Tuesday, 14 April 2015

"On ED and Voltaire" (By: Jessie Capps)

“Good is the enemy of great.”

I first saw this Voltaire quotation on a classmate’s MySpace (remember when?) profile. I was in high school, and that maxim instantly made a mark on my psyche. I fully expected myself to be great, and I believed with my whole heart that being great would guard me against ever being disappointed.

As a result, I didn’t appreciate the things that I felt only good at.

I was embarrassed that I was only admitted to Vanderbilt, not Duke; only the co-captain of the varsity soccer team; only the Vice President of the National Honor Society; I was on the homecoming court, but I wasn’t the queen. In my mind, these things were good, but not great – and good simply wasn’t enough.

At the height of my eating disorder, my relentless self-criticism had whittled away my self-confidence. “I just have high standards,” I rationalized. “If I don’t hold myself to these standards, I’ll never accomplish anything.”  Perfectionism robbed me of the joy of my accomplishments, and it prevented me from seeing reality: that I really was doing great!

When I got into treatment, I had to reprogram my idea of greatness. I slowly had to learn to appreciate the good wins – like allowing myself to enjoy a dessert or a rich meal.  I also had to learn to accept my “imperfect” idiosyncrasies – like the fact that I’m more of an introvert than I’d like to admit.

In a sense, I had to lower my standards for myself.

Do I still worry that lowering my standards means I’ll never accomplish anything? Quite the opposite! Now that I’m not spending all of my energy on counting the calories in my food and the miles on the treadmill, I have bandwidth to focus on what I actually care about.

Case in point: the year that I got into Recovery, my boss gave me a Christmas card that said, “You are my Night and Day story!” I had gone from coasting at my job (while ED was hogging all of my mental capacity)…to consistently delivering above and beyond expectations. Although my boss didn’t know that I had had a mental overhaul, she could easily see the results: I got two promotions in relatively quick succession.

And if I had read more Voltaire during high school, I would’ve known that he himself quoted an Italian proverb – one that applies much better to my life now:

Le meglio è l'inimico del bene.
PERFECT is the enemy of good.

About the Author
Jessie Capps is a native Nashvillian and Vanderbilt graduate, now working as a technical analyst. Having entered treatment in October 2012, she aims to help reduce the stigma around eating disorders by sharing her story of illness and recovery.
Posted on 04/14/2015 11:02 AM by Jessie Capps

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

"The Road to Recovery", (By: Elizabeth Jordan)

There is not a day that goes by that I do not look at food and think of my past. It almost all seems as if it was a dream in comparison to where I am now. It was a dream that was a nightmare.

I was thirteen when my struggle with anorexia nervosa became very clear to my parents; I had gone from a size fourteen to double zero in a short period of time. I was admitted to the hospital after trying for so long to cooperate with other professionals and my family. I was in a very dark and vulnerable state. Eventually, after doing all they could, my parents decided to admit me into the hospital, so I could receive immediate care. It turns out, my body was in worse shape then they thought. My heart and organs had already showed signs of suffering from lack of nutrition and food. The doctors had to give me a feeding tube, along with other things to assure my body could at least get to a point where it could function. Even still, I fought the doctors and did not want to adhere to what they asked of me. However, it was not myself that brought me into a mind-set of recovery, my motivation was found in the tears of my father, the hugs of desperation from my mother, the words of concern from my sisters, and the looks of hopelessness from anyone who loved me. My drive was my family and the hope of having a family of my own one day.

Yes; I was in the very midst of an illness that was trying very hard to steal my life. It came very close, but obviously.. it didn’t. I took my life back. I am now twenty-one years old and about to graduate from college next year. My family and I did not know if this day would ever come, but because of my trial and circumstance, I now see my life in a completely new light. I see life in a perspective that has brought me such freedom and joy.

With that being said, different hardships and life-altering situations have happened since my past struggle with anorexia . However, I have remained “just as I am” regardless of the pits that seem to trip us when we least expect it. I share some of my story in hopes that you can understand where I am coming from in the actual “point” of this entire blog. And that point is to simply say, “embrace all that you are—you ARE beauty”. Yes, we are all “on this road to deceiving ourselves and our purpose”, but we know enough about ourselves to know what we--believe, how we think, how we feel, and our values and interests. With that being said, we have to understand that beauty is not something to be consumed or is something someone should just be. You, as you are now, reflect beauty; there is no one like you.

I often have to remind myself of this simple truth. Sometimes we all just need a little reminder that beauty is in fact something that is neither to be acquired or consumed. Rather, it is found in the grace point between what hurts and what heals, between the shadow of tragedy and the light of joy. Beauty is found in scars, in the cry of a small child, and in the simple things. It is something that is so simple to understand, and yet, I think many of us just need that small reminder. It is often the smallest  thing that pushes us to live the most.

"It is up to you to see the beauty of everyday things..”

“Be who you are, not what the world wants you to be”

“You do not have to have it all figured out to move forward”

“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself”


About the Author

Elizabeth Jordan is a junior at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a Worship Arts major and Social Work minor. She was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at the age of thirteen. Her experience with the illness has created in her a passion to work and help others dealing with similar circumstances. She plans on using her degrees to focus on the issue of eating disorders and assure that the truth is always communicated and lives are transformed and changed. Also, her hope is that she can somehow intertwine her passion for leading worship with her passion for helping others who are enveloped in this life-threatening illness or who are in danger of its development in their life.


Posted on 03/31/2015 10:53 AM by Elizabeth Jordan

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