Every now and then, someone will write a guest post for me. I’ve had some pretty special people write so far; one of my loveliest of friends, a teacher from my high school, a guy who’s experienced an eating disorder firsthand. I share these posts because I think they are important; I share them because I think giving people a voice is vital. And I share them because I think what they have to say is helpful and insightful.
So today I have another guest post to share with you. It comes from another lovely friend of mine who currently is battling an eating disorder. Her story is raw and insightful and honest and useful. But in saying all of that, if you are experiencing an eating disorder yourself, it may also be triggering. Please be wise about reading this post – if you have an inkling that this might be unhelpful for you and your recovery, please be brave and walk away from the computer. Honestly, I don’t think it’s too triggering – but we’re all different and we all react differently to these things. So yes – the choice is up to you, friend.
And regardless of if you choose to continue reading or you shut down the computer – I hope you have the most splendid of days.
There is no way to deny that you have an eating disorder when you are standing in the shower with your fingers down your throat, dark red blood running down the drain and you’re crying because you’re so scared, not at the fact that you could be potentially bleeding internally but at the fact that you can only see blood so that means that the food you just consumed is still in your stomach and you’re so terrified of seeing the little red number on the scale higher the next morning.
It took me a long time to admit to myself that I had an eating disorder. It took me even longer to admit it to someone else and to this day less than a handful of people know about it. I still have a hard time accepting that my eating disorder is serious and not just a phase that I am going through. I am not recovered in any way, shape or form and for this reason this blog post will be kept anonymous.
No one would look at me and think that I had an eating disorder. It was only recently that my weight was low enough to be diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa, (though I had been previously diagnosed with Bulimia Nervosa and EDNOS). I still look quite a lot bigger than a lot of my friends. I regularly restrict my food and purge through forms of vomiting, exercise and most recently laxative abuse.
Lately, people have been making comments about my eating and food habits. The problem is that they haven’t made these comments to me but to various other friends. I completely understand why people would feel uncomfortable to confront someone who they have concerns over, particularly if they are not incredibly close. However, I urge you to discuss your concerns with your loved ones, because I know at least for me, the idea that people are talking about me behind my back is so much worse than people knowing that I have an eating disorder. It makes me feel like people notice but don’t care enough to say that they realise something is wrong. If they don’t want to discuss it with you , they will make you aware that they don’t wish to discuss it, but at least they know you’re there, and it may terrify them at first to know that they aren’t as sneaky as they had thought but as long as you don’t push them to change they should be grateful that there is an option of having someone to talk to in times of distress.
When people don’t mention that they notice, it is extremely easy to convince yourself that nothing is wrong. It’s easy to think “nobody has said anything so it cannot be THAT unusual what I am doing”. When you don’t acknowledge there is something wrong there is no possible way for you to fix it.
What it comes down to is the fact that eating disorders are incredibly lonely. Whilst you never feel like you’re completely alone because of the voices telling you you’re not good enough, it does cut you off from your friends and family because you are so scared that they will make you eat something that your eating disorder has decided is “unsafe”. Your life becomes the eating disorder, so people need to know they have support. They need the reminder that there are people who love them and know them for something other than their weight. The reminder that the real world exists. You do have to understand that just because you know about their eating disorder, does not mean that they will change overnight, or even at all, but it will make everything a lot easier on them.
I guess what I am trying to say is be brave, because even though you’re really scared of their reaction, it is nothing compared to how terrified and alone they feel a lot of the time. You telling them that you won’t give up on them means the world because they have given up on themselves and, that little boost might be exactly what the person needs.
I am so incredibly fortunate to have the friends that I do, and am thankful every single day that Rebekah asked me if I was alright, and confronted me over my behaviours that day. Not everybody has someone as amazing as Bek so please, and I stress, even if it’s just a quick message over Facebook if you are worried, or have some suspicions about someone tell the person you are worried about them, why you are worried and that they can get some help.