I have always been very private about my eating disorder. But you literally blog about it. Yes, yes I do. But the reality is that no one I know in person knows about this website (except my boyfriend, and I just told him yesterday).
Secrecy is not a knew phenomenon for me. Or perhaps a better word is “privacy.” I have always been a private person and I don’t share a lot of information about my personal life. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, when it comes to my eating disorder, my secrecy has created a lot of shame for me over the years.
For years, no one knew about my struggles. No. One. When I finally spoke to a counselor at my university, I felt like a tiny piece of that shame fell from my back. And it felt good.
Since that day a few years ago, I really only told a few more people about my struggles. (And I didn’t really tell them the reality of my life, just kinda made a comment like, “Yeah, my life used to suck because I had an eating disorder,” when in reality I should have said, “I am seriously miserable every single day because of my freaking eating disorder that I’ve been dealing with for years and can’t get rid of.”)
My Year of Honesty
But since 2020 is my year of honesty, I have actually tried to be more open and transparent about my struggles. Does that mean my family knows about my eating disorder. NOPE! (Well, my mom does, but no one else!) But I did open up to my college roommate and one of my close friends I’ve known for years.
I told Brian on a Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago. We were lounging in our hammocks in the woods, chatting as we had done so many times in the past. I had just had my mandatory fitness testing for one of my PE classes and Brian asked how my results compared to my freshman year (I’m a Senior and fitness testing is required the first and last years of college).
“Well,” I started, laughing nervously, “I was really sick freshman year. I lost a lot of weight, and well, it wasn’t healthy at all.”
That was enough to get the point across. Brian was really surprised but chill. He asked a few questions that I was happy to answer and we talked about how it affected me in the past and how it was still affecting me in the present. He was very supportive and understanding.
As we talked, a piece of my shame fell from my back and my burden was just a little bit lighter and my day was just a little bit brighter. It felt good being honest with someone who I knew wouldn’t betray, hurt, or judge me.
Not Everyone Deserves to Know…
Opening up about my eating disorder has been a very calculated choice. Let me make this very clear right now: NOT everyone deserves to know your secrets and struggles. Some people will take your honesty too lightly; some may judge, humiliate, condemn, offer unsolicited advice, make triggering comments, or otherwise make your situation worse (even if unintentionally). This is why I have been very careful when choosing with whom to open up, and so far, my caution has paid off. Everyone I have spoken to has been encouraging and supportive. It makes me feel so blessed to have the people in my life that I do.
Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself when considering whether someone is trustworthy or not.
How long have I known this person?
How deep/shallow is our relationship?
Has this person broken my trust in the past?
Do I feel comfortable around this person?
Has this person been open and honest with me in the past?
Another point I want to make is that it is 100% okay if you don’t want to share your struggles. If you feel forced to share when you’re not ready, it will only hurt you. Give it thought and careful consideration before opening yourself up to others. There is no hurry. You need to feel comfortable and ready.
As always, you’ve got this gorgeous! It can be incredibly freeing to share a piece of your heart, but it can also be damaging. Be thoughtful and remember that you only deserve encouragement and support! If you don’t feel like sharing with someone you know, you can always reach out to me. Send me a message on Facebook or Instagram. Keep your head up and keep fighting!
Check out some other ED Heal content…
Dealing With Eating Disorder Triggers
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back