Following on from my previous posts about telling my boyfriend, I was wondering for those of you out there that have, or have had, an Eating Disorder- who knows about it? I kept mine secret for many many years, with some people getting brief access at times to then be shut out again. I always thought I would tell people once I was recovered, so I could discuss it as a past event, nice and neat and tidy (“oh yeah, I used to have an eating disorder, when I was younger, I’m fine now”), but as the years passed I realised that time was slipping by for that to ever happen and that telling people might actually be a key step in ever reaching that elusive place of recovery. Over the past two years I have been getting more confident about saying the words out loud- I hate them, but I can say them….”I have an eating disorder”.
For me now my three best phd friends know and when in an okay place I can discuss the supports I get with them, but not the nitty gritty details of the ED voice and the shame etc.
Another two friends (one from school and one from my undergrad) also know, and I will tell her when I am ‘in a bad place’ but we don’t talk about much more. I have lots of other very close friends who have no idea, although do see me lose and gain weight so probably have some suspicions.
One of my tutors at uni knows but I only discussed it when I had to submit the forms from the doctor about my sick leave. They know the diagnosis and that’s about it.
One of my work colleagues knows, but I presented it in a “I used to have issues” way so I imagine she thinks I’m fine now, although she does know I take my lunch early on my therapy days so probably has an idea of where I’m going.
My GP knows, along with my old nurse and counsellor. This is a safe space now, although it did take me years to access professional help.
I recently met two girls with anorexia through a mental health event, and they now know too. They were the first ‘strangers’ that I had told, and it was weird, but then so refreshing to have someone really understand. I had previously met other people at a group a few years ago but I was in a bad place so couldn’t actually talk to any of them.
I think the most notable ones missing from this list are my boyfriend and my family. They are probably the ones both ED and I are scared about telling. I feel like my world would never be the same again if I ever uttered the words to them, but maybe that’s exactly what I need?
I’m nosey now to know other people’s stories if you would like to share?!