one girl's thoughts on life, mental illness, eating disorder recovery, and hope.

When your car gets totaled July 30, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — rheasofhope @ 6:49 pm
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“Um, Rachel? Can you come up here for a minute please?”


I set down the copy of The Velveteen Rabbit I had been reading with her daughter as part of her extended care, and walked cautiously up the carpeted basement steps.


“I don’t know how to tell you this, but I think someone hit your car” she said nervously as I stepped into the kitchen.


What?! My car was parked on the street in a quiet neighborhood not even ten miles from my house. What kind of a person flies out of their driveway so fast they cannot see my land-cruiser sized red Grand Prix parked on the side of the road? I felt the tears brim my eyes and my throat closing up as I numbly walked out the front door and into the blinding afternoon sun. As I shuffled through the plush grass of the front lawn, I noticed a middle-aged man and his wife were already taking iPhone photos of my, car and had their insurance card in their hand. I had not even seen Little Red yet, but I knew it would not be good. I crouched to my knees and put my hand on her damage; tracing the dent and wondering “why me?” How could he have hit a parked car so hard?


Only car on the whole street. How could you not see her?

Only car on the whole street. How could you not see her? Also, can you see her injury from here?

We exchanged information. The man kept saying, “I didn’t see it. I just was getting out of the house and I didn’t see you car sitting there.” I kept reassuring him that mistakes happen. However, inside my mind, I wanted to punch something, to yell at someone, to fix Little Red myself, to scream…and then ED started up (and, trust me, none of her suggestions are fit to print).   


After going back inside to finish my work with her daughter, I called the cops (the man and his wife had taken off immediately after we exchanged information…they did not even bother to turn their car off during this whole ordeal). This cop did not want to file a report because there were no injuries, the damage appeared to be less than $1,000, and there were no conflicting stories as to how the accident happened. As the cop pulled away from my still parked car, I got a call from the insurance of the man who hit me. The company assured me that, because the accident was not my fault in any possible way, they would take care of all the repairs to Little Red—and I believed them.


I took Little Red to their insurance’s approved body shop for an estimate. Three days later, I got the news that it would cost $1,898 to fix the dent in my door! AND to make matters worse, his insurance wants to total my car because they think the cost of repairs is more than the cost of the car (According to Kelley Blue Book, my car is worth $2,397 thank you very much). After speaking with my insurance agent, gathering all of Little Red’s maintenance records, and learning the laws of “proper indemnification”…I am ready to fight for what I deserve. I did not ask for my car to be hit. I’m not asking for a new one.  I am simply asking for my car to be repaired to the condition it was before the accident; no better, but certainly no worse. The man’s insurance, however, wants it totaled.

 Little Red

So now I am in a place where I constantly find myself; struggling to fight for what is mine.

I cannot believe how many times during my illness and during my recovery, experiences I have had with Little Red have mirrored what I was going through. This accident is no exception.


Little Red did not ask to be backed into at 1,000 miles per hour. Ok, that might be an exaggeration, but the guy hit her pretty hard; hard enough to leave a Honda Odyssey-sized dent in the back door. Similarly, I did not ask to have a life-long battle with an eating disorder. However, both the accident and the eating disorder have happened, and it is up to me to do the next right thing that would allow for healing in each event—a repair for Little Red and recovery for me.


Little Red has survived a lot including: a 55 mile per hour collision with a Ford F-250 (again, not my fault), window motors burning out causing the windows to never come up (all were eventually replaced), break lines snapping, interior flooding, hauling garden equipment and compost, a small collision with my grandmother’s Buick, Ohio winters, Ohio summers and numerous other adventures. However, throughout all of that, I never gave up hope that there was a future for Little Red and continued to work towards repairing her.


I have survived many things as well: broken nose and arm, bullying, arthritis, self-harm, depression, more than half of my life with eating disorders, PRAXIS tests, illnesses and a lot of other events I cannot recall at the present. However, instead of treating myself as I did Little Red—repairing and never giving up hope that recuperation can happen—I self-destructed. I used those events as proof that I was unworthy as a human being and deserved everything that happened to me. I put more hope and trust into Little Red than I did myself; how completely backwards is that?


Now that I have started the process of recovery, I know that I deserve better than what I am currently doing to myself, and even better than I give Little Red. I deserve life—above all—hope, love, health, healing, friendship, the ability to allow myself to feel emotions, grace and everything else that comes with self-forgiveness and self-compassion.


Am I going to stand up and fight this insurance company to fix Little Red? You bet I am! Am I going to stand up and fight ED for my life? You bet your sweet ass I am! No matter what ED tells me, recovery reminds me that I am worthy, I am enough, and I am deserving of a life without her.



2 Samuel 22

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. How long will you assault me? Would all of you throw me down—this leaning wall, this tottering fence? Surely they intend to topple me from my lofty place; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse. Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Surely the lowborn are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie. If weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath. Do not trust in extortion or put vain hope in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them. One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: Power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”; and, “You reward everyone according to what they have done.”


When you play with magnetic poetry July 8, 2014

As the four kids I nanny were sitting at the kitchen bar eating their lunch, I absent-mindedly moved their magnetic poetry words around their refrigerator door; as I had done countless times before. The words had all come from a magnet from the adoption agency that facilitated their second youngest child’s adoption, so it had words that related to adoption. Between trips to refill milk cups, grab napkins, pushing the dog out of the kitchen, and handing out second helpings, I would move another word into the design. Here is my final product:

my "poem"

my “poem”

I have been struggling with my ed a little as of late, so I started with the phrase “embrace beautiful”; hoping that seeing it on the refrigerator would remind me to embrace my beauty. And I do not mean that in a vain sense. I feel embracing my beauty is more than my appearance; beauty is more than how I look. Beauty can be found in my attitude, how I allow others to treat me, my brain, how I treat others, what I say, how I act, and how I choose to see the world.  But, more so than embracing my beauty, I want to embrace the beauty around me; the dew on my car when I leave for work in the morning, the way the youngest child I nanny curls up in my lap and calls herself “Rachel’s girl”, the way the bats fly out of my neighbor’s trees at night, and so much more. Embracing beauty reminds me to be in the moment, to breathe and be present. We spend so much time going through the motions of life, that I truly do not think we stop to embrace the beauty in and around us as often as we should. It sounds cliché  to say to “stop and smell the roses”, but I think that is something we all need more practice with. 


The next words I chose to put into my word collage were love and hope. Hope has always been a favorite word of mine; I have it tattooed in Cherokee on my wrist. I think it was Brené Brown who said that hope is not a passive word, but an active one. We cannot sit around all day just waiting and hoping for things to happen, to get better, to work out, etc. We must put that hope into action; making a plan to accomplish what we hope for. We can have all the hope in the world for something, but until we set out to find it, nothing will ever happen. I chose the word love for multiple reasons. First being, I must remember to love others. I often get to caught up in caring for others and making sure their every need is met, I often forget to show the love that makes me do those things for them. They may know I love them, through the actions I do for them, but I seriously doubt they have ever heard an “I love you” from me. Second, and perhaps most importantly, I chose love to remember to love myself. Lucille Ball once said, “Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” This is probably one of the most accurate statements about love that I have ever heard. A huge part of recovery, for me, has been learning how to love myself and everything that comes with me. 


Support became my next word when I realized how huge of a role support has played in my recovery. No one can recover without support. For me, mentoring, therapy and understanding friends have served a key role in my support team. On days when I did not feel like staying on the path to recovery, I would say, “I’m doing recovery for so and so today, until I want it again for myself.” Eventually, “I’m recovering for so and so,” was replaced with, “I’m recovering for me.” Without support from others, there is no way I would be as far along in recovery as I am today. Asking for support takes a lot of strength and courage, but it is 100% worth it.


And speaking of worth, my next word in the collage was worth. All too often, my eating disorder convinced me to engage in thoughts and behaviors by telling me I had no worth…that I could never have worth. Ed persuaded me to believe that I could never be worthy because I was not thin enough, smart enough, nice enough, giving enough, tall enough, pretty enough, kind enough; to Ed I was never enough and could never gain worth. She lead me on a path of self-destruction in which she promised the elusive “worth” I wanted so desperately. She claimed I could only gain worth if I followed her every whim and direction; I wanted worthiness so much that I fell for that lie. The truth is, we are all worthy…just the way we are. We are worthy of love, life, good things, beauty, happiness, and everything else we desire. The myth of not being “enough” of something was designed by Ed to steal our worthiness. Don’t let her have it.


Wish was chosen for much the same reason as hope. I wish, one day, to be rid of this disease and for others to be free from Ed’s chains as well. Wish, however, is also an active–not passive–word. We can wish upon every star, make a wish at every 11:11, and snap all the wishbones we can find. However, until we put that wish into action using goal-setting, it will remain merely a wish. And while it is good to have wishes, it is also good to have those wishes come true. 


The next word moved into my collage was laugh. Laughter, I believe is an important part of recovery…of life.  I realized there is something very therapeutic about laughing. There is no law that states recovery must be this solemn undertaking in which no fun or laughter shall ever take place. In fact, I think not having laughter in our lives only keeps us stuck in Ed’s grasp. While I understand the need to put in hard work and be serious when setting/accomplishing goals, I am also aware of the need to let loose and be silly sometimes.


I then noticed the word son…it had been turned upside down by one of the kids. However, when the word son is turned upside down, it reads NOS–as in my diagnosis. I chose to put that on the bottom to show that my Ed has no place in my life; it is under everything else and will get buried by all the recovery-oriented choices I am putting into action.


Finally, I chose to put the words I belong at the top of my collage.  For a long time I have failed to believe that I am deserving of recovery (or even a diagnosis). By putting these words at the top of my word collage, I am ready to acknowledge that I do belong in this crazy place we call life; I am worthy, I can have hope, I can love, I can wish, I can laugh, I can ask for support, and I can embrace beauty. I belong, and so do you. 


Colossians 3:15-17

 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.