Those who have suffered from eating disorders tend to occasionally bounce back and forth between feelings of both an unfounded sense of achievement and shame. I am terrified that people will find out about my past and think I am some ‘messed up nut.’ However, sometimes a teeny-weeny-teeny-tiny part of me (I feel the need to really emphasize the teeny-tinyness) can feel a perverse sense of pride or achievement when I look back at pictures of my self at my lowest weight. “Look at what I was capable of…Look how strong I was…” and all of the other garbage I (*ED*) tell myself. The accurate word would be sick, not strong, Lauren. With these thoughts then comes the shame. “How can you be proud of looking so sick? You look so unhealthy in these pictures.” And then, as I already mentioned, there is the shame that can arise when you are worried others will find out about your past and your disorder. Your secret will be revealed and you are terrified. Your ‘image’ will be ruined. Other’s opinion of you will be permanently, forever changed. They won’t want to be friends with you anymore. They’ll think you’re ‘crazy.’ Ya know, realistic stuff like that.
I have a secret. NO ONE besides my parents, sister, and one of my closest friends (Hi, Heather!) know about this blog. And to be honest, when Heather found out about it (through seeing me comment with my link on another blog she reads), I was absolutely mortified. A sobbing mess. I was so upset, I actually denied it was my blog at first. Bad, embarrassing, ridiculous. I know. Did she already know about my eating disorder? Yes (*I think*). See, right there- that’s my problem. I think people never knew there was a problem. Like they couldn’t see me or something. I thought I was fooling everyone. I still don’t believe that most people knew or even suspected a problem. I still don’t believe it now. I was talking to my family about this over the weekend at home and I was SHOCKED when they said, ‘Everyone already knew about your eating disorder and they would think this blog is great.’ Whaaa? People knew? They know!? Ahhhhhhhh! And if anyone were to inadvertently find out about this blog? The thought makes me feel like my head is going to explode. I am terrified that they will find out about 1) My ‘problems’ (however, apparently they already know? I’m so confused…) 2) Be privy to my most intimate thoughts. I guess I just feel best sharing my deepest thoughts with all you rando’s. JK, I love you all! ❤
And I should clarify- I’m not talking about extended family here. I know they’re aware. I’m talking about other people in my life- those I used to dance with, acquaintances, other friends who I never told.
So, the question I have to ask is, why am I so ashamed of my eating disorder? Yes, they are horrific illnesses to endure, but something to be so embarrassed about? Is that rational? Is that healthy? Does it promote a positive, complete recovery? I think keeping this secret in can make it seem bigger than it actually is. Will people’s opinion of me change if they know? Doubtful, and if it does change for the negative, I don’t want that person in my life. Will my friendships cease once they learn my secret (if they didn’t already figure it out themselves)? Probably not. If they are a true friend, nothing will change. We may even become closer. Opening up about our own struggles can allow others to feel safe to do the same.
Now, am I going to go around telling everyone about my eating disorder? HAAIILLL NO. But, if there is someone that I get close to, either a friend or someone I’m dating, I feel like it’s important to be able to open up about this topic, especially since so many men and women are currently suffering from eating disorders. No one talks about it. Well, not no one, but not nearly enough. And positive recovery techniques/protocols are not discussed. Resources out there (such as blogs) are not promoted in the mainstream media.
I’m realizing this all ties into my fear of what others think of me, my fear of not being accepted, not being liked or being rejected. I’ve always altered myself for others, instead of just being unapologetically Lauren. This needs to stop. I need to be ME, no questions asked. I’m starting to learn through recovery that I actually LIKE myself. Like woah. Big deal people. And so, if I actually LIKE ME, then why would I alter myself or not be the true me, all in the name of someone else? Ya, that doesn’t sound very bright.
So, will the shame regarding my eating disorder disappear overnight? No. It is something I need to work through. And something that I’m not exactly sure how to go about doing. Does sharing your story lift some of the shame? I don’t know. So I need your help, friends.
How were you able to let go of the shame surrounding your eating disorder? What did you do to help you feel more comfortable with ALL aspects of your self? Both the dark and the light…Past and present? Any advice is welcome!
Much love and health,