Writing and Talking about Eating Disorder Recovery
I often say, and write, that my eating disorder never defined me, not its diagnosis, nor the stigma attached to suffering through the illness. Even today, I'm open about the fact that I deal with food anxiety and no, I'm not ashamed of that either.
Gladly Writing and Talking about Eating Disorder Recovery
Recently, I started to think about what this all means; the fact that I gladly write and speak about being an eating disorder survivor. Perhaps there was a tiny war born inside of me, which erupted last Fall. I sometimes find myself torn between wanting to reach out about my experience, finding a balance in my life, and where my activism in this field fits in on a daily basis, without overwhelming my other day-to-day activities.
I've also noticed that some events in my life, especially in dealing with death in the last year, have made me more resilient. Those events were the catalyst in my decision to share my thoughts about recovery, in the hopes of helping men and women who, like me, grapple with body image issues and eating disorders. Perhaps hearing, reading and seeing an average girl who was able to successfully manage recovery can be a source of comfort for others who might feel lonely or stuck in their recovery process.
Writing about Recovery vs. the "Darker Days"
I write very little on the darker days, on the self-harming behaviour I engaged in for years, because that was the easy behaviour of the disease. Rather, I've chosen to focus on the beginning of "getting better," which I see as the hardest first step. When I'm asked why I choose that angle, I answer that while the illness is a moment in time, once one decides to try to overcome it, managing recovery and living life in a healthy way, is a "forever" journey. The latter takes precedent, in my opinion, because it is what needs to be talked about.
Well-being is what we all want and is what I believe those suffering from an eating disorder need to see as possible to achieve. That I suffered from bulimia and I no longer do, I believe is important for me to share, because by doing so I am taking action in helping to reduce stigma around eating disorders and mental illness.
It's equally important to try to inspire people suffering in silence that there are better days to come. Yes, it can be hard to start, and will require the will to take baby steps at first towards a profound change, but it can pay off. If you do the hard work with the help of others, and forgive yourself for your past self-harm you can learn to move on. It took me a while, but by forgiving myself, I've matured in my approach to my disease. That is why I urge anyone contemplating recovery from an eating disorder to find a way to forgive themselves; because by doing so, it opens a door into a new world without pain caused by the illusion of what the eating disorder helps create in your mind.
I would love to hear from you and how you deal with your history of suffering from an eating disorder. Do you willingly share your experience? Is it more important to you to share the darker days and the harmful activities you engaged in, or the recovery journey and its setbacks?
Lemoine, P. (2014, March 11). Writing and Talking about Eating Disorder Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, January 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivinged/2014/03/the-many-facets-of-eating-disorder-recovery
Author: Patricia Lemoine
I am still in hiding. I do see a therapist once a week for 45 min but I am unable to disclose my Bulimia to my husband, co workers, and my sister. It is way to embarrassing and shameful. You will never convince the people, who do not have Bulimia, that it is not about wanting to eat whatever you want and be skinny.
Thanks for writing Lyssa. I'll answer this to you...Perhaps it is not about convincing them. Perhaps it's about focusing on the disease we suffer from and how we can get better. It is embarassing. For sure. On that, I wrote a post in the blog archive on this: http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivinged/2013/05/youre-bulimic-you-do-what/
You're right in saying it's not about being skinny or even food. The disease is much more dep rooted otherwise it wouldn't be such an ordeal to get through. I hope you find the comfort and support in reaching out to someone you can trust and talk about this. Therapy is a great start; that time spent discussing how you feel, that's worth something. Much more than any convincing you would try to do with others. Be well.