As I was going through some boxes, I came across an old diary from 2012. The entry I landed on when I opened it surprised me. In my diary, I had admitted I had an eating disorder and had decided I wanted to recover.
Well an interesting thing has happened. My mother’s fear has come true. I have an eating disorder! Oye, it has been a struggle. And I’ve been in denial about the reality. I didn’t think it could ever happen to me, and it has. I have forgotten how to eat normally, but I am determined to get better. Help me find the strength to do it.
I cried as I read the words on the page. And I cried for that 25-year-old girl, remembering how much pain and anguish she was in every single day as she struggled to control her eating and resist urges to binge and purge. Tears fell for that girl, remembering how much her eating disorder impacted her health, happiness, self-love and relationships.
Most of all, I cried because I realized how far I had come. I’d done it. I’d been able to recover from my eating disorder. As I reflected on this diary, I realized something I needed to do in order to truly embark on my healing journey towards recovery.
There Were 3 Truths That I Had To Admit To In Order To Recover From My Eating Disorder
1. Admit The Truth To Yourself
Without a doubt, the first and most important step that I took to begin my journey towards recovery was admitting to myself the severity of my eating disorder.
Because I had been in denial for months and months.
I had become so attached to trying to appear to be “perfect” to the outside world that I refused to acknowledge I was struggling with bulimia. In fact, the first few times I said the words “I have bulimia,” I was shocked.
I had been a relatively normal eater for 23 years of my life, and suddenly I found myself unable to stop purging. I couldn’t accept that this had become my reality. Acknowledging I had an eating disorder was a hard truth to accept because it was so drastically opposite to the happy, healthy self-image I had and wanted to portray to the world.
2. Admit The Truth To Someone You Trust
Once I finally accepted that I had an eating disorder, I vowed I was not going to tell my family or friends. My mother had been open with me about her history with bulimia. And I knew one of her greatest fears was my sister or me experiencing the same. I was afraid of the emotional impact it would have on her and didn’t want her to blame herself. So I kept it a secret.
Likewise, I didn’t want to burden my friends with the truth about my eating disorder. First, I was worried it would change their favorable perception of me. And I didn’t want to feel rejected, judged or pitied. Second, I was concerned that they would impose their beliefs on me and try to tell me what to eat. I didn’t want to be babysat by them, and so I said nothing.
For 5 years I kept my eating disorder a secret from the people closest to me. I carried the immense burden alone. In hindsight I see that I prolonged my suffering.
When I finally built up the courage to admit the truth to my mother and father, I felt years of emotional baggage release.
It was such a relief to hear their words of assurance, love, and support. The love that my parents and friends continued to shower upon me helped me to more deeply love and accept myself, and release my own self-judgments. This helped to to recover from the eating disorder.
3. Admit That You Need Outside Help
Due to my deep shame about my eating disorder, I also vowed I would figure out how to recover on my own. This was a prideful and stubborn decision that came from a place of deep shame. I felt that to seek outside professional help would symbolize how “messed up” I was.
I remember one time I went to an eating disorder support group and told the group leader that I was recovered and only interested in attending in order to be a support to the others. This was a blatant lie.
After years of trying to achieve full recovery on my own, I realized that I was only fooling myself (which I was quite good at). I was the best at lying to myself, assuring myself that this would be the “last time” I’d have an episode. Therefore I justified there was no need to seek help because it would “never happen again.”
I had to call myself out on my own bs, swallow my pride, and acknowledge I needed help. If I was truly serious about getting better, I couldn’t do it alone. I joined an online group and began working 1-on-1 with a practitioner. Both catapulted my healing journey. I wonder if I’d still be struggling today had I not finally taken this step to get outside help.
It is possible to recover from an eating disorder
Now, when I look at my diary entries, I am so relieved to be writing about my gratitude for life, my love for self, my acceptance of my body and my enjoyment of food—free of disordered tendencies. I know this would not be the case had I not admitted these three truths. I also know I wouldn’t be where I am career-wise. After achieving recovery I went back to school and became a licensed therapist so I could help other women recover as well.
Imagine what possibilities are waiting for you on the other side of admitting the hard-to-face truths that may be holding you back on your own recovery journey.