My 2017 Saving Graces

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I don’t know how we’re already at the end of 2017, but here we are. And I am so thankful for that, because man, 2017 has been one heck of a year and I am ready to leave it all behind. Trust me, I know the clock striking midnight on December 31 isn’t as momentous as we make it seem–nothing actually changes unless we make the change. But it’s nice to have the clean slate and fresh start. And I am so. dang. ready. for that.

While reflecting back on the year, I really kept thinking of my saving graces that kept me sane, happy, healthy, and alive. They range from the smallest of things such as blog posts and songs all the way up to people in my life and moments that I lived. So many things in 2017 that reminded me stay here. you got this. we’ll make it through. So I thought I’d share some of my favorite saving graces from the year. There have been so, so many, but this is just a small handful that leave me saying YES YES YES every time I read/listen to/hang out with/remember them.

Blog Posts

“Good Morning Baltimore”–Hannah Brencher — Forever and always my favorite blog post. I seriously go back and read it at least once a week. I hang onto the hope that it offers when I can’t see an end in sight. So. Good.

“What I Do Know”–TWLOHA — “I’m not sure how it all started”–something I feel like I’ve said a thousand times the past few months. “I was choosing to believe I mattered enough to do the work that had to follow, even if those upcoming years looked daunting, even if the waves around me were more terrifying than ever before—those scary things meant I had hope. … I was taking healing into my own hands because I deserved it. It’s OK that I can’t remember, it’s OK that I’m unsure of how it all started. Because I do know how my healing started. It began with a decision to stay.”

“The Pain is the Price of Admission”–TWLOHA — “The pain comes with the joy. It’s the labor before the birth. The night before the dawn. The storm that soaks the soil before the bloom. You can’t let one in without the other either, I know. … You can’t run away from the pain and live. The pain is as much a part of the process as the joy is. They are not opposites, not even close: The pain is just the other side of the same life coin.”

“This Is Survival”–Aly Raisman — Blog post written by Aly Raisman about the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her Olympic doctor. At the end of her post she shares her victim statement that she wrote for her abuser’s sentencing hearing. Powerful as heck.

“Promise Me Tomorrow”–TWLOHA — “Tomorrow is a place where we can figure out a better way to cope with living and tomorrow is a place where, one day, we won’t be coping – we’ll be living.”

People

Peggy + Lindsay–literally never underestimate the relationships you have with your freshman year RA(s). Peggy and Lindsay have been literal gold to me this year, and I am forever thankful. It takes some pretty special people to drop life just to bring you Panera when things are hard. Thanks for always answering my texts, phone calls, FaceTimes, and for letting me crash in Elam. I love y’all more than words can explain! (Also, Peggy, we have no pictures together. What the heck.)

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CH girlies always and forever!!–Mere, Kristin, Mandy, wow. I will never get over the friendship that I have in y’all. Thank you for keeping me grounded and for always inspiring me to walk out the freedom that I found with y’all!

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Lauren–my go-to, always and forever. Roomie bff. Yes. I love you. Always. Thanks for always answering my FaceTime calls when I’m sobbing and making jokes about whatever I’m crying about (that most people would find offensive but I love because they make me laugh). Thank you for always pulling me out of my head, even from a gazillion miles away.

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Kayley + Andrew + John–the most present, hands-on people in my life this semester. What a ride. But literally would not have been able to do it without y’all. Thank you. (Also, no picture of the four of us exists??)

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Michael + Amari–thankful for people that keep you grounded and laughing in even the most unfortunate circumstances. Let’s never go back, but thankful to have met y’all. Thanks for the jokes and coloring and… well that’s pretty much all we did, so thanks for the jokes and coloring!

Songs

Moments

Spring Break in CT–I said it a lot while I was there, but I was hardcore living my happy life up in New England. The blizzard, the rocky beaches, the roomie bffs reunited… it was all too good.

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One Year in Recovery!!–one year killing it in recovery from anorexia. Need I say more?

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Nannying Wyatt–honestly the highlight of my life. Nannying Wyatt was my greatest joy from summer 2017. SO. MUCH. HAPPINESS.

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Chrysalis–Chrysalis is always a highlight. Jesus is so present in that community of people. I am always grateful for a weekend that leaves me completely undone by the Holy Spirit and completely filled to the brim with Jesus joy. I always leave the weekend full of spiritual rest (def not physical rest) and with new eyes to see what the Lord is doing in my current season of life.

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Carolina House Alumni Retreat–what a blessing. Words cannot describe how it felt to be back at the place that saved my life with the people that my life was saved with. And finally getting to hug and meet McCall… best thing ever.

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Glennon Doyle!–I GOT TO MEET AND HUG MY (S)HERO AND I CRIED SO MUCH. Thanks for teaching me how to always show up and be brave and for always reminding me that WE CAN DO HARD THINGS!!

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NYC–honestly the calm before the storm of the end of the semester. Thanks, Jesus, for that one.

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All the Car Rides with Kay–loud music somehow makes all the broken pieces feel together. #blessed

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Etc.

Pinterest Quotes

“Home” by Rupi Kaur

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#MeToo

Peace out, 2017. I am SO ready for you, 2018!!!

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He’s Already Coming To Get Me [a follow up post]

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It’s only been a little over 48 hours since I sat crying in my bed and published my last blog post, but wow, God is already showing up.

When I wrote that blog, it really wasn’t for my readers. It was for me. It was for me to be able to vocalize that God is good in the midst of it all. In the midst of my sadness and uncertainty, I needed to proclaim that God is good so that my heart could believe it. It was a reminder for me, no one else.

Oh, heart, believe.

I let that blog post become my faith declaration; my heart cry. My white flag to Jesus. Me screaming, “I TRUST YOU. I KNOW THAT YOU ARE GOOD. I BELIEVE THAT THERE WILL BE AN END TO THIS SUFFERING. BUT UNTIL THEN, I WILL PRAISE.”

I didn’t expect the darkness to lift any time soon. And if I’m being honest, it got a whole lot darker on Monday morning.

But God.

God hear my heart cry. He knew that I believed and that I trusted, but when I wrote that out for the world to see on this blog, he used that as my declaration of faith.

It’s as if God read my blog post and said, “Okay, she trusts me. She knows that I’m good and that I’ll save her from this eventually. She has that faith. And she is still choosing to praise me, no matter the timeline or outcome.”

And then God moved. 

By Monday evening, I couldn’t stop crying because of JOY. Pure, unexplainable-except-for-Jesus joy.

God moved mountains and opened doors that I had not even imagined or knew existed. He is just THAT good!!!

He knew my deep heartache, but he also knew my deep faith. And once I proclaimed his goodness over my situation, he moved.

That is just who our God is. Time and time and time again, he has proven that throughout all of history.

Abraham. God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Without question, Abraham went. When Isaac asked his father where the lamb was for the offering, Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son” (Genesis 22:8). He didn’t know for sure, but he decided to believe that God would provide. FAITH DECLARATION. When Abraham goes to slay his only soon, God stops him. “Do not lay a hand on the boy. Do not do anything to him. Now I know you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son” (Genesis 22:12). And then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught in the bushes. GOD MOVED.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. King Nebuchadnezzar created a statue of himself and commanded all the Babylonians to bow down at the assigned time and worship him. They were all told that if they did not bow down, they would immediately be thrown into the blazing furnace. Yet Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, stood their ground and refused to worship any god except for God. Right before they are to be thrown in the fire, the king asks them if they believe that God will save them. They reply, “if we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18). Even though they knew God might not save them, they still declared him good. FAITH DECLARATION. They were thrown into the fire, and once the king and his advisers looked in, they saw that they were not burning, and that there were four people in the fire. Jesus showed up. Shadrach, Mesach, and Abednego were taken out of the fire unharmed–“they saw that they fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them” (Daniel 3:27). GOD MOVED. 

Boy Possessed by an Impure Spirit. This is one of my favorites. A man brings his demon possessed son to Jesus, begging him to heal him. After the man expresses doubt of his ability to heal, Jesus sasses him and says that all things are possible for one who believes. The man then proclaims, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) FAITH DECLARATION. After the main’s proclamation, Jesus rebuked the impure spirit and it fled from the boy’s body immediately. GOD MOVED. 

These are just three examples of countless times over all of eternity that God has worked and opened doors after his people have declared faith. Sometimes faith is all we need.

I stand amazed at my God this week. Things have been SO hard and I saw no end in sight, but I trusted. I had faith. I proclaimed. And God moved in ways that I had no idea were possible. WHAT?! 

It isn’t over, but joy is there. There is sun again. I can’t stop dancing and twirling.

God is good.

He is faithful.

Time and time and time again.

Always good.

Always, always, always faithful.

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He Won’t Leave Me Here

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It’s been quite a week. Quite a month. And if I’m being honest, it’s been quite a semester.

I am so incredibly happy with where I am right now–I have the best roomie, my boyfriend is great, I’ve been traveling and seeing all my people which has been SO good, and I absolutely adore my major and the path that my life is on–but the darkness is heavy.

So heavy.

It’s been a heck of a long time since I have felt such unshakable sadness. The kind of sadness that’s almost debilitating. The kind of sadness that has left me in bed for 75% of this past week. And it is so hard to feel like this again.

I don’t think I have felt this kind of sadness that has lasted this long + affected so much of my life since before Carolina House. Ouch.

No no no no no, I am not that girl again. I’m not. This sadness is dark and heavy and it honestly feels like it’s never going to end, but I am not that girl still. I’m never going to be her again.

There’s really no point to this post except to say that sometimes life is hard. And sometimes you cry upwards of 10 times a day. That’s okay. It isn’t for forever.

I think in this past week I have journaled/vocalized to my roommate/texted my support system this very question about a gazillion times: “When is it just going to end?”

I don’t know when it’ll end. I don’t know when the tears will stop or when life will feel yellow again or when the sadness will finally go away, but here’s what I do know:

Jesus is good.

Jesus is good and he is faithful and he will not leave me here.

He’s never left me here before, and he’s not going to start now. That isn’t who my Jesus is.

Last night I journaled, through a heck of a lot of tears, “My Jesus, you are good. So good. Let me see that and say that in the midst of it all.”

YES.

Let me see your goodness and let me proclaim it EVEN IN THIS SADNESS.

Currently I want to go get Psalm 27:13 tattooed over every inch of my body because it is my heart cry right now.

I will remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13

Amen.

My confidence and my only hope right now is that there is an end to this sadness. But even until then, I will praise Jesus because he sees me in this valley. He sees me and he knows me and he calls me his.

This season might not feel good, but he is good. And that is enough.

My Jesus won’t leave me here.

I don’t know when this sadness will end, I don’t know how many more tears will come, I don’t know how many more times I’ll beg for it to just be over already.

But he is here, so it is well.


This song is my anthem right now. Give it a listen, let it sink into your heart, and believe it. Peace be still.

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Recovery Q+A

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Hey friends! I know that eating disorder recovery can be confusing to people that have never experienced it. BUT luckily someone suggested I do a recovery Q+A, so here we are!!! I’m answering most of the questions that I received, but if you don’t see yours on here or you think of me, feel free to leave a comment or message me through my contact page. Love y’all wowowow!!


Q. When you were in your disorder, was your view of your body distorted? Like, did you see yourself as fat when in reality you were actually skinny? And is that part of an eating disorder or a separate thing that a non-eating disordered individual can experience?

A. YES, my view of my body was extremely distorted. Looking back at pictures now, I can see how sickly I looked, but in the moment, all I saw was fat. I saw fat on parts of my body that didn’t even exist. Body dysmorphia is a common part of eating disorders that most (but not all) individuals suffer from. However, there is a disorder called Body Dysmorphia Disorder. While many eating disorder individuals claim to have BDD, it is not possible (according to the DSM-5!) for the two disorders to co-occur. BDD is essentially the same thing that many eating disorder sufferers experience, but just a separate diagnosis specifically for those without eating disorders. So yes, it is possible for non-eating disordered individuals to experience distorted body image. While I can’t say that every person who has bad body image has BDD, it is definitely a possibility.

 

Q. What are some tips for dealing with a changing body in recovery? Specifically when you are “weight restored” but your body is still changing.

A. Girl, I still struggle with this! Weight restoring is hard, and then it’s still hard when you body continues to change and fluctuate. However, that is SO NORMAL. Weight fluctuates all the time. It happens to everyone, not just eating disorder individuals. So for me, I’m just learning to trust my body. Our bodies are SO smart, and they know what they’re doing. So when my body changes or fluctuates, I just remind myself that it is normal and I choose to trust my body, even when my eating disorder is screaming no. I also fact check with my dietitian a lot! I tell her what I’m experiencing and she always tells me that it’s normal and we discuss how I feel about it. I suggest reaching out to your treatment team because they can validate how you feel but also give you the facts!!

 

Q. How do you balance the demands of college while maintaining stable recovery?

A. At this point in my recovery, it feels normal to me to balance the two, but when I started my freshman year, it was so overwhelming. BUT FLEXIBILITY IS KEY. College is demanding and your schedule gets crazy hectic, but you have to make room for snacks and meals. For me, sometimes this means eating in class or at work. You can’t use your busy schedule as an excuse to not eat. You have to be proactive and make a plan for the times that you’re busy! When signing up for classes, I always make sure to have a break in between classes to have lunch. Figure out what works for you, and stick with that! Reach out to your friends and let them know what’s going on so that they can keep you accountable. If you’re struggling, make sure to always go to the dining hall with friends. Work with your school to get some accommodations if needed. It’s challenging, but as long as you stick to what you know you need to do, it’ll become second nature!

 

Q. What are some things that are helpful and supportive to say to a person recovering from an eating disorder as opposed to the well-meaning yet destructive comments?

A. Thank you so much for asking this question. I know it’s really easy to say, “Wow, you look so healthy!” or something of that nature, but to someone in recovery, their eating disorder can twist that to mean “Wow, you look so FAT!” It’s best to stray away from commenting on the person’s appearance. Tell them that you’re proud of them. Acknowledge that recovery is so so hard, and validate how they feel. Offer to help them in any way that you can, whether that be meal support or accountability or distraction. Acknowledge that you don’t understand what recovering from an eating disorder is like, but always be willing to listen to them. Remind them that they’re worthy and capable and that you believe in them. Most of all, just be there for them!!

 

Q. How do you start a relationship with God, and how does that affect/play into your recovery?

A. You start a relationship with God like you do any other relationship. You spend time with him. I started doing this by starting a prayer journal, which is just a normal journal, but you address your journal entries to God as a prayer. For me, that was an easy way to begin my prayer life because I was doing something that I’d normally do, but I was making it a spiritual practice. And reading your Bible is so important! I recommend starting with the Gospels so you can learn about who Jesus is and what he did for you. Feel free to comment or message me for more book suggestions! Get plugged in with a good Christian community, whether that be a youth group or Bible study or whatever. Most importantly, just push through and put in the effort to get to know God, even if you can’t feel him! The more you learn about him, the more you’ll be able to feel his presence.

My faith plays a big part of my recovery. I feel like the two go hand and hand. For me personally, I don’t think I’d be in recovery if it weren’t for Jesus. Knowing Jesus gives me a purpose and a reason to not live a miserable life of self-destructive behaviors. The more I know Jesus, the more I want to live for him and in line with what his Word says. Jesus is the most important thing to me, and if I want to live for him, I can’t live for my eating disorder.

 

Q. For you, what is the most rewarding part of recovery?

A. The freedom that I experience. Recovery is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I am the happiest that I have been in years. Being able to eat and laugh and live life without ruining friendships or isolating or feeling guilty or as if I’m drowning all the time is the best feeling. I’d never give up on this journey because recovery offers me so much more freedom than my eating disorder ever did.

 

Q. Do you believe in full recovery? And if so, how do you know when you’re fully recovered?

A. I do. I don’t/won’t believe that we’re made to live in our eating disorders for the rest of our lives. We’re made to live in full freedom, and I believe that that is possible after a lot of hard work. I think full recovery comes when you don’t hear your eating disorder’s voice all the time anymore. I think when the voices do come (which they will from time to time because #dietculture), recovered is being able to immediately combat the eating disorder voice as lies without thinking and without urges to act on behaviors. It takes a while to get to fully recovered. It’s a gradual process, but one day you’ll realize that you haven’t had thoughts or urges in so long and that you eat whatever you want without a second thought. I don’t know how long it takes. But I do know that I’m over a year into this journey, and I’m still not recovered. But I’m getting there. And I fully believe that it will happen one day, and I don’t think that that day is too far off.

 

Q. As a Christian, do you believe that you can be fully 100% healed from a mental illness through the Holy Spirit?

A. I think so. I had a pretty instantaneous moment of healing from self-harm, so I do know that the Holy Spirit can heal mental illness or self-destructive behaviors. As I mentioned in the above question, I believe that full recovery is possible. God doesn’t always heal through prayer and the laying of hands; sometimes God heals through doctors and therapists and other treatment providers. I wouldn’t be in recovery if it weren’t for going to Carolina House, but I believe that God worked through that treatment and is still working through my continual outpatient treatment. It’s a hard question to answer, and I’d love to talk one-on-one if you’re interested! But short answer, I believe that 100% healing//full recovery is possible. Healing can obviously come to those who are not Christians (SO many people from other religions are fully recovered), but I do believe that the Holy Spirit can bring that same healing, whether instantaneous or by working through worldly treatment. In this blog post, I talk about my instantaneous healing from self-harm and how I feel like God is still a big part of my eating disorder recovery, even though I did not experience the same instant healing through prayer.

 

Q. What is your favorite DBT skill?

A. Opposite action. As much as I hate it sometimes, it’s the most useful skill in my opinion! When my eating disorder says no to pizza or ice cream or whatever, I force myself to say yes and eat it anyway BECAUSE SCREW MY EATING DISORDER. I think recovery is basically summed up as opposite action because you never feel 100% ready, but you choose to recover anyway.

 

Q. What is your favorite self-care activity?

A. I’m a huge introvert, so I love having alone time. Whether that’s reading or painting my nails or watching Netflix (or all three!), I love having a night to myself to decompress and let my emotions level out without overflowing.


This was so fun, y’all! Thanks for sending in such great questions. 🙂 Feel free to comment if you have any thoughts or opinions to any of my answers! And feel free to contact me if you have anymore questions. Thanks for being so awesome!!!

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