Who knows about your ED?

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?!

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15 thoughts on “Who knows about your ED?

  1. My wife and all my closest friends know. My Mom and sister know. But I didn’t really talk about it until about a year into relapse. My classmates suspect but I don’t ever confirm. So far everyone has been really supportive.

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  2. I told someone in college, but he’s since passed away. My ex-husband suspected, and that came out during the divorce. My best friend, ex boyfriend, and current boyfriend, and three close friends know (and my two former therapists). Otherwise, I always feel ashamed of it.

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    1. I wonder if suspecting is worse than knowing? I wish I knew what my boyfriend knew! I’m sorry you feel ashamed of it, I wish I could convince you not to, but I know how hard that would be as I can’t convince myself. My counsellor is working on getting me to see it as an illness rather than a weakness in me, I’m trying…

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      1. He told me he knew for a long time that I threw up my food and lied about it and it’s a problem but I “never seemed like I wanted to talk about i” so he figured I’d just stop eventually on my own. I told my boyfriend now, and I’m trying to get better because I know I can’t have a real future like this. I am right there with you on illness instead of weakness. I just wish others saw it that way, too.

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      2. I think if my boyfriend does know what is probably similar to his thought process. I’m starting to feel guilty for keeping it from him now, maybe the guilt will push me towards telling him. Well done for working on getting better. It is a long hard slog but you’re right that it’s no future with it- but the years will easily pass if you don’t take action. I honestly thought at some point I would just grow out it or that it would go away, but it IS an illness, and it doesn’t work like that. Wishing you lots of strength on this journey-keep blogging- there are some incredibly strong ED peeps out there that have motivated me so much.

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  3. Originally I came out to my ex husband and best friend. When years went by and I was struggling more than ever, I went public. Like really public. I told my family and friends. I was meeting with a support group and then I really went public. My therapist had me speak at a college during ED awareness week. Because of that, I went public on social media…and started my blog. I really do think it has helped. I am the kind of person that needs to be held accountable.

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  4. Telling others your personal business is not easy but support is needed during difficult times and although it is hard to ask for help we must learn how to because everyone needs help through life. When I first sought out treatment only my Mom knew (she was the one who intervened) and then my nutritionist and therapist. I eventually told my Dad and brother who were supportive. As months went on I told my closest friends and my closest coworkers because I could tell they knew something was up and cared about me. It has been over a year now and it is nothing something I openly share, only with those I trust and care about. I know people can tell because I have put on weight through recovery and my body has changed but no one really brings it up. I created my blog but haven’t shared it on my social media sites because it is something very personal to me. My family and friends know about my blog and read it in their own time. I have only shared my ED with one boyfriend who I am not with anymore which made it even more difficult to break up because he did know and I felt like he knew a part of me that was so private and is now walking around having that knowledge but I’m coming to terms that there is nothing I can do about that, whats done is done. Thankfully when I did tell him he was extremely supportive but he was in the medical field and knew that it truly was a mental illness and not a fault of mine. If I were to give you advice I would suggest you tell those closest to you because if they love you and care about you then they will WANT to be there for you and help you grow stronger. If they choose not to then I think you will find out who your true friends are. If they don’t understand ED then have them read articles or books about it (I had my Dad do that because he didn’t get what I was going through at all and it extremely helped). It’s not going to be easy but it will be worth it, you don’t deserve to walk through this journey alone! It will help make the future brighter and more promising. Good luck, keep us posted!! 🙂

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    1. Good idea about having reading material ready! My boyfriend wouldn’t jump on the material but he is super academic so if I left him some suggestions he would eventually find his own way to them in his own time I think.

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  5. Everyone knows, except my parents. I don’t hide it anymore, not really. Secrets make you sick: more importantly, the stigma of illness doesn’t diminish if we all hide ourselves away. Anyone can ask, and find me willing to talk about it frankly.

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    1. “Secrets make you sick” – love this! I do also feel some responsibility for helping reduce stigma, and have talked about my depression at some work things recently, but wth ED I’m less confident- I guess I’m afraid people will look at my body and eating patterns and that freaks me out a little.

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  6. I’ve told those close to me — husband, friends, one of my sisters. I also have a wonderful network of fellow sufferers who I met through treatment and support group, who of course all know about my diagnosis. My parents, grandparents, and casual friends have not been told. For now I’ve decided to keep it this way because I only want those who will be supportive and understanding in my most vulnerable areas of my life. My treatment team advised me to only tell those who have a habit of giving (emotionally) as that’s what I need at this moment from them.

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    1. That makes sense, seems a logical approach. I’ve only just met a couple of people in real life who have EDs too, otherwise it’s just the lovely bloggers, but it had been incredible to have had people understand things the past year or so.

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