Eating disorder overcome
Not long after graduating from college, I stopped eating. I would go for days at a time on one small meal or just some crackers and water, and I quickly dropped an extraordinary amount of weight. Unfortunately, when friends expressed concern, I took it as a compliment, thinking, “Too thin = attractive.” I was a diligent student of Christian Science, active in my branch Church of Christ, Scientist, and prayed daily for myself, but I refused to pray about the extreme weight loss. I didn’t think it needed to be addressed in prayer. In fact, just the opposite: I was quite proud of the way things were.
One night I fell asleep in front of the television while watching a show. I was awakened later by a news program detailing symptoms associated with anorexia. Before I could turn off the TV, the list of symptoms caught my attention because they were things I’d been needing to find relief from, including extreme hair loss. I was shocked. In that instant, I saw the error of my ways. I had been identifying with the weight loss as somehow being part of me and as beneficial.
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After a few days, I called a Christian Science practitioner to pray for me because I still wasn’t eating much, and the disease seemed to have a grip on me. The practitioner did pray for me; he gave me Christian Science treatment, and he also told me that I should eat three meals a day whether I was hungry or not; he wanted to be sure I did this.
I was also supported by the prayers and tender, compassionate patience of my boyfriend (who later became my husband) as well as by my best friend, who was my roommate at the time. I was still afraid of eating regular meals because it would mean that I would gain weight. But I was obedient and continued to eat. And I studied the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson each day, which nourished my deepening understanding of God as Spirit and myself as God’s spiritual image and likeness—not even a little bit material (something I mentally affirmed over and over to myself).
One day in my study, I was reading Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, and I came across this statement: “Man is more than a material form with a mind inside, which must escape from its environments in order to be immortal” (p. 258). I can’t say why this statement was the one, but it woke me up. It was as if a light flipped on in a dark room, and the contents of the room were immediately seen.
Instantly I realized that I had felt I was being treated unfairly by some relatives (I really was not), and I had stopped eating to punish them for “punishing” me. In a flash, I saw that I was not a mortal needing to improve or escape from a material environment—my body or a bad family situation—but that I was (and always have been) the complete, wholly beloved spiritual idea of God.
The childish, twisted, mortal logic at the root of the problem, as soon as it was seen for what it was, lost all power to mesmerize me, and I was healed. I gained weight normally, my hair grew back in as thick as ever, and the other symptoms I’d been struggling with simply went away. I have never allowed myself to be physically or spiritually malnourished again, and my relationship with the relatives I mentioned has been loving and harmonious.
Christ Jesus’ example of his oneness with his Father, divine Truth, and Mary Baker Eddy’s teaching that God is Father-Mother, divine Love, have blessed me beyond measure. I can and do rejoice every day that I am saved through Christian Science.
Angela Sage Larsen
Healdsburg, California, US