Community Stories

Lupe: Free from Anorexia


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I remember the day it happened, the day it clicked in my head. Finally, something within my control.

In 2008, my world was beyond chaotic. Facing false child abuse allegations, DHS Child Protective Services investigations, two child custody disputes, confrontations with my ex-wife, the public attacks of my current wife’s ex-husband and his wife, stress from work and graduate school, my struggle with bipolar disorder, and all of their effects on my relationships – I was past the point of feeling controlled.

I embodied the stigmatized example of divorced fathers and step-fathers.

I was labelled by the stereotypical definitions assigned to divorced dads, step-dads, the mentally ill and disabled.

I felt like a puppet on strings, a marionette, a toy. I was being manipulated by many puppeteers, constantly scrutinized and judged. I was controlled by the courts, my ex-wife, and child protective services.

My own marriage very nearly crumbled. I was at the mercy of my own ever-changing bipolar emotions and moods. I was trapped by my alcohol addiction, which by then was already three years strong. I had attempted quitting on more than one occasion, always unsuccessfully.

Then it began … I wanted to lose a few pounds I gained from the excess liquor.

I watched what I ate and weighed myself frequently with no results. Not even this would just go the way I wanted. I didn’t care about being in control. I just wanted to be out of their control. Eventually, the numbers started to fall and I was proud.

It was mine. It was something no one else could take over or take away. I was in control. I never thought it would become dangerous or deadly. In the moment, I just wanted freedom.

After that initial moment of power on the scale,  I likened my anorexia to a stalker.

She, “Ana”, was always there and held me in her strongest grips. Confidence shattered and feeling controlled by so many external forces, my eating disorder strengthened rather quickly. I created strict rules and rituals, which were mandated and to be followed without exception. When I lapsed, I punished myself with guilt, anxiety, and promises of less food and extra workouts the next day. Every calorie was planned and counted. Foods were categorized as allowed or forbidden and never eaten for enjoyment, but for the control I had over them.

I lost weight. It was never enough.

I struggled with my anorexia lonely and silently until one year ago when I entered inpatient treatment for 21 days. It was one of the most important, life-saving decisions I have ever made.

While I sought God’s help for both the drinking and eating disorder, by His sovereignty He chose to deal with them differently. The recovery from my eating disorder became a healing process. A struggle physically, emotionally, psychologically, but mostly spiritually. Fighting my anorexia consumed my every thought. It occupied my mind entirely and drove out my desire to drink. Eating disorders are goal-oriented, alcohol addiction is not.

There were many times when I questioned why I still struggled with my anorexia after God took my desire to drink. I thought, “Why not take it away like You took away the desire to drink?” I remembered and repeated my initial prayer only to hear His answer, “Sometimes we are our own worst enemy.”

It finally dawned on me why God would handle each situation differently: I used them for different reasons. My goal for my eating disorder was to achieve control in my life. God could not help me let go of the anorexic habits before I learned He is in control.

One of my biggest struggles is self-forgiveness.

It is much easier for me to forgive others than it is for me to let go of a mistake or bad decision I have made. I needed to learn to see God’s work in my life was not dependent on what I could or could not earn, but instead dependent on what He gives.

Eating disorder recovery is often, if not always, a long and complicated process. It has been a year since I cried out to God and gave it all up. I’ve come a very long way. I have been healing.

While I no longer seek refuge from the control of the many puppeteers, I still find my thoughts drifting to old ways of thinking every now and then. Distorted thoughts are invasive and recovering means to look at the world in a new light, in a different way. If, with God’s help, I can no longer see my ex-wife as my enemy, then by His grace I can see food as it truly is – a necessity.

A year ago, I left treatment for my anorexia. Today, I am whole and healthy. Today, I am free.

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Did you know “Libero” means “Free”? Libero started with a story shared by our Founder Lauren Bersaglio back in 2010. We believe when we share our stories we can champion mental health, end stigma, and spread hope. We would love to have you share your story and celebrate freedom with the rest of the Libero community! Click here to learn more!


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