Living With an Eating Disorder

I don’t know where the idea of
being skinny really came from. I don’t know what took me
to such drastic measures to become that way. And I wanted more than
anything else to be accepted and to be loved, and through
that, I wanted to be pretty. And somewhere in there,
I thought to be pretty, I needed to be skinny. I had grown up insecure and shy. That was just part
of my growing up. When I hit high school,
I realized that nobody knew who I had been before. So I took that as my opportunity
to be outgoing and making friends. And then I thought, “I
just need one more thing. And if I could just be skinny,
if I could just be pretty, then I’ll have it all. I’ll be perfect.” And I stopped eating
as much as I could. I trained myself to
hide hunger pains with water or with stress. I’d get so stressed I
wasn’t even hungry anymore. I’d look in the mirror and
say, “Oh, I’m so ugly.” I’d just see disappointment,
like “You’re almost there, but you’re just not there yet.” And I don’t even know
where “there” really was. I couldn’t sit in a chair
because it was painful to sit. I couldn’t lay on the ground
for any sort of dance exercise. The bones in my spine
were starting to protrude. Always lightheaded, and my
hair was falling out all over. So I started
wondering, “Oh, man, I think I might have a problem. And I want to talk about
it, but I’m still too scared and not ready to let go.” During the same time that
I’d been starving myself, I also had some
friends who convinced me to try out a seminary
class, a class on religion. And as we talked about,
God loves each person, my chest was filled with
just so much heat and warmth. I never, ever felt
that way before. The teacher of the
class would tell me, “God loves when you pray
about the little things, even if it’s not
church-related or religious. Like, He loves to
hear, like your dad wants to hear about your day.” That started a daily
practice of praying, and we talked about everything
except about the thing that was actually taking my life away. If I admitted it, then it would
also become a lot more real. And then I would have to change. I felt prompted to
start taking dance classes at my high school. I knew to dance, that
I needed to be fit. This was the first
time in years now that I could talk to my
sick mind, saying, like, “Well, I could at
least eat one meal. You know, I have
to do it to dance.” I wanted to change. I want to stop caring and just
love myself, but I couldn’t. I had all these triggers
I had set to help myself learn not to eat. And it was going to take a long
time bringing them back down. I’m now at the end
of high school, and there was a final dance
at the end of the year. I got on a dress, and I
went to my grandma’s house to have it fixed up. At this moment, I was
standing up on a chair, looking in the mirror
and sort of reflecting on the end of high
school, everything that happened the past few years. I’m like, “OK. I’m a little bit better. I still look too
wispy, too shallow. I don’t know if I
want to be skinny, I don’t know if I
want to be healthy, but I’m still not there.” This really strong
feeling came to me, and it was very surprising,
because I looked in the mirror and I didn’t see myself anymore. I saw a woman who
was very beautiful, who was very much loved. What I saw in the mirror
was Heavenly Father saying, “This is who you’re
supposed to be. This is who I want
you to become. And if you’ll trust me,
I’ll take you there. I’ll help you become her. There’s so much
good in you already. There’s so much
potential for more. And you can get there. I will take you there.” All those fears of
“Do I look right?” finally melted away. There was finally peace in my
mind, peace that I had not had. I had spent years of my
life agonizing over myself and trying to fit in in these
supposed definitions of beauty that were unrealistic
and untrue. When God stepped in on
that dressmaking moment, He was approaching me in
a very different outlet because He knew
that I was still not ready to hear I had
an eating disorder or ready to talk
about that, because He knew the problem was
deeper-rooted than that. And that was, I just didn’t
have confidence in myself. I can’t imagine how much
love God has for me even now. Because of His grace
that forgave me for harming the body that was
gifted to me, I am now here. I am alive. I have my husband
and my children. And telling the story, it feels
very far away from me now. I am not an anorexic anymore. There are still the triggers
that if I get overwhelmed in a day, I forget to eat,
because I had trained myself that stress–I
wouldn’t eat right. And even there are
moments when I still have maybe a low self-confidence. On those hard days, I remember,
no matter what happens at work or at school or with my kids
or whatever–no matter what happens today, I am
still His daughter. And He still sees
that potential in me, and He’s still
helping me get there.

41 thoughts on “Living With an Eating Disorder

  1. I don't have anorexia but I am overweight and the thought processes she explained are the same ones I have. I've had these same thoughts like am I good enough? Am I thin enough? Thinking that the only way I'll be valued is if I'm thin. It makes it so hard to be healthy worrying about all the outside forces. But it get easier everyday when I remember that Jesus knows exactly how I feel. Because of the atonement he felt my pains before I did and decided to bare my burdens. He didn't just do it then he does it now and every single day. What a great message. I love this channel.

  2. Chaun, what a beautiful story. Thank you for your vulnerability, authenticity, and honesty. Your story has touched me, and will continue to help others feel the spirit, and to feel God's love. None of us are beyond the reach of the amazing power of our Savior's life and sacrifice for us. Thank you again, keep doing good, sister.

  3. I know this suffering. I struggled with bulimia since I was 16. I have been able to overcome with the help of my Savior. Thank you for sharing this story and raising awareness.

  4. Struggling with this myself as well, I can relate to every thing she says except for: God loves me, I am still His daughter and He will help me get there. In fact, in the past 5 days I lost 11 pounds because I got the flu and that triggered me to stop eating again. So hearing that He is willing to forgive me and help me, both hurts and makes me feel slightly better. Thank you for uploading this and letting me share my story, even if you don't read it.

  5. Wow this video is really important! Thank you so much!! This helps me know that God cares about me and sees my problems too and I'm not alone

  6. I love hearing these stories about people's journeys with and through mental health and any disorders they had experienced. It gives me the chance to see into what other people have experienced and felt and are experiencing and/or feeling. They are all just so inspirational and remind me of how much God really loves me! 🙂

  7. thank you for sharing! I find it can be so hard to be honest with myself. Honest with our Savior. Feelings of fear can be so strong. He can help when we are ready to be honest. This is very inspirational. Thank you!!

  8. Make your body happy. Care for your body. Think of what your learning. Eat healty. Take care of your body. It's the only thing you need.

  9. I really appreciate Mormon channel for posting more God's true love videos and spreading the world with great power of God's message and his miracles . And this story is really amazing and Chaun she is really beautiful in God's hands!!!!

  10. I struggle with bulimia… I have for years. I’m not small and I’ll never be small but I’m healthy. Having an eating disorder won’t always manifest in skeletal physiques.

  11. Hey I’m skinny has a stick too 😊 I look like I’m gonna snap into peace’s heheheheheh 🙂 and eating is very important I eat a lot just need to eat the right food 👌

  12. I’ve struggled with orthorexia and anorexia for 5 years. I was a BMI of 16 but I’m now recovering and I’m so glad to see that the Mormon Channel is speaking up about this issue. I’ve felt so ashamed to struggle but it should not be seen as anything shameful. So many girls both young and old struggle with their bodies and food.

  13. I am still God's son. And I still have that potential in me even when I fall.
    Thank you for this message and reminder.

  14. anorexia and bulimia it was all in one for me. I am every proud to be a Mormon i am still dealing with it.

  15. I am an avid #MentalHealthAwareness advocate and performer, and I love this so much. I travel the country trying to bring that awareness on stages, in classrooms, hospitals, and on my YouTube channel, so I get excited when I see other advocates. 💙❤

  16. I've battled all my life with eating disorders, so i can really relate to this. Even now at 34 i still struggle with it. But I'm trying to do and be what Heavenly Father wants me to be.

  17. I have not struggled with eating disorders, not do I know anyone who has, but I have thought these things multiple times. "Ugh, why am I so ugly and fat?" "Why can't I just be perfect?" Eating disorders are so common these days and the numbers are growing. I know for a fact that school and public environments are not helping. An old friend of mine, Ivy, decided to turn her back on me one day and started this chain of thoughts that still swirl through my head. Sometimes these thoughts start on their own, sometimes they're started by those around you. I just want to say, thank you, Chaun, for helping me see my worth as a daughter of God.

  18. My dream is to be a handsome buff guy, I know I take highly caffeinated pre-workout and creatine, but I will never take steroids, because God wants us to be aware of our healthy bodies

  19. I relate to you on such a personal level. I do dance as well, and I constantly feel my body giving out but I look in the mirror and I can't stand it.
    How do you let go of the constant fear of becoming a horrible, lazy, ugly undisciplined person while in recovery?

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