My Beautiful Wanderer

I choose to fight with her and sometimes I don’t know how. So by trial and error (many times lots of errors). We are climbing this mountain together and now we’ve decided to document the journey, our wanderings.

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Wanderers:
“They are a refreshing depart from the average Joe. They view life in another way, a way that enhances experiences and justifies randomness. They find beauty in the ugly and challenge traditional norms. They protest the typical and the rigid and demand a life that’s less stoic and more magic.
They dream of books that haven’t been written, cities yet to be discovered, and lives yet to be lived. They see the beauty in the unknown and the trivial. They find meaning in the mundane tasks of everyday life and inspire others to seek adventure and originality. They are the leaders of the pack, the revolutionaries and the inspiration for the rest of us.”

“You make plans until you’re ready to leave, then leave the plans behind.
You trust your gut more than any tour guide.
You’re fascinated by maps and oceans.
You find beauty in the ugly and ugly in the beautiful.
Your family is the only reason you ever return home.”
Excerpts from: Wanderlust is Real 22 Signs You Are a Wanderer by Laurin Martin

We all know the jokes about how men don’t understand women, especially husbands and wives. But there are those of us with additional unique circumstances that make understanding a necessity AND particularly difficult.

We all want and need love and affection in our own way, but how do we show that to someone who has difficulty believing it? I’m not talking about low self-esteem, that would be akin to calling someone with depression “sad”. I’m talking about Eating Disorders and how they are a true mental illness. Often those suffering from these conditions are all around us and we never know. My wife has struggled with eating disorders at various degrees since 7th grade (17 years now). We met when we were seniors in high school and were friends but didn’t date until 2 years after high school. I’ve known her for a long time, and never knew how deeply she was struggling. In many ways I still don’t, but I am trying. I didn’t know she had an eating disorder until our first year of marriage. Only recently, the last two years or so, have I been learning of the long and lasting impact of this disease.

About a year and half ago my wife reached a pivot point when her behaviors began showing physical symptoms. Her doctor drew labs and the abnormal results showed that her body was in real distress. Even this didn’t “scare” her enough to seek professional help (again). With the help of sincere and caring friends she realized that it was time to get serious about making changes that would help her. She had seen therapists in the past, but this time sought treatment from a therapist, a dietitian, and a recovery center. The professional help she received helped her in ways I never imagined. There were times at this point that I was selfish and self-conscious because I felt that she could get better if I just loved her enough or if she tried harder. I didn’t know that she was trying, but lacked the tools and support to overcome certain hurdles. I thought that we could do it on our own, but obviously I didn’t know what I didn’t know. At times I am still ignorant to her pain and/or don’t know how best to help. I will be forever grateful to the professionals who have been, and still are, helping her and the friends who got my beautiful wanderer started down that path.

So, I want to share my experiences of loving someone who is fighting this battle. I choose to fight with her and sometimes I don’t know how. So by trial and error (many times lots of errors), we are climbing this mountain together. Now we’ve decided to document the journey, our wanderings. Unfortunately, we are still near the beginning of the journey to recovery. The road is long and rocky and isn’t always marked. There will be highs, lows, and in-betweens. I’ll try to share it all. We’ll try new things as we learn about them and share old experiences that worked and that didn’t.

Maybe I can help someone who is trying to help and support someone they love as they fight their battle. We all give and receive love in different ways. Hopefully with some extra understanding we can love and support them well. If nothing else, I know that this will help me and my beautiful wanderer. I certainly hope we can help our families, friends, and everyone struggling in their journeys.

Quick note: This is written from the perspective of a husband. This is not indented to diminish the experiences of other relationships in our lives. Additional discussions can and should be had with relation to Brothers, Sisters, Fathers, Mothers, Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Friends, etc. This is merely a starting point. This is not intended to ever be a comparison of who suffers more because the whole intent is to better understand how to love those close to us in a way that is best for them.