I struggled with anorexia for a decade.
I also really struggled with who I was for a decade.
You see, I wanted every single person I met to like me. Every single one.
So, I would change who I was for the people I was around. Ahh, yes shallow, I know. But the ones who saw through that and stuck around long enough got to see the real Jensy.
The authentic Jensy.
In the midst of all of that confusion, I developed an eating disorder to gain some sort of control in my life. I felt so confused all the time and so uneasy. I began to slowly commit emotional suicide that manifested itself on the outside. At anorexia’s height, I weighed 89 pounds. I still felt confused, but now I was also scared and lonely.
I recently came upon a book called Ask and It is Given, by Esther and Jerry Hicks. It is a book about the Law of Attraction. I can’t fully teach you the details because it it quite lengthy, but if I had to come up with a summary of the book it would be:
“Choose to be happy. Choose better feeling thoughts moment to moment.”
I wish I would have read this book when I battled anorexia.
According to Hicks, any emotion/thought is better than depression. They included an emotional scale in their book that helps you work from feeling bad to feeling better about whatever you are experiencing.
Find where you are emotionally on the scale, then try to find thoughts that feel just a bit better. Take small steps or make tiny shifts toward joy.
You can’t go from the pits of hell to straight into love, optimism, appreciation, joy, etc. in an instant. There is a process. Mine happened to be a decade long process, but yours doesn’t have to be. You start where you are and choose to make every day better.
Their theory is, if you are at #22 (Depression), as I was for so long, you can soften the depression by going up the scale toward #1. You may skip a few here and there, but you can never go straight to #1. So even by choosing a thought or emotion that is #20 (Jealousy), you are doing a little better.
Let me give you my example to be more clear.
I was at #22 (Depression) when I was anorexic. I said things to myself like “I am stupid, I am ugly, and no one cares about me. I hate who I am.” (Just writing this makes me want to cry and hug that Jensy.) I would jump from #21 (Insecurity) to #17 (Anger) and then back again. Never really getting above a #9 (Pessimism).
I lived in the higher numbered emotions for so long, that I set up shop, ate, drank and slept there.
Then I woke up. I awakened. Sometimes a passage into motherhood can do that to ya!
I now know that I had to spend some time in the emotions 22-8 to get some clarity. I wanted so desperately to be at #1 (Joy/Freedom). But the only way to get to #1 is by practicing the following three things:
Patience, hard work and never giving up.
Every day we have choice. This day can either be better than yesterday or not. And setbacks are inevitable, but you can train yourself every day
to get back up.
The awakening happened when I became content (#7) with my life. I started to notice all the wonderful things in my life instead of focusing on what was not so great. Then as my body slowly came back to a healthy weight, I started to become more hopeful (#6). I wasn’t upset with the way I looked and felt comfortable with my food choices. Yes, there were plenty of days where I felt anger (#17) or rage (#19), but after my awakening I was able to have hope (#6) that things would be okay. Appreciation (#1) for my life started to happen more often and empowerment (#1) came in writing my first book a few years later.
So you see, it’s a process.
Overcoming any adversity is a process. You wake up every morning knowing that if you’re patient, put in the hard work (which in my case was relentless research, a lot of therapy, overcoming fears around food, overcoming the fear of being myself and surrendering) and finally, have the commitment to recovery despite any obstacle. Then you are on your way to sustainable happiness and freedom from any despair.
What are your thoughts about Hicks’ emotional scale? Can this help soften anything you are struggling with right now?
I would love to hear about it.
Jensy Scarola is a stay at home mom, blogger, writer, and kids yoga instructor. Jensy is the mother to her two greatest teachers of Life, her daughters ages 7 & 6 and happily married to her high school soulmate. She was most recently the Executive Director for Fit & Healthy Schools, a non-profit organization fighting childhood obesity. She has since left that career in order to find her true calling as an author, but keeps that passion in mind as she teaches young children yoga. She currently blogs at www.jensyscarola.blogspot.com where she shares her tips, struggles, triumphs, spirituality, and motivating tools for women and men in hopes to help others overcome their adversity. She has beaten an eating disorder and overcome postpartum depression too! Visit her website to learn more about her, her life story, to read inspiring lifestyle articles and daily motivating thoughts. Join her FB page to take part in the discussion at Your Wide Awakening. In her spare time, she loves to bake, do crafts with her kids, watch sappy romantic films, read, watch Oprah and Redskins Football. Visit my Facebook page: Your Wide Awakening.
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- Asst. Ed.: Kathleen O’Hagan
- Ed: Brianna Bemel