I have been thinking a lot about the word grace. I used to think it was just a pretty name, a certain way a dancer glides across a stage or a gift from God to underserving sinners. It wasn’t until I got sick and started getting help that I heard the phrase “Give yourself Grace” this hit me as a strange thing. I couldn’t understand what it meant. Today, I think I figured out what it means, here’s how I found out.
This morning I woke up and looked in the mirror. (Something I try not to do) I didn’t like what I saw but tried to ignore my sickness and distorted thoughts, I made coffee and after getting ready for my day I sat on my floor in the living room, I didn’t realize I was staring off into the woods beyond my patio until my eyes dried out. Blinking several times I stood up to get my coffee but stumbled and decided to sit back down. I wasn’t feeling quite right but I chalked it up to being sleepy still so I ignored it and got my coffee.
But my body was trying to tell me something, I didn’t listen. After a bit of breakfast I decided to go for a run, in the past I found out I had to decide who was in control before engaging in physical activities, Anorexia or Me. this morning I didn’t think twice, I just had to run. And so I did.
I ran my normal lap then came home. I pushed myself hard today, I told myself it was a great stress relief, running and just getting away from everything else. Yes, Running is a good thing for stress, but It is not a good thing for Anorexia but rather a tool one could use if not in the right mindset. I wasn’t in the right mindset, I was overthinking again,
I’m seeing my sister and her in-laws in a few days, I have struggled in the past when people doubt my illness or if I am telling the truth about being sick simply because I didn’t fit “Their” stigma of this illness. So with that fear lingering in my mind I engaged in self-destructive behaviors.
telling myself I had to lose weight before I see my sister so she wouldn’t doubt me. It was a strong momentary win for Anorexia, when I accepted what I did to myself this morning I was sad, disappointed and just plain disgusted. but I tried to put it all aside and go to work, making my day a healthy productive one.
I got to work but found it hard to breath, not knowing why I panicked and reached out to my support system, they asked if it was anxiety, I wasn’t sure so they advised me to go see a Doctor and take care of myself. In the moment I knew they were right but I was afraid of showing weakness at work and upsetting my boss. I was told “Get over that and go get help” then I finally understood what it meant to give oneself Grace.
I told my boss and he took me to see the Nurse in our facility, she checked me out and decided I was having a severe Anxiety attack. some people may not find it serious or understand just what an anxiety attack entails, well, join the club. I don’t fully understand it either, but I do know how serious it can be.
Imagine with me for a moment “you suddenly can’t breath, your chest begins to hurt, your head spins, things get blurry, lights get dim, you feel like you eyes are a mile inside your head, like you can’t see where you are and then the thoughts and shaking, a tremble that starts in your legs so you can no longer stand, your hands next then your shoulders, you’re now sitting on the floor, arms wrapped around your legs, you feel impending doom but can’t register why, you can’t breath remember so now you are on the verge of blacking out.” Now after all this You might understand a little of how it causes me to feel, what I described is a typical Anxiety attack for me.
As I sat in the Nurses station, shaking in her chair I was sipping an orange juice every time she looked at me and ordered “take a sip for me again” I did. she wasn’t a mean Nurse, just a ‘Don’t cross me’ kind so I thought it best to listen to her. While I sat there feeling guilty for not working, she told me I had to take it slow when I get worked up, there’s no shame in being weak at times, ‘We are all weak sometimes, we’re humans after all, it’s in our nature to shut down mentally when we get overloaded” She said “Your anxiety is just another way of your body telling you it’s done being pushed so hard and it forces you to slow down, there is no shame in ‘Giving yourself Grace” Yes, she actually said that.
I was sent home and told to eat then rest. So the rest of my day consisted of me sleeping, then getting myself to eat, then drinking a hot tea, and watching a movie before I lost interest and turned it off, then I talked to my support system, some friends and my Sister. I understand what it means to Give yourself Grace now.
It means, not only accepting our weaknesses, but letting ourselves slow down without feeling guilty for taking care of ourselves. It is not selfish to put ourselves first sometimes. We cannot pour from an empty cup, or We cannot help our neighbor if we don’t take care of ourselves. Like in an airplane “Put your mask on first then help the person next to you” it all comes down to taking care of the body God has blessed us with, and how do we care for this body? By the daily bread he has given, A House, Home, Land, Animals, Clothing, Shoes, Food and Drink. And much more.
I struggle to utilize the gifts God has given to me, I hope by writing this all down it forces me to realize this and receive my daily bread with thanksgiving.
In the words of Forrest Gump, “That’s All I Have To Say About That”