It’s been about 8 months since I last posted here. It hasn’t been that I didn’t think about it or want to. Fear has been holding me back. I’ve been afraid of what others might think of me, or if it will change others opinions of me. Afraid of being judged. Afraid of being thought of as a lesser person. Afraid of losing professional respect. Afraid of negative responses.
If you read this post and find yourself feeling angry at me, disappointed in me or any negative emotions that do not support me, I ask that you refrain from commenting. If you don’t understand, but still support me, that’s okay. I’m still learning, too! If you find yourself relating to my experience, that’s okay, too.
You might be wondering “why now? Why is she going to open herself up to the big world and expose herself? Lay it all out on the table, risking the negative backlash?” In one word…. RECOVERY. I want to fully recover, and to do so, I need to be open and honest, and share my story, my experience.
I have an eating disorder.
Those close to me may have seen red flags or signs, but were likely afraid to say anything. I don’t know how one would even approach this subject with someone. Luckily for me, I was able to identify that I had/have a problem. I reached out for help. Life was miserable, but I didn’t show it. There may have been scattered days here and there that my family and friends recognized my changed moods and temperament, but mostly, I contained all of this in myself. When you thought I had willpower, I was restricting. When you thought I was “eating clean”, I was struggling with binges of restricted foods in private. A history of being overweight and dieting set up the perfect storm for an eating disorder. Add in my nutrition knowledge and my desire to improve athletically – it was a tsunami.
Imagine yourself in the middle of that tsunami. It’s one really scary place to be. I no longer recognized myself, my behaviors or my moods. I lost complete touch with my true authentic self. When I initially sought out help, the resources I needed seemed hard to find. When I did find them, I was not happy. I knew that if I couldn’t connect with my support system, that I would not be able to recover from this. So I kept looking. I feel very fortunate that today, I have built a support system of professionals to help me that I really connect with and feel 100% comfortable with. I don’t always like them for what they say or ask me to do, but I know they have my recovery first and foremost in their actions. My support team consists of my therapist, psychiatrist, registered dietician with a sports specialty, integrative nurse practitioner and group therapy. They all work together and communicate to help me.
Treatment has brought a lot of changes in my life. You may see me eating foods that once were considered “bad” or “off-limits”. You might see my weight fluctuate up or down. You might find I have days that I don’t want to participate in adulting. You might see me giving up control and the drive to be “perfect”. All of these changes make me very uncomfortable. Some days are really hard. Sometimes the days string together for a few weeks. I refuse to give up though. My family has been a tremendous support to me and they are a big reason why I am working to get better. Eating disorders can be life threatening, and unfortunately, there is not enough awareness and education about them.
I will be posting a series of follow up posts to provide information on eating disorders and mental health – what they are, what they aren’t, how to help someone with an eating disorder, dealing with body image and our toxic society, and resources.
Thank you to all of you who have supported me and continue to support me as I battle my eating disorder. I have faith that I will fully recover – it’s not a matter of if, only when.