I am not one of those people who enjoys working out. I don’t look forward to getting that run in or torturing my body with that high intensity workout. Seriously, I wake up and dread each and every workout. Even when I was in the Army I would drag myself to physical training like it was going to kill me. It just was not my thing. All of those feelings about running or working out change when it’s for a cause near and dear to my heart. It’s no secret that I struggle with an anxiety disorder as well as PTSD. What some of you might not know is that when I was around 15 years old I struggled with anorexia as well. It’s a struggle that landed me in the hospital while I was on a youth group trip out of state. The pain was so horrible that I was sure I was going to leave this earth right then and there. Luckily, I had some amazing leaders around me who took amazing care of me and made sure I felt supported and loved regardless of the situation. Those amazing people are still a part of my life today and still show me love and support in all of my endeavors. I am extremely blessed to have that because most people do not.
When I was 15 years old there were so many events happening in my life that I felt totally out of control. I was scared and because those events were effecting my mother as well, I didn’t feel like I could burden her with my issues. My biological father lived out of state and I hardly spoke to him. My sister is seven years older than me and had moved out of the house already. I was out of control of my life and it was depressing. My eating, my weight, my appearance was all that I could control. For a teen girl that was barely 100 pounds, it wasn’t long before that anorexia started to cause a whirlwind of issues within my body. The feeling of control outweighed the hurt I was causing my body. Luckily, God had his own plan and that trip to the hospital along with the help from amazing youth group leaders got me put back on the right path.
Anorexia isn’t something that you leave in your past and never think about again. After giving birth to my first daughter, I had 60 extra pounds still hanging around. My self-image was horrible and honestly, I thought about how easy it was to control my weight by refusing to eat. That couldn’t be an option though. I now had a beautiful daughter that needed a good example. I had that same feeling after giving birth to my second daughter as well. My desires to set an example for my daughters had to outweigh the short-term benefits of refusing myself food. Luckily, through the support of my husband, I found a great workout program. For 25 minutes a day I worked my butt of…literally. I ate healthy but portioned meals coupled with the 25 minute HIIT workout and within 90 days I was back down to my normal weight.
Not everyone has the support to be able to do what I did. I know that without the people in my life that I have, I would likely be struggling with anorexia to this day. That’s where To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) comes into the picture. Now, you may be wondering what the heck TWLOHA is and how they are relevant. Let me start with their mission statement:
“To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.”
Anorexia is addicting. Anorexia also comes with feelings of depression. TWLOHA focusing on helping people get through these issues and come out on the other side.
What hits even closer to home for me is that TWLOHA is founded and located right in my hometown area. They have helped so many people get treatment and they truly represent the belief that a better life is possible. Since being founded in 2007 as a non-profit, they have donated more than $1.5 million to treatment and recovery as well as granted funding to 73 unique organizations and counseling practices. This organization is such an amazing blessing to so many people. They encourage people to tell their stories because their stories are important. They make it known that hope is real and they are always there to answer your email. I can’t even put into words what a blessing this organization has been to SO MANY people.
Every year TWLOHA does a 5K right by my hometown, in Satellite Beach, Florida. The Run For It 5K is scheduled for April 15, 2017. While I have not been able to attend it due to our duty location, I have been a virtual runner the last couple of years. Every year TWLOHA has a theme and this year they asked us: “What are you running for?”
I am running for my daughters, so that they never have to experience the struggles that I have. So that they never know the battle of anorexia, depression, or anxiety. I am running for myself because I can say that I have now developed healthy habits and a healthy way to maintain the weight in which I feel comfortable.
I am hoping that you can join me and all the others in running this 5K. If you are near Satellite Beach, Florida then head there and enjoy a wonderful community of people. If not then become a Virtual Runner like myself and order your running package today. If you don’t want to run then please consider donating to this wonderful organization.
I’ll be running for it all the way in Belgium and I would love to hear where you will be running and see pictures as well. Comment below or post your pics on social media using both hashtags #RunForIt5K and #HeartAndStripes so that TWLOHA and I can see all the fun you’re having.
Please remember that you are important, your story is important and you are NOT alone. <3