“The problem is, I can’t tell what’s real anymore, and what’s made up.” Explains Peeta, a character in the popular Hunger Games series. Peeta has been tainted by the enemy. His mind twisted and turned. He looks to those who know and love him to be the mirror for him.
Exactly like an eating disorder, I thought, as I read the book. Dark, twisted, and so confusing that one with an eating disorder believes what they think in their head is actually reality.
I am the fattest one in the room. No one loves me. I have to be perfect in order to be loved. I am ugly. The list goes on and on. And the secrets grow and weave and wrap the person up choking the life out of them.
What saves Peeta? Asking this question, “Real or not real?” Looking to others to help him decipher illusion from reality until he has the strength to do that himself. “The real / not real game goes like this. He mentions something he thinks, and they tell him if it is true or imagined, usually followed by a brief explanation.” (pg. 270 of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins)
This tactic can be a lifeline for those struggling with eating disorders. It actually is a powerful tactic for all of us. I have found myself doing it lately in my own distortions.
Here is an example, “God is punishing me. Real or not real?” I look to the Bible and read, For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jer. 29:11) Not real. God loves me. And is my greatest encourager. (2 Thess. 2:16-17)
Here is another one. “I am alone in my sorrow. Real or not real?” I am also the Father who comforts you in all of your troubles. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
You see, we have the great Truth in the Bible. And if we look to it to find the Truth we will be set free. I believe we also are surrounded by people in our lives who can be that Truth teller for us! We only have to ask. Won’t you try this too? Real. Not Real? “Then you will know the truth, and the TRUTH will set you free.” John 8:32
This is a re-post of a blog previously seen on our former site.