The Difficulty of Being Gentle With Ourselves

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Last Saturday I stood among an eager group of bloggers at the Minnesota Blogging Conference, hoping to inspire and motivate them. I energetically told them, “Sit in the chair, and make time to write, if you have time for Facebook you have time to write.”

While speaking I was also nursing a painful headache. Not only the headache has stopped me, but I find myself getting all tangled up in what I am supposed to do as a blogger. Words like…SEO, Google Analytics, Videoblog…it all begins to paralyze me. That is just my excuse.

I haven’t written a word since last Friday.

Something else I told the group, “Write the truth”.

So today, I write the truth.

The truth is, I hate October. I have tried to embrace it, to make it different, to pretend it isn’t October. But it doesn’t work. I want to love it and I try to celebrate it, with the beauty in the trees and the glorious sky. The trees so stunning and the colors so red, orange and vibrant you have to stop and take a picture.

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But before you know it, the leaves are gone.

And you wake up and it is cold.

And dark.

I meant to take a picture of this stunning view outside my window the other day with the gorgeous full red tree and my favorite spot on my front porch. But I didn’t. And the leaves are gone. Just like that.

 

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And for some reason everything seems to fall apart in my mind in October. I know the cold is coming and the hats and gloves need to come out of storage. I know the long winter is ahead and I need to cherish these cool days and the warm sunshine, because it slips so quickly out of my view.

I feel that about my life right now too.

The pressure to embrace my kids who are growing up too fast. The pressure to spend more quality time with them, the ache of wondering did I miss quality time with them because now they barely mutter anything but ‘huh?” and “ya”?

I know this every October, that it is my hardest month.

And yet, this year I tried really hard to pretend. Pretend that it wasn’t coming.

But my body reminded me. It remembered.

Oh our bodies, they are so smart.

It is interesting as I used to be able to push and demand of my body, when I wasn’t attached. When my head was bossing my body around. But now that we are friends, my body will scream at me when I don’t take care of it, when I push it too hard, and when I demand too much of it. This past month I have been struggling with painful headaches. I push and push and try to pretend they aren’t there, but it doesn’t work. My body tells me it doesn’t like my pace, doesn’t like the thoughts that are pounding and pressuring and demanding of it. And I admit it, I am not so great at slowing down. Not so great at listening…but I am trying. Trying to do it different.

And I realize how grateful I am I can listen. Before when I was deep in my eating disorder, I had no idea what I felt. Had no ability to sense my own emotions. The goal was to not have emotions. To stay numb.

So here we are in October. Back again. Every year. And my body reminds me of the sadness of this month. The sounds, the smells, the reminder of a time of another October where I was in such emotional pain that I tried to end it all.

October hurts. It just does. I am trying to muddle through and be gentle with myself.

Are you having a hard time with October too?

Be gentle friends, gentle with your body and mind if October steals your joy like it does mine. The month of gratitude and family and friends is just around the corner! 

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Lots of love and rest for you and me.

Xo

Lee

Today Show – A Woman Who Gains 50lbs to Prove Something Perpetuates “Fat Shaming”

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Dear Today Show,

Did you know that 81% of ten year olds are afraid of being fat?

Did you know that 54% of women would rather be hit by a truck than be fat?

A woman name Katie Hopkins tried her own experiment. (Photo from Google Images.)

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The Today Show shared that she wants to tell us how there is no excuse for being overweight.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

And here I am again, throwing my hands in the air. Really people? Really? I cover this topic often as it still hasn’t changed.

Some other culprits: The Biggest Loser , Lululemon, Urban Outfitters, Actresses.

We know there is an epidemic with the obesity crisis. This is made apparent in the news everyday. We also know some people (not all people) can gain weight from eating too much food. There are many other considerations in this puzzle of weight gain. What many don’t realize is this:

America is suffering from two serious health crises that initially seem contradictory. Levels of obesity have risen to epidemic proportions in recent decades, while the high frequency of eating disorders has become cause for serious concern.” - Harvard Political Review

Obesity awareness can also have the opposite effect. Did you know that, for obese kids weight loss can sometimes lead to eating disorders? Read more here.  I am not saying we don’t need to find a balance here, I long for that.

But, these stories only dig us further in the spin cycle of the obsesity and eating disorder paradox.

These stories instill shame and fear. Shame and fear do not motivate people. Shame paralyzes, and this woman who was trying to prove a point only reinforces the overwhelming amount of fat shaming in our culture. Tell me, Katie …have you ever thought that some people have medical issues that make them gain weight? That some people don’t have the money, time, or ability to even eat healthy foods or exercise.

What Katie is doing is perpetuating our cutlure of “weight stigma”.

Weight stigma, also known as weightism, weight bias, and weight-based discrimination, is discrimination or stereotyping based on one’s weight, especially larger or thinner people. Weight stigma reflects internalized attitudes towards body size that affects how those who are the targets of bias are treated.”Truth About Weight Stigma 

Does she not realize that fat shaming doesn’t inspire anyone to change and often leads to weight gain!

Let’s stop the fat shaming! I understand you want to share stories that are “hot” and even “controversial”.

I get it.

There are other stories that you can share that don’t have such a negative effect!

As a woman who is living on the other side of a life threatening eating disorder  and walking with patients every day at an eating disorder hospital, who struggle with food and loving their bodies, I see the wounds and destructions our society is constantly reinforcing for them. Fat is bad. Thin is in. Search for it like the Holy Grail.

The message that was clearly conveyed in the story you aired…that obesity is one’s fault and one only needs willpower. YIKES! 

And like sands in the hourglass we continue on perpetuating an out of control problem in our society.

So what is the truth here? The truth is…Katy is wrong. And her little experiment in my opinion, is cruel

Most people had argued that obesity is a disorder primarily of willpower. This data suggests that there is an underlying biological problem directly involved in obesity.” Psychiatry Online This research suggests that people with eating disorders and obesity may not have the biological control mechanisms most of us have to keep us healthy.  When we tell someone to eat or not to eat, we are assuming that this person has normal hormonal responses and can easily control their appetite.  This research also forces us to conduct more research on the medical interventions that could help those with eating disorders and obesity regulate appetite and metabolism and make the journey to recovery more possible.”ANAD

This author in the Huffington Post has it right.

We are mired in an epidemic of self-harm in the form of body shaming and image bashing.”

Why do we need the media to perpetuate what is happening already in the schools, the workplaces and the homes?

Instead, why not stories of people who have overcome eating disorders (that aren’t sensationalized) or stories of people who are loving their bodies and celebrating them. You can help perpetuate body LOVE…not body shame. Please …won’t you try?

Let’s change the conversation!

Xo

Lee

What Do You “Deserve”?

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

You deserve that promotion! You deserve to take a vacation! You deserve more!

Do I? Do I really “deserve” anything?

I can tell you one thing for sure, this word is what I say 99% of the time when I am purchasing something… I deserve a new shirt. I deserve these fancy shoes. I have worked hard, I deserve to go shopping.

There is nothing wrong with treating yourself, but it is this word that gets me all tangled in knots.

Let’s think about this: I deserve a paycheck because I work hard, I deserve a better life because I want one. I deserve to have a New York Times Bestseller because it took me eight years to write my book. I deserve to be skinny because I want to be??? What? Hmmm. A bit faulty logic isn’t it? But people say this. Often.

Remember Violet? She thought she deserved EVERYTHING. Then she turned into a blueberry.

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Some people get a paycheck even if they don’t work hard. Some people have a great life and they are rotten mean people. Some people have New York Times Bestsellers because they are famous.

Oh, this word. Thrown around like a football here and there expecting someone to catch it and hold it and believe it.

So tell me, what about my friend who just suddenly lost his wife at 42 years old? Or my other friend who has cancer? Tell me about the person who receives the promotion and the fat paycheck and hardly lifts a finger, but they are promoted anyway?

My point?

I wish we would stop using this word.

Instead, I want to look at the world through a different lens. Because this truth is, this is not a just world. 

To think it is entraps us.

To say it to someone else entraps them.

Then when we don’t get what we want we stand like a two year old screaming “But I DESERVE THIS!”

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At the same time I have worked with hundreds of patients who often will say, I don’t deserve to eat. I deserve to be punished. I don’t deserve to have a good life. 

This word now used to abuse and harm.

See how this word tangles us all up into knots?

Instead, I choose gratitude. Gratitude for what I do have.

That I have food to nourish a body that was made to move and dance and sing. That I have a roof over my head and a paycheck each week. Do I deserve any of it? I don’t know and I don’t want to try and figure it out.

Xo

Lee

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Book Review – By The Director Of New York Center For Eating Disorders

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

 

Books, Book Reviews and Other Educational Resources:

BOOK REVIEW: Table in the Darkness: A Healing Journey Through an Eating Disorder by Lee Wolfe Blum (IVP Books, 2013, 200 pages).

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When I first read that Ms. Blum credits Jesus Christ with helping her recover from an eating disorder, I was concerned that as a non-Christian I might not be the best reviewer for this book and that it would only appeal to a limited audience. I was wrong. Blum’s autobiographical story is written like a compelling novel, and we quickly come to identify with her struggles to find love and self acceptance. Through her candor, humanity, and resiliency, she transcends writing a book solely for a Christian audience. Youngest child of divorced parents, Lee often felt mistreated by her family. Alcoholism, parental infidelity, and cruelty led Lee to focus on cutting her lettuce into a million pieces. Her description of the lies and secrets in her family leads us to viscerally understand how focusing and obsessing about that lettuce can soothe us in the broken places of our being. Bits of lettuce lead the way to further starvation and bulimia, as her quest for thinness becomes her personal search for the Holy Grail. Following a suicide attempt, Ms. Blum realizes she cannot continue her inner fight with her eating disorder without surrendering her will to God. She embarks on an arduous journey with a talented therapist, medication, and an increasing commitment toward renewing her life. She identifies how her eating disorder developed as a refusal to feel her pain, but “by choosing my life, I began to have tears and laughter.” Now a health educator in Minnesota, Ms. Blum has triumphantly affirmed her victory over her eating disorder. Table in the Dark is a true testament to her rebirth. “

Book review submitted by Mary Anne Cohen, Director of The New York Center for Eating Disorders, author of French Toast for Breakfast: Declaring Peace with Emotional Eatingand Lasagna for Lunch: Declaring Peace with Emotional Eating.

Dear Woman – Lay Down That Cape

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Oh dear woman, put down that cape.

Take it off and lay it down. I know you think it is somehow serving you, this rushing around, and this super woman posture.

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But it is wearing you out.

And you are tired, so tired. I know you sit in your kitchen and believe that those dishes won’t get done unless you do them, and that laundry…oh that mountainous pile of laundry that haunts you in your sleep…who will do that? And those schedules and the driving and the constant never-ending-filling-out-forms, who will do those? And it feels like you are always late to everything…everything.

And then… another kid needs braces and the garage door broke and you need new tires.

And it never ends does it?

In the midst of the crazy you rush to Target and see those other women all calm and fit in their Lululemon yoga paints, and manicured nails.

And you remember you haven’t’ showered today. Or brushed your teeth. And you rush through, hoping no one will see you. OF COURSE on this day, you run into every perfect mom you know in town. And you want to hide. You don’t feel like you measure up.

Your cape is dirty and your eyes are tired.

One day of constant doing and doing bleeds into the next and you finally open you eyes and they are older, and they have facial hair and need bras.

And you wonder…where did it all go?

Because in wearing that cape you are missing the moments. Those string of moments that make a life.

So put it down. Let the dishes sit and the laundry pile up. Ask for help. Ask someone else to do it. Take a nap. Take a long shower. And breathe.

That cape isn’t serving you, it is abusing you and slapping you into a word of comparisons and jealousy and grass is always greener that does not exist.

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Lay it down my friend. Lay it down.

xo

Lee

 

 

Lessons From A Mammogram

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

The other day I had a Mammogram.

And I had a revelation.

I walked into the little room and undressed as was told, covered myself with nothing but what felt like a paper napkin, then was ushered into what I like to call the “torture chamber” by a woman whose eyes were squinched in serious.  She proceeded to jump right in and grab my breast with her chilly hands and place them on the cold hard machine. And then she cranked and cranked the vice until my sad little boob was nothing but a flat little thing. I looked down and trying to lighten the awkward situation said, “Look at that! It’s a pancake.”

She said nothing.

Which made it even more awkward.

And then she said, “Lean in!”

I tried to lean closer but it hurt, so she cranked the machine again.

“Lean in!” She barked.

Finally on my tiptoes, I leaned as far forward as I could with my pancake-boob lying there looking so sad and defeated, and held my breath.

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And I had a revelation. It was this:

That every woman can achieve her dreams by leaning in to two very uncomfortable but necessary postures.

1. Letting go of perfection.

In my own story perfectionism led me away from a persistent thought gnawing at my brain telling me I wasn’t good enough. If I could just be quieter, if I could just be nicer, If I could just ____ fill in the blank. Then everything would be ok.

Because I was too much and too much wasn’t good.

Perfection was my balm for the pain of who I was.

And it didn’t work. It led me into the vortex of a life and death battle with an eating disorder.

You see, everyone wants to be perfect. But no one wants to be with perfect.

imagesIn the pit of my despair when I found myself alone, afraid, and in the ICU of a hospital, I finally I let go. Don’t confuse this with a simple act of letting go. It was more like a shedding. An uncovering of everything I was trying to become for the world and allowing the person God created to rise up underneath.

Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump: you may be freeing him from being a camel.” – G.K. Chesterton

You can read more about all of this in my memoir, Table in the Darkness.

What happened? God wanted to heal me, but the question was…did I want to be healed?

I had to get in the game, the game of life. And I had to stop trying to be someone else and be the person that God created me to be. It was extremely difficult, but it was so worth it. I have been living in recovery now for over eighteen years. And I learned in the process of letting go of perfectionism and being the hot mess that I am, and allowing Jesus to be the perfect one, I learned to own my own story.

Owning our own story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy…the experiences that make us most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our own light.” – Brene Brown.

Which leads me to my second mammogram revelation:

2. Leaning into vulnerability

Its one thing to stand naked with you breast being squished, but it is an even more frightening experience to not only own your own story, but also begin to share it with the world.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity.” Brene Brown

I didn’t understand what that meant until ten years ago.

I had three boys under the age of three and got the hair-brain idea to write a book. I wrote and wrote and wrote. And got rejected over and over again. You know why? Because I wrote like everyone else. I wrote funny like Anne Lamott and then flowery like Ann Voskamp. And none of it worked.

Because I wasn’t writing like me. I was once again being someone the world wanted instead of the person I was.

I finally shut the door and began to write the truth. My truth.  My story, which included the suicide, the cutting, and the most naked vulnerable parts of myself. All of it. On paper. Yikes.

And then I got a book contract. And I was terrified, so terrified I almost didn’t sign it. It was my dream; eight years it took me to write it, and all I could think about was, “What will everyone think of me when they read this!”

Why aren’t we vulnerable? Because it is easier to put on a mask, to lean back and show the world what they expect us to be.

Vulnerability is scary.

What I have learned from telling my truth and telling God’s story all raw and real and dirty and beautiful…is that vulnerability helps take down the walls of perfection. It helps us be real. It leads us to connection. The women who have shared their stories with me, because I got naked on the page…have been remarkable and courageous and encourage me to press on and to lean in. 

So if you have a dream, something you feel like God is calling you to…I encourage you to lean into the uncomfortableness of these two postures. Letting go of perfection. And embracing vulnerability.

Then go and do what God has gifted you to do!

I believe that every woman can achieve her dreams by leaning into vulnerability and letting go of perfection.

Every Day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It is not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us. God asks what it is “He’s made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribably need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then leaning over us, He whispers, and “Let’s do that together!” – Bob Goff.

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Xo

Lee

Jennifer Lawrence – The Truth About Gluten Free and Eating Disorders

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Jennifer Lawrence does a wonderful job of bringing issues into the light in the Hollywood culture and continuing to be herself despite the pressures and expectations put on her. I have written about my admiration for her before – Click Here 

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*Image from Live Journal

Her latest headline is in regards to eating disorders, and I applaud her for bringing something to light that many are unaware of and/or in denial about.

Jennifer Lawrence says gluten-free diets are a new ‘eating disorder’.” -Entertainment News, Celebrity News

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*Image from E-Online

Yet, there is a bit of education that needs to be given to the public on this issue, more information is needed than just a movie star’s observations. There are a few things that Jennifer is a bit off on as well. Here are some educational clarifications.

What is Orthorexia?

Orthorexia – an unhealthy fixation on eating only healthy or “pure” foods – was originally defined as a disordered eating behavior in the ’90s, but experts believe it has been gaining steam in recent years, fed by the profusion of foods marketed as healthy and organic, and by the media’s often conflicting dietary advice. Like anorexia nervosa, orthorexia is a disorder rooted in food restriction. Unlike anorexia, for othorexics, the quality instead of the quantity of food is severely restricted.”Eatright.org

When I speak to audiences and mention Orthorexia, there is a glazed over look in people’s eyes. Most people don’t realize there is such a thing.

1. Orthorexia is not a classified eating disorder. What this means is, it is not in the DSM-5 (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) that medical professionals use to give a diagnosis. Do I think it will be eventually? Possibly.

Orthorexia is a term coined by Steven Bratman, MD to describe his own experience with food and eating.  It is not an officially recognized disorder in the DSM-V, but is similar to other eating disorders – those with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa obsess about calories and weight while orthorexics obsess about healthy eating (not about being “thin” and losing weight).” - NEDA

2. Eating Disorders are not “fads”. While we all are influenced by the culture and the eating trends, an eating disorder is a medical life-threatening illness.

Health professionals say fad diets and eating trends can lead to obsessive disorders with unintended consequences for those on them.”When Fad Diets Become Eating Disorders

Trends don’t cause eating disorders, but trends contribute to eating disorders.

3. There are people that actually medically need to be gluten free.

Celiac disease, which affects an estimated 3 million Americans, is the most serious reason.  Research is conflicting, but data currently suggests that up to 18 million Americans also live with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’), which is considered less severe than celiac disease.  The only current treatments for both conditions is a 100% gluten-free diet.”  - Celiac Central

Huffington Post has a great article on this topic. - 9 Things You Need to Know Before You Go Gluten Free.

4. Most diets begin with an eating disorder. I can’t tell you how many patients end up in our treatment center having been “suggested” to go gluten free and then their dieting and control of food, leads them into an eating disorder.  It is important to remember that most eating disorders begin with a diet.

Clearly, not everyone who diets develops an eating disorder, but research does show that 35% of occasional dieters become pathological dieters, and as many as 25% of those diets will progress into full-blown eating disorders.”The Thin Line Between Diet and Eating Disorder

When I began playing around with my diet in the early 90′s as I wrote about in my book, Table in the Darkness – A Healing Journey Through an Eating Disorder, the fad then was “fat free”. I was terrified to eat anything with fat in it and purchased only “fat free” items. I was influenced by the fad at a time when controlling my food helped me to numb out from my emotions. A key thing to remember is that eating disorders most often start with a diet, but other things have to be involved to move a diet into an eating disorder.

Genetics makes the gun. Environment loads the gun. And an overwhelming amount of emotions pulls the trigger.” Amy Liu author of Gaining- The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders

So where do we go from here?

She is right; this trend is a bit out of hand. But, a new one will come along and then another one.

What do we do then? What do we eat? How do we make sense of this new world of gluten free, raw, and clean?

We find moderation.

We strive for balance.

We listen to our bodies instead of following the trends.

For me, I cannot step into this world of gluten free, or low carb, or even reading calories. For me it is like an alcoholic taking a drink. I don’t think this would lead me back to my eating disorder, but it could. So I don’t play with fire. The millions of women and men in this world who are trying to protect their recovery from an eating disorder need to be extremely careful of falling into these eating traps.

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Food is fuel. End of story.

In America we make it so much more than what it really is. It isn’t emotions. It isn’t status. It isn’t power. It should be just what it is – FUEL.

Thank you Jennifer for shedding light on this hot topic! I completely agree with your statement below…as long as it is in moderation.

“I think that people are built the way that they’re built,” she told ET’s Mark Steines and Nancy O’Dell on the Oscars red carpet. “There’s that Kate Moss quote that’s like ‘Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ and… I can name a lot of things that taste better than skinny feels: bread, potatoes… a Philly cheesesteak and fries.”Yahoo Celebrity

 

Xo

Lee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When You Want “The Chicken Exit”

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

What if there was a secret button?

A secret button to take the pain away, the pain that comes from living in a world where people say the wrong things, do the wrong things and hurt each other.

No, not a secret button, but a secret hatch.

Like when you are waiting in line for your turn on the roller coaster, and you spot out of the corner of your eye an exit sign that leads you to the cool pavement. Where you can be free to go buy a diet coke and a salted pretzel. So you don’t have to ride that roller coaster. So you don’t have to experience the fear.

I forgot…it isn’t a simple exit sign, it is “The Chicken Exit”. It is where we go when we just can’t do it anymore.

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I want that don’t you? At all times. A secret button. A chicken exit. An escape hatch. Whalla. I am free. You can’t catch me.

The funny thing about life, when we press a secret button or take the escape hatch, we miss the growth.

I wish it wasn’t true, but it is.

In the moment…we forget there is another side of that scary point in the roller coaster where you think you just can’t do it, where you see nothing but arms of the people in front of you going down as their screams disappear.

But you ride on.

You go down and your stomach drops to your chest. Then you giggle and laugh and eventually wipe the drool that is now caked to the side of your face. You did it. You made it.

And, most of the time…as the car pulls in to a screeching halt and the harness pops up, you look to your friend and say, “Let’s do it again!”

Ok. Most of life isn’t like that. Most of the hardest things we don’t want to do again. Most of the horrific and terrible things that happen to us, shouldn’t happen to us. They are wrong and horrible and tragic.

But what I am saying here is, we don’t get a secret button. There is no secret pill. There is no magic wand.

We do life. And life is hard.

Resilience

I love reading stories of resiliency and determination. What I have realized, not only in reading books about people with this characteristic, but in walking alongside patients who are struggling with addiction and/or mental illness is this; we often think certain people have resilience. We say, “Oh they are so resilient!” But did you know resilience is defined as “bouncing back”.

re·sil·ience

“The ability of something to return to its original shape after it has been pulled, stretched, pressed, bent, etc.”

 

We aren’t meant to “bounce back”, if we were, we would never change. We would all be Gumbys. Green Gumbys that are twisted and pulled until we pop back into place.

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I don’t want to be Gumby. I don’t want resilience.

I want to be changed. I want to learn from my mistakes. I want to experience it all…the good and the bad.

I want to live through the tragic and difficult WITH people and IN relationship.

I want to grab at the cloak of Jesus when I am full of sorrow and pain and feel him hold me. I want to sit through the scary difficult tumultuous times even when I want so badly to take the chicken exit.

There is a second definition of resilience that is much better

“The ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens.”

I like “Strong” and “Healthy” part…succesful is up for debate.

All I know is this…at the end of my life when the car comes screeching to a halt and my harness is gone, I will have lived. I will not have resilified (my own word), I will have persevered, and I will have grown and changed and hopefully let go of everything that keeps me from being the me God wants me to be.

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Every day, this is my goal.

So no more secret buttons. No more escape hatches. No more chicken exits ok?

Let’s ride on…together.

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xo

Lee

 

Why Hope?

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

The sun made its appearance through the curtains of my hotel room, to offer another day while I attended a conference for work. imgresThe usual routine ensued. You know, brushing of teeth, showering and getting ready for the day. Mundane tasks. But this day, last Saturday October 4th, this was not any normal day. This was celebration day. Celebration of life. Celebration of hope.

“In Scripture, according to the Hebrew and Greek words translated by the word “hope” and according to the biblical usage, hope is an indication of certainty. “Hope” in Scripture means “a strong and confident expectation.” Though archaic today in modern terms, hope is akin to trust and a confident expectation.” – Bible.org

Why was this day any different? Because on October 4th, 19 years ago, I tried to take my own life.

I wrote about it in my book Table In the Darkness and here.

God had a different plan, because GOD IS HOPE, and on that dark day he offered it to me. Offered it to me gently and quietly when I was ready and willing to receive it.

To choose HOPE not death, was the best and most life-giving decision I ever made. 

Because hope is offered to all of us, but it is a choice. (Sometimes our brains aren’t able to make that choice, as I wrote about here. And I get that. If you are at that point of despair, please reach out for help!)

Hope is a confusing word in the world of recovery. Because what I have found is hope does not offer me or you a world without struggle.

Hope holds out its hand and says you can handle the struggle.

Hope does not always end the symptoms.

Hope helps you handle the symptoms.

Hope does not say you failed and you should just give in, but wakes you up in the morning and whispers, Hey you…all grumbly and disappointed and discouraged, it is a new day. Let’s try again.

Hope is IN THE LIVING of this life. In the struggle and the pain.

It is in the dark room of depression with a soft gentle hand asking you to come and rest. To believe in something different for your life. To accept the struggle and to hold on as tight as you can to its gentle fingers.

Hope is offered to all of us, sometimes we can’t see it. But I promise you, as I walked through another October 4th, I know in every fiber of my body that there is hope. There is a second chance for ALL OF US, there is a hand reaching out to you asking you to take it.

imgres Believe it. I am so glad I did. Won’t you?

“For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with endurance.” Romans 8:24 NLT

 


Xo Lee

The Crazy Dance Around Mental Illness

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Do not walk on eggshells around me. I am not fragile. (Ok, I am a little sensitive, but not fragile.) Do not look me up and down and try to guess if I do or do not have an eating disorder anymore, I don’t. Do not wonder if I take medication, I do. Do not wonder if you can ask, talk about, or inquire about my struggles. You can. 

I am not ashamed, I am not afraid of your questions, nor do I want to be the “elephant in the room”.

I need you. And your friends who are struggling, they need you. Let’s start talking. Let’s not be afraid to be REAL.

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*(How could you NOT love the honesty and rawness these two characters brought to this topic in the movie Silver Linings Playbook!)

If I had broken my leg, you wouldn’t hesitate asking questions. Easy peasy.

But when my brain broke, it was as if I had leprosy. Sometimes it still seems as such.

Granted, I wrote my story in a book so I have given the world permission to dive into my deepest and darkest muck.

I risked doing that (and was terrified to do so) because I want people to know that it is ok to talk about it!  I am not ashamed about it, and you shouldn’t be either. But sometimes people will treat me as if I should be ashamed.

And over and over again I meet people who need to whisper. Whisper things like, “I am an alcoholic”, “I had an eating disorder”, “and I struggle with depression.

“But shhh”, they whisper, “Don’t tell.”

Why? Why not tell? Why not yell from the mountaintops, “HEY. Newsflash… I am broken and that is ok.”

Oh, but I know why. Because people don’t understand mental illness and they say things like, “If you just knew Jesus you would be ok. Or, just pray and you will be healed!”  Or another one I heard recently, “don’t tell people that you are an AA, they might think you are weird.”

Mental Illness is not a scarlet letter.

It is not something that happens to the weak nor is it something that only happens to those less faithful.

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Mental illness happens in the church, in the workplace, in the home. It happens to the rich, the poor, those with beautiful childhoods and those with horrible ones.

It doesn’t wear a face. Or a label.

So why don’t we stop treating it as such?

Let’s change the dance, let’s do a new routine. One that offers freedom to be who we are… all broken and beautiful and loved by God.

Ok?

Xo

Lee

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