“Up to 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S.”, according to ANAD – the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. Eating disorders also have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
“It was a vicious cycle of anorexia and bulimia, – like an unstoppable train,” Patricia Brugioni of Chicago told me. “I suffered from eating disorders for many years. It was an issue of worth for me. My self-worth was famished.”
Brugioni continued, “Food is a symbol of love and comfort, and if you feel you are not valuable and loveable, you feel you are not worthy of being nourished.”
Feeling loved and worthy is often at the heart of many behavioral disorders. Spirituality can be invaluable to individuals facing such challenges. For many people, spirituality means a direct connection to the Divine – that brings healing into their lives.
For Brugioni, her struggles with eating disorders alienated her from her family. She left everything to go to San Francisco – with only $100. “I moved to sink or swim. Actually, I just thought I was going to sink. I had also been drinking to an alcoholic degree for ten years, and did a little cocaine. But then, I started to attend some meetings with others who’d been freed of the compulsion to drink by turning to a Higher Power and surrendering self-will, fear and resentment to the divine will and power.”
“My spirituality was growing,” Brugioni stated. “It was a definite and engaging connection with the Divine.” She realized that her spirituality was becoming more tangible to her than her body.
Brugioni continued, “As I began taking an inventory of the fear – really looking at it, being honest, and surrendering to a divine Presence, I could feel an incredible love and gratitude within me – my spiritual nature. The unstoppable train of disorder stopped. It was gone for good.”
“Later, I found a book entitled, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, which gave me a deeper understanding of this Love. In the book there is a phrase, ‘Give us grace for today; feed the famished affections.’ It is part of an interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer. That is my prayer for everyone – that they feel this unconditional divine Love that feeds their affections – and helps them feel worthy and whole.”