorder that drew me to Him. I think that was true for a time – it was my knowledge of my weakness and His great power that made me depend on God. If it wasn’t for my desperation to stop binging, I would have kept God as an acquaintance as I had before; believing in Him and talking to Him occasionally but never having a personal relationship with Him or listening to Him talking to me.

Now I have a passion in my heart and realise that God is so much greater than a healer. He IS a healer, certainly, but he is much, much more than that. He is saviour and redeemer and Father and friend and counsellor and just all that we need. I was limiting His power when I tried to restrict Him to just being a healer. Now I can’t get my head round how great and powerful He is and how he provides absolutely everything. I don’t have many friends and when I am at college I am all alone so it is great that I have someone who is with me always and not only will listen to me at any time, about anything I want, but will answer me. And more than a friend, he has great power to work in my life and the lives of those around me.

I was wishing to be dead -sometimes even trying to kill myself, because I knew that when I was dead my eating disorder was over. Apart from when I was depressed, I liked being alive and didn’t want to die. In fact, even when I overdosed and tried to jump in front of a train, I didn’t really want to die, I wanted to be free. I wanted it over because it was between dying and living with an eating disorder.

Turns out I was right. Only now I have died but am still alive if that makes sense. So dying was the best thing that could happen to me. I am not the same person anymore. I am a new creation – God has carried out a revival in me. And I shall continue on that theme in my next post!

 

Where have I been?!

I am so sorry, it has been about a year and a half since I last posted. Quick overview (haha, as if I could ever be quick about anything!)…to be honest I don’t think I really wanted to get better. I went into an eating disorder unit and was sectioned but didn’t want to get better so I resisted all efforts to help me and came out worse than I went in. That was last November/December time.

I lost a lot of weight because I was restricting outside of binging. I didn’t think I was thin but looking back I was too thin, and it hurt those around me. Particularly my sister who used to have anorexia and was triggered by my size. It affected my relationship with her and I love her so much so that broke my heart and was perhaps the biggest motivator in deciding to stop restricting, even if I was still happy to binge. At the time of making this decision I was in a general hospital ward after nearly dying from the physical complications of purging. Because my heart was affected I had to come off my medication which meant I had to go into the psychiatric ward after four days, to sort out new medication, which took about a month.

I lost more weight in there and things pretty much carried on like that until about a month later when for some reason I suddenly decided I had had enough of the pain, and living tied to food, so I decided to get better. Not as easy as I thought. Turns out I was completely out of control.

I became very depressed as a result and tried to kill myself because I couldn’t cope with the torture that bulimia is. And ended up in hospital for the fifth time in 11 months. I went on anti-depressants which are really helping me, and have gone onto Risperdal Consta which is an anti-psychotic injection and has made me realised that when I was taking it orally it was hit and miss whether it would stay down which led to withdrawals causing depression and suicidal thoughts, plus stopping it actually working!

The summer was pretty awful though as I was waiting for all my meds to kick in, plus I just binged all the time. I would wake up at 9am and start binging and do it straight through until 2am when I would go to sleep. I was so fed up and desperate and really irritable and nasty and a horrible person to everyone I came across. I was rude to anyone who knocked on my door and interrupted me, I cried almost constantly to the point I didn’t even know I was doing it anymore.

The only thing that kept me going and living was the thought that I was starting full time college again in September. I don’t need any more qualifications really but I wanted to do it to get me out of my flat and to give me something else to do rather than binge, and something to focus on other than food. I did manage a five day stretch without binging which I am so pleased about. I did it with the help of God and volunteering three full days at Church, plus my gorgeous sister had the idea of giving my mum my bank card so I didn’t have access to so much money. She would then draw out money for me and give it to me each week when I went shopping for healthy and safe food with my support worker.

So now, I am still struggling and still slip up daily – yesterday I went to two different all you can eat places. Plus came home from Bible study group and binged for 2 and a half hours which meant I didn’t get to sleep til about 2am so am tired now. But today is a new day and I have entrusted it to the Lord 🙂

So that is me! Will try to write in here more often because it helps me and I hope it will help even one person realise there is hope and you can get better.

Not living up to the title of my blog

So I have spent this week feeling sorry for myself as I have felt that everything is going wrong. Nothing major but too many silly little things to list here. I ended up saying “God, what are you going to do to me next?!!” I thought I just cannot cope with one more thing!!

I decided to have a nice hot bath (partly to soothe my very sore arm – one of the things that had gone wrong last week was falling over on the way to Church and hurting my arm). While I was in the bath I was still thinking how bad everything is. I like to spend bathtime praying and singing and worshipping God as it is one of the only times of the day where I am not distracted with TV or Facebook or all those sorts of things. I have a special play list for this – called “Bathtime Worship” so I put that on and hoped that Praise You in this Storm by Casting Crowns would come on.

It didn’t, but I finally realised that all the difficult things could be turned round and seen as an opportunity to rely on God, to be closer to Him and to spend time with Him. I just wish it hadn’t take so many things to make me realise this!!

I realised that everything is fine. As far as I know, nothing really bad has happened. Nothing actually bad like my family dying or being burgled or a loved one being seriously ill. So many things. And I am moaning about a broken table and a sore arm and lots of frustrating circumstances.

In the general scheme of things, things are pretty good. I am so blessed and lucky. I have a loving family and I am happy and healthy and safe and free and lots of other blessings. It’s time to remember to be grateful and stop feeling sorry for myself!

I also realised that I was in my bath on my own, in my own flat. Less than five years ago I was locked up in a secure psychiatric unit and would have to have a bath when I was allowed a bath, and would have it with a nurse sitting watching me.

Life is pretty good. I have come a long way. Sure I have had petty niggles and problems this week but I will praise Him in this storm. A quote from another song – Matt Redman this time:

Blessed be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

God is the same. I can use all circumstances for good and turn everything into a reason to praise. All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord (Romans 8:28)

Thanks God for reminding me! Reminding me of how far I’ve come and how much I have in my life now. And reminding me that You are always there, loving me, through the good and the bad. God holds us and carries us in the hard times. Everyone probably knows the Footprints poem but lets quote it anyway:

Footprints in the Sand

One night I had a dream…
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and
Across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand;
One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before us,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
There was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life
This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
You would walk with me all the way;
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life,
There is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why in times when I
needed you the most, you should leave me.
The Lord replied, “My precious, precious
child. I love you, and I would never,
never leave you during your times of
trial and suffering.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”

Thanks for reading! Please leave me a comment or whatever 🙂

Take care,

love Josie xx

A little scared….

I have my potassium levels tested every month or more often, depending on how it was the previous time.

So I went along this morning so am awaiting the results. It’s scary because a couple of years ago the doctor rang and told me I needed to get to the hospital to A&E for treatment because my potassium had dropped too low. I said I would go later but shortly after the phone call the doctor came round to my flat and told me to go right away, and did I want an ambulance.

I am aware what my main concern should be dying, or damaging my body in this way. But it isn’t. My main worry is that the staff in the supported housing project where I live will be angry. And that they will know without a doubt what I have been up to so they might be more concerned about that. Which would worry them and so counteract how hard I have been trying to gain weight.

I have been feeling unwell – not really badly but some things that I know are symptoms of low potassium. Like muscle aches and cramps etc.

Actually though, I could have the opposite problem – my potassium might be artificially too high. I am prescribed two potassium tablets a day and to try to counteract the effects of all the b/ping I have been taking a few extra. Yesterday I took 10. I don’t know if this was irresponsible and could make my potassium too high.

I feel so confused and anxious about what the results will be. I guess it’s in God’s hands now because there is nothing I can do. The blood sample will be at the lab. I can’t change it or undo it now.

Also I haven’t actually told the staff that I went for the test which could be awkward. When do I tell them? I am thinking I might tell them when I get the results but then they will ask why I didn’t tell them I was going. And I can’t just leave it as soon they will remember it’s about the time for a test and ask me. And then will ask why I didn’t mention anything.

Hmmmm….!!

Sorry for writing a self-pitying post, I’m just really worried. I go through this worry at least twice a month when I have various blood tests due.

Thanks for reading,

Take care xx

Feeling guilty….

Today is Sunday and on Sunday I go to Church and then my lovely mum cooks a big roast dinner for me and her and my dad.

Last week my mum informed me that she had also invited the youth pastor from our Church, along with his wife and small daughter. Sounds nice. Certainly the family are all lovely, and kind, and very funny – great people to spend time with.

One problem: that would involve eating with other people. People that might judge me, think I am greedy. I tend to eat quite well at Sunday lunch time with my family. The staff at the supported housing project where I live trust me that I will eat sensibly with my family – and in fact, my parents have been given instructions that if I try to under eat or restrict then they are to inform staff. So I make the effort. That and I love it! Good old mum’s roast! Anyway I always reach a lower weight on Sunday and then put it back on ready for the weigh in early on in the week. It does feel like a bit of a merry go round I must admit – spend all week trying to lose weight then over eat on Sundays and get back to where I was by about Tuesday.

Of course those of you who have read my first blog post will know that I am in fact trying to gain weight now! :/

Anyway I’ve gone off track. I popped round to my parents’ house yesterday (I live fairly close) and they said the youth pastor’s young daughter was ill so they may not make it. I was relieved. I was hoping that they would be too ill to be able to come for Sunday lunch.

How bad is that? I wished sickness on people because I didn’t want to eat with “non-safe” people (unfortunately the list of “safe” people is quite short!!). I feel so guilty and like a right cow. What has happened to loving others and putting others first. What has happened to hospitality? What is wrong with me????

I know this doesn’t make up for the attitude and for my heart, but the best thing I can think of doing is to offer to help this young family in some way. The wife is pregnant again and struggling in a lot of pain and they have been requesting for people to help out (by cooking or taking the daughter out etc.). So that is my commitment to God, to myself, and to anyone reading this. This week I will find some way of helping them.

Moving on quickly, at my Church we have a prayer ministry team who …. well, they do what it says on the tin really. They pray before the service and often get a word from God that they feel He wants them to share with the congregation. And then after the service they sit in teams at the front of church and pray for anyone with any needs while everyone else is drinking coffee and eating cakes/biscuits. Today the word spoke to me so I thought I would share it here:

“Don’t focus on how you feel. Focus on WHO GOD IS”

That’s it for today.

Thanks for reading, Take care xx

Wanting to self-harm…

BUT I DIDN’T!!

Just some background: I used to self-harm quite regularly. There were times where I have been in hospital, in secure, and still managing to self-harm. It was all I thought about – making plans, looking around me, waiting for a moment when the staff were distracted. There have been times when I have spent most of the day being restrained by psychiatric staff, or locked in seclusion. There have been times when I have made multiple trips to A&E (ER) each week, escorted by nurses who would be frustrated and angry with me. There have been times where my arms have been put in plaster casts to stop me self-harming there or making burns worse. I have always had quite inventive means of self-harming; well, desperate times call for desperate measures and in hospital where everything is so soft and blunt necessity is the mother of invention!! Don’t worry, I won’t be sharing details of things I used to do!

That was a long time ago now – and I look back on those times and I feel sad for myself. I was so lost and out of control. Today things are so much better. Okay they aren’t perfect. I still have symptoms of schizophrenia and an eating disorder etc. but compared to then I am a new and different person. I am happy most of the time. I feel safe and protected. Part of that is probably due to the staff where I live (in supported accommodation) who take good care and are patient, understanding and supportive (most of the time! But hey, no-ones perfect!) and also due to my medication that makes me think straight. But also God.

God was with me in those times and he is with me now. Sometimes I couldn’t see God due to the fog that surrounded me, but he was always there. He gave me peace in the storm and loved me and never gave up on me. They said I would never get out of a hospital environment and would probably be in a unit of some level of security for the rest of my life. Well….last month I celebrated three years in the supported housing project where I am now. I still feel so grateful to God for rescuing me. He rescued me from my spiritual enemies and my addiction to self-harm. And He rescued me from being locked up physically. The last secure unit (where I was for around four years) was like a prison – or it felt like it to me.

So He has got me out of the physical prison but there is still the psychological prison. The bars that I inflict on myself. The bars of my eating disorder. But it is progress that I can see a way out now. I can look out of those bars and see sunshine and green grass. I can see that those bars can’t hold me. I just need to let go. Easier said than done!

A nice analogy about letting go that I heard in a sermon last year (I couldn’t remember the words so I have copied from another site:

A hunter set a monkey trap by putting a banana inside a bamboo cage. The bars on the cage were set apart at a distance just wide enough for a monkey to reach inside with a flat hand, but not wide enough to pull that hand out again holding the banana. This trap was remarkably effective because the monkey wouldn’t drop the banana once he had gotten hold of it, so he remained trapped even though freedom was as simple as releasing his grip.

Sometimes we just can’t see further than what’s in our hands. There is so much hope for our future. I know if I let go then I will be free. Life will be even more unrecognisable. I can get out of this.With God all things are possible!

Oops this was about self-harm so back to that. So on Thursday night I wanted to self-harm and I was in bed and I was scared and I didn’t want to go to the staff. Trying to think how I could do it, what I could do. Then I caught sight of a scrapbook that my sister (I have mentioned her before in a previous post) made me for my last birthday. I thought I might share a couple of messages from the book:

“They will fight against you but WILL NOT overcome you, for I am with you and will RESCUE YOU, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 1:19)

Not because of who I am, but because of what you’ve done. Not because of what I’ve done but because of who you are

So much wisdom in the book, I will share more in the future I am sure.

So I wanted to self-harm and I read some of these words and I cried. I cried and cried, but not sad crying. Grateful crying. Grateful to God and grateful to my sister and grateful to God for giving me such an amazing and thoughtful sister! I felt safe and protected. Do you know what I did next? I curled up in my bed, under the covers, with my hot water bottle and I fell asleep. I woke up refreshed and back to normal in the morning.

Thank you Lord. Thank you for loving me and always providing for me even in my darkest hour. Thank you for defeating spiritual death and rescuing me.

Thanks for reading this,

Take care xx