Beauty and the Beast (within)

andrew's angel

I had my topic for my next blog post in my mind (some incredibly awesome thoughts on leadership and the performance review process) but it all changed when I jumped on my treadmill last evening to get in a little exercise before I got back to sitting on my butt for another few hours in front of my computer.

I sometimes need to watch a little mindless TV while exercising to keep me distracted (because I really dislike running on a treadmill) and to give me a little celebrity gossip “fix” for the day or week.  So I turned on Entertainment Tonight and saw one of the most gut-wrenching interviews I have ever seen in my life.  The woman being interviewed is anorexic, not just a little anorexic (if there is such a thing) but I mean severely anorexic to the point that she weighs less than 60 pounds.  I am a nurse by background and I have been around many patients who were wasting away due to terminal illness but I have never seen someone so emaciated as this woman (except in photos of concentration camps like Dachau). I am attaching the episode (the interview is approximately 17 minutes into the clip) because it is something that has to be seen versus written about –  there really are no words to describe…

She came to the United States to be a model and a model she has become…a model of a horrible disease that feeds on the psyche of those it takes hold of.  We wonder how and why someone could get to this point.  For those of us who do not have this type of illness,  we just cannot make sense of it.

Karen Carpenter died from the effects of anorexia thirty years ago.  She was an extraordinary singer whose angelic voice graced the airwaves song after song and “We’ve only just begun” was played at countless weddings across the country.  After she died, many of us wondered how and why she got to that point… she had it all… the talent…the fame…the money, but none of it protected her from the grips of the beast within.

Fast forward to tonight…I received a text message from a young man who has a horrible disease that also feeds on the psyche of those it takes hold of – the disease of drug addiction.  He is scared because he lost his job (again),  he is in trouble with the law (again),  he has no money (again),  he is on the verge of being homeless (again) and he owes money to everyone (again).  This is a 22 year old extremely intelligent and charismatic young man and I am absolutely convinced that he will do great things and go great places if/when he decides that the pain of recovery is worth more to him than the pain of his addiction.  When he is ready to try treatment again, he knows I will be there to take him.

I am not a psychologist, chemical dependency counselor or an expert in eating disorders, however what I do know is that addiction or harming oneself is a way to self-medicate or to create another pain to ease the deeper agony created by that beast inside. The beast that is raising it’s ugly head and shouting “you are not good enough”, “you are not worth it”, “you are ugly inside and out”…

My prayers tonight are to all of the people who are struggling with addictions, self-mutilation, eating disorders or any other illnesses that are self-damaging.  My hope is that they find the strength to seek out the professional help they need to transform the beast into the beauty that truly resides inside each and every one of them.  My prayers also go out to their loved ones who are feeing the pain as if it were within themselves…

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; 
loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu

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