Don’t Hide. Talk.
My anorexia enjoys silence. It cackles in delight when I keep what is going on inside of me a secret from those around me. To keep the restriction a secret means to have a small victory. By restricting food I provide my eating disorder with energy to continue on its destructive pathway. A restrictive diet provides energy to everyone in my head but me. The same goes for purging. While my main struggle has been restrictive, I have had battles with purging and tricking my mind into believing I was still “being compliant” because I had consumed the meal. Purging thrives in secret as well.
The core of maintaining an eating disorder relies on manipulation of yourself and others and lying blatantly and by omission. I have learned that I am an amazing liar. While this skill comes in handy when I am planning a surprise birthday party or have an excellent date night idea, it is also part of me that nearly took my life.
When I was in treatment I continued my pathway of lies and hiding. I would put food in chairs, shoes, and flower vases to avoid eating and avoid the disappointed looks from the residential counselors. Those strategies only lasted so long because my weight began to decline again. Eventually I had to come clean with what was actually going on during snack time and face my inner demons. I was put on supervised snack and meals. I was under lock-and-key.
It took me months to realize the power of honesty. I am still realizing that power. Honesty does not come hard for me except in regards to when my honesty may hurt the other person either directly or indirectly. For example, if I skip a meal it is extremely hard for me to tell my wife even though I know that she would want to be informed of what happened so she could help me in the future. I do not want to disappoint her though. In treatment, I wanted to be the “perfect” patient and always eat my meals; but I did not want to put in the work to actually get better. My desire to recovery took over 2 months of being in residential treatment.
Here I am today. I am not secret free, nor am I an open book, but I have found a balance.
For me, writing is a huge part of my recovery. This blog has helped hold me accountable and share my story with others. While my followers are not in the thousands and my comments are minimal, I feel positive about my writing. I know that, at the very least, I am helping myself. I organize my thoughts. Battle my demons. Desire to recover. This is my way of being discovered. My dream is to be an Eating Disorder Advocate and show the world that there is live beyond anorexia or bulimia or other eating disorders. We can work together and stand up for our right to live. I am Taking a Leap and talking daily for my right to live.