Topic Tuesday: Forgiveness

Heather McAlister“Forgiveness” (By: Heather McAlister)

So, you made it through the toughest of the toughest on your road to recovery. You’ve jumped every hurdle, broke through every obstacle, and are finally in a pretty decent relationship with yourself and even food. But you still feel empty, like something just doesn’t feel right. I was also in this place.

Even though I wasn’t saying horrible things about myself anymore and I was eating and eating well, I still felt depressed. I couldn’t understand why I was feeling this way. I mean, when you get to the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t it supposed to always be sunny and bright? Yea, the healing process wasn’t fun and was definitely hard but I really thought I was going to find unbelievable, fulfilling happiness. That was not the case in any shape or form.

When I was finally in a place where I felt comfortable and wasn’t thinking about what I ate all the time or if people were going to like me even though I didn’t look like a model, the depression continued to increase and it was awful.

I was angry that no one could help me. I felt that no one would or even wanted to help me. I started becoming angry with my family, my friends, and people that I didn’t even know because they didn’t understand why I was so depressed and I even felt that they didn’t want to understand. I eventually started to seclude myself and fell deeper into a dark place. In that place is where the past came back to haunt me. I started thinking about all the times I felt I was being ignored when I was reaching out for help. I thought back to my horrible break up with my ex-boyfriend, all the dates I went on that went nowhere, and I began to blame myself again. Falling deeper and deeper into darkness and losing the light that I fought to hard for.

There was one day I had come home from work to the apartment that I had shared in Chicago with my sister and her husband. I walked in the door and my sister said, “Hey! How was your day?” I said, “It was okay thank you.” As I tuned to walk back to my room she shouted, “How am I? How was my day? It was just great! Thank you for asking Heather”, then she stormed off. I was initially extremely confused why she all of a sudden was so angry with me. Then I realized something, I had been sulking in my own depression and anger that I did not realize that I was unable to give love to anyone else. I was so wrapped up in my own darkness that I never once thought to ask how anyone else was.

My sister knew the place that I was in and that I wasn’t okay, but she wasn’t in my darkness with me so there was no way she could understand what I was going through, what I was feeling. All she saw was my inconsideration to how she was feeling, what she had to say about her day, and how she was doing in her life. I went back to my her room and told her I was sorry and told her that I didn’t realize that I was not acknowledging her or her husband. I told her that I was depressed and that I was trying so hard to keep myself together that I had nothing for anyone, but it wasn’t that I didn’t care about them and what they were going through. I just couldn’t focus on anything else but myself at that time. And it wasn’t that my sister or anyone else didn’t care about what I was going trough. There was just not way that they could understand my pain because they have never gone through what I had (and hopefully never will). We both talked about what we wanted and needed from each other and promised to try to be there more for one another.

This opened my eyes and made me step back and look at why I was feeling so low. Yes I had made it to a comfortable place with food and my body, but I had never forgiven myself for all the negative things I said to myself. I never forgave myself for treating my body so horribly that I was carrying so much shame and guilt around I couldn’t completely move on. I was ashamed that I even had an eating disorder. I was upset about when I hated myself so much that I kept myself from doing the things that I loved. I had blamed myself.

Another realization I had was that the anger I was carrying around toward other people was because I had not forgiven them either. I was angry that family and friends didn’t understand my pain, but how could they? How could they possibly understand what I was going through when they have never had to go through what I did. I couldn’t blame them for that it wasn’t their fault.

So what did I do to get back on track? Well, I allowed myself to feel that anger and ask why it was there. I allowed my sister to show me that I was not giving her love, and I did not put blame on myself or anyone else. I felt every emotion, cried through those emotions, and then let it all go. I was open with my sister and talked about it. Then and only then was I able to move on. When I looked at everything, how I was able to accept it all and proudly walked back toward the light.

You cannot move toward healing and happiness if you do not accept that the past is the past and if you don’t accept where are you are NOW. You must live in the moment of now and move toward the moments that will come in the future. Life isn’t always easy and it isn’t meant to be. Those tough times we endure are what make us who we are.

About the Author

Heather is a Nashville native and a Holistic Health Coach. She became a Health Coach because of her own struggle with an eating disorder and years of body image issues. She created Dancer Inside to help young women with body image issues find balance in their lives by creating a healthy relationship with food and with themselves.