There are various people in my life who have taken action against my eating disorder for me. For the day that’s in it I’d like to share with you the ones that have really made a positive difference (there are a few who have made a negative difference but I’ll save that rant for another day!). First there were my friends in school who told the guidance counsellor that I had told them I had been throwing up. I was so so so mad at them. I talked my way out of it, and stopped talking to them for a while, but then we eventually moved past it without another word to be spoken for another 10 years. They tried though, and they tolerated me being horrible to them for it.
A few years later there was a different girl in school who would make me lunch and sit with me trying to get me to eat it. She made things that she thought I would like especially which meant getting up earlier to do this especially for me which is pretty sensitive and kind now I think about it. I really tried to eat with her but it was just to prove that I could and that nothing was wrong so it didn’t last as I talked my way out of that too- but she was so good to try.
Around this time I was a member of the Something Fishy community and through this got a lot of online support. I had to log on stealthily as our computer was in our sitting room (with dial up so if the phone rang during a webchat I would cut out!!). I also IM’d (throwback thursday!) with some fishies who got me through some pretty rough patches. Was anyone here a fishie by the way?
Two years into my university course I had a bit of a meltdown and ended up spilling my guts to a friend (Y) that I was really miserable. She told me outright that she knew I had an eating disorder and that I needed to get help for it. I made it as far as two counselling sessions and one appointment with a psychiatrist but that was enough to put me off seeking help for many more years. She stuck by me though, and she regularly asks me how I am doing with ‘the food thing’ even when things seem fine, and she has a funny way of sensing when things aren’t. She will call me straight out on any significant weight loss but she also will ask when my weight is stable which really makes a difference. I don’t feel like I have to be thin for her to know I’m struggling. She had an ED when she was younger, and then struggled again for a brief period after pregnancy, so she knows what is going on more than others, but I trust her when she says she’s okay to support me. I will never be able to express how much I love this girl.
After living in different countries for a period, I moved back to where my school friends were from. I was working in a really stressful job and my ED became visible again. One of the girls who had first expressed a concern pushed me on it one day and I ended up telling her a somewhat sanitised but fairly honest account of that yes I did have ED in school and I still struggled now. She listened and was amazing and told me I could count on her whenever, and I still do, but I tend not to talk about ED stuff with her as I had started to see a counsellor at this point and felt I had someone to offload on. We’ve never really talked about it since except for when I relapsed with restriction a couple of years ago and it was too obvious not to say- and now when I see here, which is only a couple of times a year she’ll ask me ‘how are you?’ ‘and how are you really?’ which gives me a nice opportunity to be honest.
Finally then, there are two of my friends here in the UK who, along with Y from uni, are my rocks. I kept ED a secret from them for nearly 2 years despite numerous conversations about my friend’s brother having an ED which made for some awkward moments. Then I found out that the other friend had suffered with an ED for years when she was young and had gone through inpatient etc. before fully recovering (and yes she really is) and then going back to uni as a mature student. She was working on a research project about EDs and thats how it came up- when she told me this it seemed deceitful to not be honest with her about myself, and I couldn’t see how I would survive 6 months of research project talk without slipping up at some point. These girls have been angels and when I relapsed significantly the other year they marched me to the doctor, got me set up with the lovely nurse, have ridden the crazy ride it’s been with me, regularly ask me how I’m doing ED-wise and happiness-wise, are so sensitive about me being funny with food at times, have cooked meat free fat free calorie free everything free meals for me so I wouldn’t miss out, and understand when I bring them over batches of baking that I’m too afraid to have in the house. I honestly would not be here today without these girls.
Then of course there’s my lovely ex-nurse, my lovely ex-doctor, my seems-alright-but-still-not-sure-new doctor and my is-it-working-who-knows-but-she-hasn’t-dumped-me-yet-newish nurse.
And last but not least is the support I get from you all on wordpress. I started this blog on a whim as I felt stuck and alone, and now I have a place to go where I can read about other people fighting a similar battle and who have provided me with invaluable cheerleading and understanding. I am so thankful for you all.
I am incredibly lucky to have the supports that I do. I lived alone with ED for a very long time, over a decade, but the moment I started letting people in was the moment he started to diminish. People take action by supporting me, and for that I will be forever grateful.
Wow that was an incredibly long post- going to the gym clearly gave me a mental energy boost!
Now… tell me about your people! Or if you don’t have people, tell me if I can help you seek them out!