Monday Motivation: Belief Makes You Fly

Jack Llewelyn Davies: Oh, I told you this wasn't going to work!

Peter Llewelyn Davies: I don't think he's fast enough.

J.M. Barrie: It's not going to work if no-one believes in him!

That dialogue comes from one of my favorite movies, “Finding Neverland.” The boys are in the park with J.M Barrie trying to get a kite to fly with little success. Michael, the youngest of them, is struggling, and his brothers are doubting his ability. They have lost faith in him to get the kite in the air. It was that doubt that was keeping the kite on the ground. It was when they believed in him and cheered him on that the kite flew high. The confidence Jack had within himself grew from the support of everyone to give him courage to keep trying and hope that it was possible. It is belief that makes all things possible. The minute you give that up, hope diminishes. You want to give up. What you are looking to achieve or obtain will never happen.

I have been talking to many people lately who have been feeling defeated, losing hope in recovery, giving in to the eating disorder, losing their identity. They are struggling and feeling alone. Part of that is because people in their lives who were once huge supporters, friends, encouragers, inspirations, and loved ones have stopped believing in them. People who they used to turn to have turned away, some out of confusion, some out of self-protection, others out of sheer exhaustion, and others have just run out of answers, run out of knowing how to help. People have given up on them and lost hope in their abilities.

I have experienced this a lot. The first time I experienced this was after my second hospital stay when I was thirteen. I returned to school to be completely ignored by one of my closest friends. She would not look at me most of the time and barely utter a word to me. I would sit in silence at lunch. It made my transition back into normal life even more difficult. It adds even more insecurity, doubt, hopelessness, and isolation than before. I found I quickly began using my behaviors again to cope. This became a more frequent occurrence as the years progressed with the anorexia. Each hospital stay, I lost at least one more person. The anorexia pushed people away. It fed off of the feeling of abandonment to. It used it to convince me to cling more to it. It will never leave me. It will be with me forever and always provide support. I could rely on it for its constant, unconditional presence. It promised it could give me all I need that others were failing to provide or once did but left. With their absence, it left me with a void the anorexia said it could fill even better than them.

I stopped being truthful and open about my struggles over the fear of losing more people. I never let people know how bad things got towards the very end. Very few people knew how close I was to death. People stopped asking and I stopped talking. I didn’t want people to think “not again” or “when will she snap out of it?” or “she is helpless.” If I didn’t let people in, I could make everyone think I was fine and ‘normal’ like they wanted in a friend. I wouldn’t have to feel like a burden. Everyone could go on with their lives as teenagers/young adults without my issues weighing them down. The only people I included in the little word I created for myself were three people; my uncle, my mom, and my very closest friend. I cut off most communication, and the action was reciprocated. I did not want to hurt anyone or risk being hurt by including them and being vulnerable only for them to walk out on my life.

I can understand why many would push away, but that doesn’t lessen the pain of losing someone. This illness is hard to comprehend. It doesn’t always make sense. I know it is a struggle to understand why we put ourselves through this. We ourselves many not even fully understand. You watch the one you love deteriorating in front of your eyes and can’t comprehend how we will not change. It is painful and overwhelming. And if you are someone who is struggling too, it might be detrimental to your own recovery to be a part of it and watch. I empathize with all sides to the situation.

If you need a break and sometime apart from a person struggling, I understand. I give you grace for needing to take care of you or because of needing a breather from the frustration of what cannot be understood. But the advice I can give is to part ways without giving up your belief in the person and their recovery. Do not leave with hopelessness. The minute you give up on us is when we too start to lose all hope in recovery and belief in ourselves. At times, it is your faith and determination that keeps us going another day. Don’t underestimate the power of your love and support. With that and our own desire for recovery, slowly we will come back. If you know the story of Peter Pan, you will remember it is the belief in the fairies that kept them alive, which is very similar to us. It is people believing in us amidst our struggles that keeps us living, that keeps us fighting, that inspires us to push ourselves to see another sunrise. Many times, we rely on the faith of others in us to not give up. We need to hear and see people from the corner of our eyes cheering us on to get our kite in the air.  Finding people who believed in me no matter how many times I had fallen was key in my recovery. It served as motivation.

To the people who are feeling abandoned, please know that you are not alone. I can relate, and I feel the pain. It is one of the most devastating things when someone gives up on you especially when it all you want is to give up on yourself too. It hurts, but please do not let it stop the wind from blowing your kite in the air. Do not let it be weights tied to the tail of your kite preventing it from rising. It is in these moments we must persevere and find the silver lining. My experiences helped me to reevalute friendships. I learned to appreciate the people who stayed more and treasure my existing relationships more than ever before. With the ending of some relationships came the start of new and beautiful ones. It was the people who walked in when the rest of the world walked out that I knew would make true, genuine, lasting relationships.

People are going to leave, but that doesn't mean your story needs to be over. it means that their part in your beautiful life has come to an end. There are more people to be introduced. There are more people to be written in who will believe in you. Turn the page. Do not close the book. Do not allow the leaving of people to close off your heart to welcoming in new people. Do not let it builds walls in you. Make sure you do not let it cause you to push out the people who still exist and are here to stay. Do not allow it to stop you from embracing love. You can be defeated by the inevitable disappointments of life or you can become stronger, wiser, and more appreciative because of them. Always choose the latter. It will empower you. It will give you your own personal belief in yourself so if others cannot provide it, you have enough to keep your fighting. It is how a life of hope is born. It is what will get your kite off the ground and flying. 

Here is the link to the movie clip: