This post may be repetitive and not very coherent as I am writing it on my work break! So i’ts basically a jumble of thoughts.I was kind of thinking about why I can’t just tell people the truth about why I am on gap year and why it is so hard to open up about an eating disorder.
I believe recovery from an eating disorder is definitely not a solo trip. Even if you choose not to get professional help it is good to have the support of other people. I think although it is a personal journey it is an extremely hard one and having the support of others is so valuable. Its a path of trial and error and wins and setbacks and days where you feel on top of the world and days where you hate everything and want to give up. Its hard for me to accept I wont get it right every day.
For me opening up to people about my struggles with food,weight e.t.c has been so hard and I haven’t actually told that many people and when I have its often been in a round about way.I think its because I didn’t want to worry people,especially my parents,I was scared of their reaction and what they would say.I was worried they would be angry and upset.Its also hard to open up as it leaves you feeling exposed especially when you’ve kept your eating disorder hidden for a long time.It may also be hard to open up as you may not feel ready to take the steps to get better and are scared you will be forced into eating or not exercising.I definitely was so sacred people would think less of me and call it attention seeking.The way eating disorders are portrayed in the media often makes it seem as though ED’S are all about looks and the desire to be thin. This over simplification of ED’s in the media can make it harder to open up as you don’t want people to mistake you for being “vain” or “self obsessed”
I think especially with binging/purging there is such a stigma and the reality is that some people may judge you for it.Not everyone will be understanding.When I first started getting help for my ED in March I hated the idea of being diagnosed with bulimia.I felt as though when I walked out of the room I would have a label on me and everyone would know.I didn’t want to be “ula the bulimic” I wanted to be “ula the person”.Although I had an eating disorder I felt like much more than that.You are never just your illness.Furthermore having my behaiviours labelled as bulimia made it so real and terrifying.I was so embarrassed at being so out of control and feeling unable to stop binging and purging.Binging and purging cycles are hell and so hard to break.Having someone there to help you makes it easier than trying to stop on your own.
Later on I got told the eating disorder I had was anorexia binge/purge subtype.I still wouldn’t say it out loud though.I have told a few people and always said “I have an eating disorder”.I guess I hate the word anorexia.Maybe because there is such as stigma with it.Im worried that if I said that people would say stuff like “oh but you are not that skinny” e.t c as a lot of people don’t realise it is not just about weight but also about what is going on in your head.
Sometimes I still wish my parents didn’t know about the eating disorder.I wish I could have kept it hidden from them.Sometimes I think it would be easier that way as my mum especially would not have to worry and be upset when I have bad days and end up binging/purging.I feel so guilty and ashamed for it.On the other hand I know I couldn’t have kept this hidden forever and I was a bit releieved when my parents knew as I didn’t have to hide and lie as much.The amount of energy it takes to hide an ED is so not worth it.It is exhausting and Looking back I don’t know how I did it sometimes.I don’t want the ED to be something I have to hide and be ashamed of forever.
I think you cannot blame people for not understanding.Before I had an ED I wasnt very understanding of mental illness .But at the same time I don’t think its fair for them to put you down and give you rude comments.From the people I have opened up to most of them have been really nice which makes you realise that you can tell people about your problems and they wont think any less of you.Infact it may end up bringing you closer to your friends/family memebers.
It has surprised me how supportive and kind people can be if you choose to let them in.I am really gratefull for the kindness some people have shown me.Even if you choose not to speak to them about it much it can be a relief knowing that you don’t feel like you are hiding what you are going through and faking who you are.Another thing is that some people will know before you tell them.They will have observed you and can tell,or maybe they have had experience of what you are going through or seen friend/family member go through it and can see the signs of the ED.
Also when you open up to others they may tell you about problems they are having.You can help each other vice versa.Kind of also makes you realise that everyone has shit going on and your not some freak of nature for struggling with something!
You don’t have to tell everyone about your eating disorder as it is a personal thing.Some people choose to be very open about it whilst others choose to only tell a few close friends/family memebers.I think either way is fine.Whatever works for you.I don’t think You shouldn’t feel pressured to open up to someone either.
I kind of hope maybe one day i’ll be able to say I recovered from an eating disorder and inspire somebody to not give up. It would be great to show people that life after an ED is possible and worth it.Maybe if more people felt they could open up then less people would have to suffer in silence.It make you feel quite lonenly and isolated.
Anyways I should probably finish this post now.Some ways to open up to people are writing them a letter,an email,having a chat during a walk,going for coffee and talking.Sometimes if you don’t feel ready to talk about it you can put it in writing.