Eating disorders are sneaky little buggers. They thrive on secrecy. They love it to bits. They are dishonest, deceptive and manipulative. They trick the sufferer, and fool their (respective) loved ones. They cheat their way to power and once they’ve gained control, it’s damn hard to come back to full health, to a life before the eating disorder, to a life without it.
Hard, but not impossible.
You see, there are many important things an individual needs to undertake in order to recover. Follow a meal plan set by a qualified dietitian, one who has an understanding of eating disorders. Seek support from family, friends, a GP, a psychologist. Restore their physical health. Restore their weight. Come to an understanding of the core issues that the eating disorder is concealing, and deal with them when the time is right. Recovery is something that entails a crazy load of work – which, at times, can be incredibly overwhelming – and needs to be worked at every single day.
All of the aforementioned things are beyond essential for recovery, but something that I truly believe to be at the crux of it all is an ability to be honest.
An ability to be honest to doctors, to dietitians and nurses. An ability to tell friends and family if you’re struggling and find yourself lapsing. An eating disorder’s strong point is its ability to lie, its ability to remain hidden from the individuals closest peeps. And one of the best ways in which someone can begin to tackle their eating disorder is to tell the truth about the thoughts, the urges and the behaviours that are occurring.
I’m not saying this is easy, not in the slightest. There may be various reasons that you have kept quiet about things – to maintain your eating disorder, to avoid weight gain, to avoid treatment – perhaps even to avoid feelings of guilt or shame or embarrassment. To avoid peoples’ judgement. To let go of something that you feel you have at least some control over, when the rest of your world is so completely out of control.
But being honest is brave. Being honest is not a fault. Being honest doesn’t mean you are attention seeking. Being honest means you are willing to recover, and to accept support and love from those around you. Being honest means that you recognise that there is so much more to life beyond this and that you DESERVE recovery and that you are incredibly, incredibly worthwhile.
So … I guess I just want to encourage you. Yes, being open about things is beyond terrifying. But seeking support from those around you requires honesty with them, and with yourself too. And true recovery from the eating disorder requires honesty too.
Yes, it’s hard. But it’s do-able. And it’s EXACTLY how you’re going to take away the control from the eating disorder; it’s how you’re going to find yourself being released from its seemingly tight grip.