A New NamePaperback Grace and healing for anorexia Emma Scrivener
An amazing, horrifying and encouraging story of one woman's experience of the dark and hidden world of anorexia, honestly and compellingly told. Shocking but never simplistic, this is required reading for all affected, or know those affected, by an eating disorder. Emma's story shows that no-one is beyond God's transforming grace.(more...)
A New Name is not just educating, I found it relevent to anyone's life, with or without an eating disorder. It's beautifully written, I love Emma's expressions, the way she describes feelings and situations, she has an amazing talent, the details here and there that complete the picture in reader's head, just wonderful! I met Emma once, and I look forward to meet her again having learnt so much about her! she is an incredible woman, and a very talented writer!
Hi, Jackie and I have read this superb book. Emma has a fabulous God given gift to write. Her first book is superbly written, very cleverly put together, earthy and at time humorous. We have found it particularly helpful, as Jackie has suffered this horrible illness for many years. Can't wait for your next book Emma? Love Simon and Jackie. (Two new fans!!) PS We believe that Emma has the ability to be a best selling author.
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The face of anorexia is not a glossy model in a perfume ad. It's a starving animal, circling the empty cupboards, blank-eyed and vacant. It's a face frozen in a rictus grin, mouthing lies. 'I'm fine,' it says. 'Everything is under control.'
'I have always felt hungry,' says Emma Scrivener. 'Not just for food, but for everything: from money to recognition. I'm a human chasm, a vortex of insatiable longing.'
Rescued from a disorder that nearly killed her, Emma is now passionate about warning others about the dark and hidden world she inhabited for too long.
Harrowing, heart-breaking, human and humorous, this book will grip you from start to finish. Wonder with Emma as God's grace breaks through and reshapes her heart and thinking, redeeming that which had seemed lost.
'I could not put this book down. It had me gripped from the first page. It is an autobiographical account of the author’s struggle with life-threateningly severe anorexia. Not the cheeriest of topics but this is compelling and readable without feeling voyeuristic. It is beautifully written. Being an Oxford English graduate and a self confessed perfectionist probably helps. Her passionate personality is able to walk off the page and she seems effortlessly to say what she means. She is able to explain what anorexia feels like, what drives it, what in her head she was hoping to achieve, and the factors which meant she chose this way to cope with life. I have never read anything about eating disorders which approaches this in clarity and insight. Emma is intelligent, articulate, analytical, theological, was severely affected and is now recovered.' - Annie Gemmill, GP and minister's wife
Extent: 176 pages
Publication Date: 20/07/2012
Published by: IVP
In my hand I held a sliver of bread. I turned it over in my palms, smelled it, stroked it. I imagined how it tasted. The feel of it in my mouth, my stomach. I traced it with my yellowed fingers. The hands of a skeleton, tipped with blackened nails I hadn’t painted.
My head throbbed and, though it was the middle of summer, I was shivering with cold. I always felt cold, right to the bone. I lifted my T-shirt. Traced the skeleton, so close to the skin. Not there yet, but it was coming. Just a little more effort. Shave a little more off.
Unless, of course, I’d gained weight in the last half-hour. Best to check, just in case. I pulled myself up, waiting for the dizziness to pass. Squashed the bread and smelt my palms. I was ravenous. My head swam, but my stomach, hollowed and hardened, was silent. I’d rather die than eat.
Think of something else. Anything. That’s it – breathe. Now, take a step. You can do it. Stop being so lazy. Count to ten – one, two, three . . .
Moving forward, a stab of pain cut across my chest. Not again! This time, however, it didn’t pass. I felt like I was suffocating and tried to gulp down lungfuls of air. My legs crumpled and I fell, hard upon the floor. Something was bleeding, but the cool tiles felt clean against my face. I wanted to get up, but I was tired, so tired. How pleasant it would be to stay here, forever. But the scales, just across the hall, were beckoning.
Sucking in my cheeks, I tried to pull myself upright. My brain barked orders, but the limbs remained still, twisted and splayed like a rag doll tossed to one side. It was a curious sensation, like seeing myself from a great height. But I couldn’t stay here, flesh spilling across the floor. It had been over an hour since my last run. I had to go to the bathroom. I had to weigh myself.
Using my feet as a lever, I coughed and took another breath. Then I pushed away from the wall. Palms outstretched, I dragged my torso across the stone. Bit by bit, I inched forward. Fat. Lazy. Cow. A sharp intake of breath as my ribs jarred on the cracks. I paused, then blinked. Outside I could hear traffic and the sound of voices, but they seemed very far away. I brushed a clump of hair from my eyes, watching with mild interest as it came off in my hands. It was still cold, but I’d wet myself and the dampness in my legs felt soothing and warm.
I was twenty-seven years old. A talented student at Bible college. I led a thriving Sunday school. I’d been married for four years to a church minister in training. And I was slowly but surely killing myself.
I blacked out.
* * *
In the face of an eating disorder, one question stands out: Why? Why me? Why my daughter, why my wife . . . my brother, my friend?
As we tell our stories, we naturally seek a villain, someone or something to blame. A school bully, a body-obsessed media, bad parenting or some childhood trauma. These may well be contributors, but if drawn on a pie chart, they would make up only part of the whole. Instead, many factors come into play: culture, environment, physiology, family, personality type, life experiences, even geography. Some can be predicted and managed. Others cannot. Some are a result of the choices that we have made. Others are decisions that have been made for us – whatever their motivation.
As I survey the wreckage from two decades fighting anorexia, I feel like I’m performing the wrong script. This is not where I planned to be. It’s not the romantic comedy I’d rehearsed for as a child – and where’s Brad Pitt? Instead, I’m trapped in a Russian submarine tragedy and I can’t even read the subtitles.
On the other hand, there’s a nagging sense that I’ve stage-managed my own demise. Perhaps the blame is entirely mine. I followed my own directions, even when others begged me to stop. Now the lights have dimmed and I’m left alone in the darkness.
So which is it? Am I a willing perpetrator or a helpless victim? Is this sickness – or is it sin?
As I write my story, I’m pulled in two directions. I want to defend myself and to tear myself down. Sometimes I’ll do both. You may be tempted to do the same, and of course you must draw your own conclusions. But I suspect that the truth – as close as I can tell it – lies somewhere else.
Jesus Christ calls himself a Doctor for sick sinners.
And I am both. I’m sick – helpless in the face of a condition that overpowers me. I’m also a sinner – deliberately choosing my way over his. Despite this, he loves me just the same. So this is not just ‘my’ story. It’s the story of his work in my life.
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