I remember when the talk of me actually dropping my classes and going to treatment was getting serious, I sat outside one of my classes writing the thing I had wanted to write for what felt like forever. I tried to craft the most poignant and elegant post to reveal to everyone what I had been struggling with and what was happening. I had wanted to admit this for so long. I was sick of keeping this secret and honestly, I thought that the more people that knew, the more likely it would be that someone would make me get the help I wanted but could never admit for myself.
So the decision was made, my bags were packed, and the day before I flew out I posted my announcement on Facebook, torn between feeling incredibly relieved and also terrified because I knew there was no going back after that. From now on, whether I liked it or not, everyone would know about ED. There was no getting rid of it.
At first I didn’t mind. I didn’t want to have to deal with trying to come up with excuses as to where I was and what was going on. All of my friends down at school obviously knew, my mom had told my extended family, and I told every other important person in my life I thought should know, but mostly, I was done hiding. If I was serious about getting rid of ED, I knew it couldn’t just be between me and him.
I got so much support with everything that I posted about treatment. I truly am blessed with fabulous friends and family. I got so many well-wishes and knew that so many people were back here in Indiana praying for me and cheering me on, and it was great. I loved the freedom I felt to be able to post stuff. I loved that I could be honest and real and just let recovery integrate with the rest of my life. I was hoping that if I didn’t make it a taboo topic, others wouldn’t either.
In treatment, all of that was fine. I was able to post but didn’t feel any pressure to keep people updated and didn’t have to say what was going on because my team was always there and I wasn’t home so people didn’t expect anything, well actually they did expect things. They expected it to be tough and for me to be struggling and for it just to be a weird time in my life. All of that seemed normal and the whole idea of treatment was just such a private thing that no one expects you to say anything about it at all because, well they just don’t.
Now that I’m home it’s not the same.
People want updates. They genuinely want to know how I’m doing with school and recovery and all of it, which is fine. I don’t mind people checking up on me, it just reminds me how great the people in my life are, but the issue is I never know how to respond. I’ve gotten better at not immediately responding with, “Great! Thanks!”, but I still never know what to say. I know that they want me to be honest, which im okay with, I guess. It’s not nearly as hard for me to say, “Honestly, not too great” when talking to someone but it’s always the follow-up, “Oh, what’s going on?” that gets me because the truth is, I don’t know if they’ll be able to understand what’s going on.
Sure, they’ll get that I’m struggling with food or something but it’s a lot more difficult to say, “Well, my body image has been terrible recently and I made the stupid decision to weigh myself so now I’m trying to convince myself to go and at least try and eat something for lunch because I ate 20% of what I was supposed to for breakfast and I know that I need to go eat even though the thought of it makes me sick and all I can hear and see is fat while I’m eating and honestly, I’m just really tired of recovery and I really want to give up because all of this is a lot more than I thought it would be and im tired of fighting and being exhausted and all I can think about right now is getting the number I saw on the scale lower and I have to go to school and work and still try to function and be a normal college kid and…”
Yeah, it’s just a lot easier to say, “Honestly, not too great”.
I know that I’m making this a lot worse in my head than it is in real-life and the majority of the people asking genuinely want to know so that they can help me but I’m not too sure that I’m ready to put all of my secrets out there yet. The internet already knows what was my deepest, darkest secret…I’m not sure that I want them to hear everything that goes along with that.
Ugh. Vulnerability sucks…I know it’s worth it in the end but right now it’s just…ugh.
If anyone has had any experiences, good or bad, with being more open and vulnerable with people and how you’re really doing, I would love to hear what has worked, or hasn’t for all of you.
Keep killin’ it y’all