It’s About What You Don’t See

“Eating disorders thrive in secrecy.”  This is something my therapist reminds me of regularly.  I remember the first time she said it.  The statement hit me like a ton of truth bricks.  Boy was she ever right.  The more I try/tried to deny it, hide it, or cover it up just pours gasoline on the fire.  This is one reason why I have decided to open up about my eating disorder.  There is a ton of misconception, misunderstanding, and lack of awareness about eating disorders (and mental illness).  Yet, we are barraged with messages of clean eating, cleanses, detoxes, fad diets and workouts, and promises of flat bellies every day.  So, my post today is about what friends, family, coworkers, etc don’t see when it comes to eating disorders. The lists below are not all inclusive – just some things that I’ve experienced.  Each person’s journey may look different.

The Bad:

  • metabolic damage
  • hair loss/thinning
  • nutrient deficiencies
  • isolation
  • countless hours thinking about food and/or weight
  • osteopenia (precursor to osteoporosis)
  • absence of menstruation
  • obsession with inanimate objects (i.e. the scale)
  • mood swings
  • loneliness

The Good (aka – recovery):

  • countless hours of therapy
  • doctor appointments
  • tests and supplementation
  • enjoying a piece of carrot cake (my favorite) with coworkers or friends and not fretting how many calories it contains
  • increased energy
  • making peace with past traumatic events
  • attending social events
  • feeling every emotion with intensity that feels (almost) unbearable
  • realizing you are loved, worthy, and enough (read this one again!)
  • new opportunities

The list of “good” is not what we would typically think of as good experiences, but they are all parts of my recovery.  I choose recovery every day, even on the hard days.  Especially on the hard days.  If I reach to you for a hug, squeeze me hard.  If I text you saying I’m struggling, tell me it’s okay.  If I’m quiet, give me a reassuring smile.

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