Thursday, June 01, 2006

My Katie

Katie, our daughter who just married, went through really bad anorexia. It felt like she was behind a glass wall--I could see her but I couldn't get close to her. She left for college on a softball scholarship. The school called in November her freshman year suggesting she might be anorexia. Katie denied it--said she'd had a stomach virus. By July, I knew she wasn't telling us the truth.

You know how you look into somebody's eyes and they're not home? I couldn't find her. Anywhere. Her legs and arms were like a skinny child's. I'd cook her favorite meals and she'd just play with her food like a toddler. She never smiled. Each time she left the driveway in her white Camaro, I wanted to chase her down the road. But what good would it do? She didn't believe me.

She came home for Christmas break her sophomore year. Only her nose and mouth looked like my Katie. She was disappearing--both her body and spirit. Then at 4 am that December morning, God helped me. I couldn't sleep and picked up one of her magazines lying in the den. As I read an article on date rape, I knew. I just knew. I ran to wake her up. She covered her head with a blanket and said, "I'm never talking about it. Forget it. You're wasting your time. There's a lot you don't know."

"No matter what, it wasn't your fault," I whispered. She turned over and faced the wall.

I didn't know which problem to try and deal with first--the date rape or the anorexia. Tears trickled down my face. She never saw them.

The next day she agreed to go the doctor. By herself. After her appointment she wouldn't talk. Two months later, Valentine's Day, it hurt me to see her. I knew she was dying. She zoomed out of the driveway, again, because I mentioned her weight. But she called me a little later. Here's our unforgettable phone conversation.

"What 'cha doing, Mom."
"Stirring spaghetti. I need to pray for you. If you never speak to me again, I don't care. But you're dying. You can't see it, but you are."
"Whatever. I don't have a problem. Get over it."
"Father, Katie is your child. Something bad happened to her. She's slowly dying. In the name of Jesus, take away any lies and self-destruction. Put her back together again. Make her whole, in Your name."
"Thanks," she whispered.

Two hours later, she called me from the mall. Her old voice had returned. "You weren't lying. I look terrible! I couldn't see it before." She didn't find any clothes to fit and headed to McDonald's. For the first time in 16 months she was hungry. She ate without vomiting.

This May, two years after she saw the truth, she married a wonderful guy. She's never gone back down the anorexia path. Buried secrets can destroy us. Talking helped continue her healing. She shared her story with high schools girls at church.

The evil one comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Truth brings healing. My Katie's back--but even better than before!


Donita K. Paul said...

Tears came to my eyes as I read Katie's story. Thanks for sharing. I hope our girls reading this blog will know what to do if they themselves are hurt, or they recognize one of their friends has been hurt.

Samantha said...

I lost a friendship to anorexia. I was so worried that I went to the guidance counsler at school. After that we never spoke again. I never felt such alienation, because we shared a lunch table and everyone ignored me and hovered around her. She's still not very healthy about her weight, but I know I did the right thing but putting the problem out there so other know what's going on.
Thanks for your post,

Julie Garmon said...

Samantha, you absolutely did the right thing. Anorexia means life or death--physically, emotionlly, and spiritually. You never know what might come of what you did. God is always at work, and He does His work in secret--in other people's hearts. It means a lot to know our situation touched you. ♥♥Love, Julie

PalmTreeChick said...

Wow, that was an amazing story. I am so glad that katie is doing better and is happy again.

Julie Garmon said...

Thank you Palm Tree Chick. She looks incredible. The weird thing is she really, really couldn't see how bad she looked until after the prayer. Something broke loose in her. She went on a date with her future husband that Valentine's night two years ago and said, "I want to wear boots and a skit, but look at these legs. I can't believe they're mine. I couldn't see how skinny I was. I promise."

♥Love, Julie

PalmTreeChick said...

I understand. I get it. I am no where near the state Katie was in, but people tell me all the time how great I look, how thin I am, and how fit I am, but I just don't see it. I think they are nuts for saying those things to me. What are they looking at?

Amy Wallace said...

Wow, Julie! I applaud your courage and heart to share this story. Anorexia is a huge struggle for so many and your grace-filled story is such an encouragement! The power of God through prayer gave me chill bumps and tears.

Thanks so much for sharing!

Julie Garmon said...

Palm Tree Chick, I'm so glad you responded again. Are you struggling with anorexia? I'm not sure from reading your post. Maybe you lost a few pounds but still don't feel happy inside? Maybe I misunderstood your post. If it's starting, please tell someone you trust.

From what I've learned, anorexia is never about,"I'm too fat. I want to get skinny." It's more a way to avoid dealing with something painful in life. Like you take on something else instead of handling hard stuff inside. Katie said it was the one thing she could control--her weight. That's all she thought about for 16 months, how to avoid food which covered the real issues. Problem is--anorexia creates a HUGE issue. The weird thing is, she never looked in mirrors--didn't want to see herself. Almost a self-hatred took over. I'm here if you want to talk more. I care. ♥Julie

PalmTreeChick said...

Hey Julie,
Thank you! I posted a reply before but blogger's been so messed up that I don't think it worked. So let me try and remember what I said and write it again.

I would say that I am anorexic. I do obsess about my weight, food, etc. constantly, and have been for the past 14 years of my life. I don't really starve myself, but I guess I'm pretty restricted with what I eat. I workout everyday as well. Some people say I workout too much, but it seems these days it's never enough.

I hate the way I look and want to lose 10 lbs. People say I'm crazy when I tell them that. They all tell me that I am so fit and thin and look great. I don't see it. I want to see my bones, not all of them, just certain ones.

Overall I am a healthy, athletic female. You wouldn't look at me and think that I had a "problem." But those who really "know" me know how obsessed I am with wanting to be a stick.

That's all, I think.


Julie Garmon said...

Palm Tree Chick, if you aren't getting help, it sounds like to me it's a great first step that you're admitting it on a blog. I got some information from an expert. She experienced anorexia and is now a licensed therapist. She sent me a book and a CD. SO SWEET! Check this out and see if you can get to her. I believe that's all she does is help people with eating disorders. I'm thinking there's something down deep, and it's NOT about your looks at all. Just a cover-up. I'm praying for you. There's another way to live.

Much love♥♥♥♥Julie

PalmTreeChick said...

Hey Julie!

Thanks. I will check that site out right now. I think it all just started out as a simple diet. I don't know what the "deep seeded issue" would be, but who knows?

K, I'm going to check the site now. thanks!

PalmTreeChick said...

Julie, I checked out Laurie's site. Very cool stuff. Thank you!

PalmTreeChick said...

Hi Julie,

I looked back at your post to me, the one where Katie mentioned her legs. That's just amazing to me that all of a sudden she saw it. Something clicked and it was like, oh my gosh.

I obviously think that I see myself for the way that I really am, but others say I don't. If that's true, I wish I could see the "real me." I just see the fat rolls and big arms and legs. At 5 ft tall, 103 lbs, I don't know if that's true. What I do know is that I need to lose 10 lbs.