Thursday, October 24, 2013

Shame and Secrets.

It's been a long time since I've sat down to chronicle my journey of healing from my life-threatening battle with anorexia.  It's been a long time since I've really checked in on myself and looked at how I was doing and what I should be doing better.   It's been a long time since I've taken time for myself.

Brief catch up:
I'm midway through my first semester of sophomore year and enjoying [almost] every single minute of it.  I attended the NEDA Conference 2013 [more about that to come!] and I made the decision pre-sophomore year that I wasn't going to seek out professional help this year because, well, things weren't going to get bad enough to need that.

Well.  It's almost the end of October and five days ago, I sat down with one of my favorite professors of all time and told her that I was relapsing.  Not something that I wanted to do.  I mean, she's an amazing woman and I am such a fan of her and how she lives her life.  I'm trying to get a job as her research assistant [which I've decided just probably isn't going to happen and I'm okay with that] and I'm trying to manage her impressions of me.

I confessed to my greatest flaw.  And immediately regretted it.

That's the thing that sucks about eating disorders: the shame, the secrecy, the judgement.  And even though she has assured me that she doesn't judge or see me any differently than she did when she didn't know this information.  We talked about eating with people and she told me that other people really aren't paying attention to what you are eating or how you are eating or when or anything like that... But it's still so uncomfortable for me.

Regardless of how much she tries to tell me that seeking out help is strong, that it's okay, that it doesn't have any impact on her perception of me, I am not believing it.  It's so hard for me to look at her or talk to her and not think that she's judging me or that all she can see when she looks at me is an eating disorder or a failure at food or someone who is weak.

And as hard as it is to look at her and talk, it's what I need.  I immediately hated that I had told her this secret.  But I also know the nature of eating disorders--they live on secrecy.  They feed on it.  It's how they win.

So if I have to live through the awkwardness of feeling shame and judged and all of the negative emotions associated with being real in order to be free of the clutches of this [something that I'm not even sure is possible at this point], I guess it's what I have to do.  And I have to trust my professor when she says that she does not judge me for having an eating disorder and that she believes that I can do this.

Because I need someone to believe that I'll be okay, especially when I can't.
And I need someone to push me toward healing when I don't have the strength to do it for myself.
And more than that, I need someone to remind me that I am not alone.