Shame, shame and more shame

10 Oct

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,

Lauren xo

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12 Responses to “Shame, shame and more shame”

  1. Jess @thefitspirit October 10, 2012 at 5:49 am #

    I still struggle with this too! It is a past I’d rather never think about. Especially the thought that others knew. Ugh, I feel so embarrassed. But it is part of who you are and you’re wonderful. Anyone who will judge for that – their loss.

    • thehomeostaticmindset October 10, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

      You’re so right! Sorry that it’s something you struggle with too- we need to be proud of how far we’ve come!!! Recovery is NOT easy and getting to this place really is a HUGE accomplishment 🙂 Hopefully we can let go of some (ALL!) of the shame surrounding our ED’s…After all, everyone has struggles…Some are just more easy to immediately see than others. Take care of yourself xo

  2. Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale October 10, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    I love this. For so many reasons. Mainly that you want to move on. That presents SUCH strength.
    For me, I’ve just become more comfortable talking about it. EDs are ILLNESSES. Yes, they are badly/wrongly perceived in society, but that’s WHY we need to be talking about them. I find that it comes up fairly often with acquaintances, especially now that I’m back to training. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t go around screaming “I’m in recovery, come listen to my ED story” from the rooftops, but I do share it with selective people more often. I tink it’s important that the real thoughts and feelings behind it get out there (1) so we don’t feel as stigmatized, and (2) in case they know someone who is suffering, they might be able to reach out for help/advice. I also know that by evading questions and/or lying by omission, I’ll only make myself feel MORE guilty and shamed, as though I have something to hide, which I don’t.
    That being said, I still don’t like off-hand comments about weight and size. And I’m sometimes uncomfortable with questions that arise when I do tell someone, but it should help me to confront those too — because again, we’re trying to (1) break taboos, and (2) my weight and size are only numbers, they’re not me, and I shouldn’t be ashamed about them.
    Keep working on it, chicka. You’ll get there!! (Ps. LONNNNNG EMAIL coming your way by the end of tomorrow at the latest. Today is super-duper busy. Sending love though!! xo)

    • thehomeostaticmindset October 10, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

      You’re right- there is NOTHING to be ashamed about!!! I just need to truly integrate that thought into my mind and believe it! I should be SO proud that I am recovery now, and be able to share that with others! Like I said in response to another comment- it really is a HUGE accomplishment! It is not easy and everyday is a fight, but I will never give up. I should be able to show that side of my self to others- my persistence and determination. There is so much stigma surrounding eating disorders- they are not understood by many people, especially the way the media depicts them simply as the “desire to be thin.” It’s about SO much more than that! Everything you said is dead on- those who have suffered need to make their voice heard to try and help others out there who are alone and silently struggling. This illness affects FAR too many people. It needs to be brought into the spotlight (and portrayed accurately) so that people can be truly helped before their disorder becomes too severe. Thanks, friend ❤

  3. Heather October 11, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    You should never be ashamed of who you are or what you’ve been through. There is nothing embarrassing about struggle. Everyone goes through it. And one of the reasons why I think you should let more people know about what you’re going through (and let them know about this blog!) is because it could help so many people. You’ll surprised at how many people are going through the exact same thing.

    I’ve been trying for years to let go of things in my past that I’m ashamed of or that are painful. It doesn’t help that I have some physical reminders (ie scars) that I’ll never get rid of. That’s one of the most painful things is that there are some things I can’t hide and I know they’ll always be with me. BUT I’m really trying to change the way I see them. They’re battle scars! They represent survival. I’ve survived some tough things and I can hopefully one day look at myself and be proud of them.

    Internal scars are harder to deal with but I don’t worry about you one bit. You’re a tough cookie! 🙂

    • thehomeostaticmindset October 12, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

      You’re amazing 🙂 Thank you for these beautiful words! You are one of the strongest women I know ❤

  4. aftertheivyleague October 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    Love this post (finding it a little late through Chelsie!). And I’m finding that I completely relate to it, with sharing my story on my blog about struggling with binge eating. I was honestly terrified that someone I “know” in real life would see it and judge me. But I decided to share anyway, once I snapped out of it and realized I shouldn’t care what others think of me. Seriously, it’s such a happier life when you’re living it the way you want to live it, irregardless of what anyone else might think. So freeing. Just be unapologetic-ally Lauren, in the real world and the blog world. From what I can tell, she’s pretty awesome as is!

    • thehomeostaticmindset October 24, 2012 at 12:31 am #

      I’m so glad that you were able to share your story. You’re right- it’s incredibly freeing. Thanks for the inspiration! I still need to work on being unapologetically Lauren in the real world 😉

  5. Caitlin October 24, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Helllo beautiful! Just found your blog while reading comments on Balance Not Scale and am so glad I did because I currently am struggling with the subject matter of this very post. I have been feeling super paranoid the last couple of weeks about what people think of me, about how they see me, if they view me as just this “girl with an ED” and not “Caitlin”. I keep telling myself rationally that my real friends, my family, they will see me as the amazing me that I am trying to be, the girl who is trying to live her life without ED. The thing is, you’re clearly aware of ED. You’re aware he exists and that he doesn’t want you to be happy. That to me is not a girl with a problem. That to me is a girl who has found the strength to recognize that she wants to just be herself without any stupid ED getting in the way. You are not a girl who is blind to her disorder – you’re a girl who is actively fighting. So what do I think people see? I think they see someone strong, someone who KNOWS that ED isn’t rational, and that’s not a sick person, that’s a person in recovery who is ready to fight to live her life the way she wants to live it! I am thinking of you and the many other girls out there struggling with this. It’s a battle I wage every day but I try to think of myself as a hero, not a girl with issues. That’s what I am and that’s what you are!

    • thehomeostaticmindset October 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

      I absolutely LOVE this comment! You are completely right- the true sign of mental illness is when the person is not cognizant of their thoughts and behaviours, or has no desire to change them. You and I are clearly very aware of our daily struggles and strive to make each day a better one. Looking at your self as a hero is an awesome perspective to take! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂 I LOVE your blog by the way! xo

      • Caitlin October 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

        And I love yours! I’m so glad we all have each other!

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