Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Let go of the bag!

December 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Eating Disorders, Featured, Recovery

Updated and graciously re-posted from Gurze Publications.  During our travels to Philadelphia my husband and I had to get from Terminal C to Terminal A at the airport. As we jumped on the up escalator I lost hold of one of the two suitcases that I’d been wheeling behind me. This errant bag proceeded to bounce down the escalator stairs. I turned to grab it but struggled greatly as I attempted to pull my smaller bag down the steps with me. I felt at a complete loss as to how to retrieve my wayward luggage.

After a few seconds I yelled for Tom to help. He was nearing the top of the moving staircase completely unaware of my struggles. When he turned around he said simply, “Doris, let go of the bag.” It took me a moment to realize that I’d been holding tightly to my second bag. As soon as I released my grip I was able to run down the stairs, grab the lost bag and meet up with the other one that had arrived safely at the top without my assistance.

In such a hurry to catch the train out of the terminal we weren’t able to laugh aloud at my escapade. On the train ride it occurred to me how my experience shared a small similarity to the story Anita Johnston shares in her book, Eating in the Light of the Moon.

Anita uses a raging river (overwhelming emotions) and a log (the eating disorder) as a metaphor for the difficulty in healing from an eating disorder. To hear Anita tell the story click and scroll down to the video titled “The Log.

In her book Anita tells of a woman sitting on the banks of a river. Over time the river begins to rage and the woman falls in. The woman is sure she’s going to drown and grabs at anything to hold onto. Fortunately, a log rushes by and she’s able to snatch it and wrap her arms tightly around it, saving herself from certain death. When the river calms the woman hears people on the bank of the river shouting for her to swim to shore, which the woman attempts to do again and again…without success. The reason: she continues to hold onto the log—what had saved her life is now preventing her from living her life. Everyone on shore sees her dilemma and encourages, “Let go of the log! Just let go of the log!” The story continues explaining the lengthy process the woman goes through in order to finally let go of the log and swim to shore.

In my comical scenario it never occurred to me to “let go of the bag.” Even when Tom made the suggestion, there was a part of me that resisted his logic. My rattled brain thought that somehow I might lose both bags. There is no way my incident comes close to the agony an eating disorder sufferer experiences in “letting go of the log.” But I did feel the resistance to “logic” when one’s mind is not thinking well. I got a glimpse into the window of resistance Andrea had to “letting go” of her log. It is amazing to me how, over time, I continue to gain understanding of my daughter’s experience with bulimia. I imagine this will be a life long process.

Until next time,


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