My Nan once said, “As infants, our children are heavy on our arms, when they get older, they are heavy on our hearts.” Worrying about our children is common, of course, but if we add mental illness into the mix, life can go from worry to downright scary.
As a mom recovered from an eating disorder, having a child show personality traits that I possess revs up the worry motor within. Fear causes me to scour through “normal” events to find any residue of the illness that I have had, so that if spotted, I can immediately destroy it. Oh my, if only I had the power!
Lying awake at night, I sometimes cripple myself with “what-ifs,” like “what if one of my children goes through what I did?” “What if I can’t help her?” I can what-if myself frozen, rendering me useless to the present moment and to those who need me and my attention.
Recently, I did a webinar on how those affected by an eating disorder can navigate the stressful holiday season. For the first time, I spoke about my use of a higher power to support my recovered life. I’d never mentioned this tool before because of fear that people will misinterpret it as religious, and possibly, for some, due to their beliefs, would turn them off. (Yes, I admit, I still worry about what people think of me sometimes—I’m working on it!) For me, having a higher power is not necessarily about “religion” or even “spirituality,” rather the connection to something greater than myself that calms me down and allows me to be still.