NEDA Week 2017: Talk About It
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NEDA Week 2017: Talk About It

As this week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I felt that it was necessary to write an article.

NEDA Week 2017: Talk About It

As this week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I felt that it was necessary to write a piece. This year, NEDA Week is about talking about it, which is the first step in moving towards recovery. Someone who is unwilling to talk and work to figure out what had them fall onto this path simply cannot recover. As soon as you open up, you start to be at least a little more willing to change something.

For me personally, talking about it was the last thing I wanted to do. Whenever my mom tried to help or have me speak to her, I would lash out and insist that she didn’t understand and was out to get me— I couldn’t understand that those words were heavily influenced by my eating disorder, which was trying to do everything it could to make sure I didn’t let go of it. Alternatively, whenever I did talk about it, I would emphasize the details that sounded like they showed how sick I was. When I was deep in my eating disorder, I swung from either not realizing that the cons severely outweighed the pros, or simply not caring if they did. Not only did it consume my life and my thoughts, 24/7, but it also filled me with apathy and made me an extremely irritable person.

I had people who tried to help me and tried to encourage me to get help that I continuously pushed away or ignored. I had fallen into a false sense of security. Back then, and even sometimes now, I felt that each time I used a behavior, I was exhibiting the greatest control, and that resisting urges was the ultimate failure. Giving into my disease was the success back then. It still is on bad days. But from a healthier standpoint, I can now be proud of myself for doing the opposite of what my eating disorder is pushing me towards, because despite that rush of relief and illusion of power, the only thing in control was my eating disorder. If I truly did have a say, I would have been able to stop. I didn’t want to. As things got worse, I was getting tired of it all, but I felt ‘happier’— a false happiness that stemmed from knowing that I was getting sicker, and that maybe, soon, it would get to the point where my perfectionism would be satisfied. There was a goal I wanted to reach that was never enough, but I was still convinced that if I pushed myself just a bit more, I would feel like I succeeded. A few days ago, I saw someone refer to their eating disorder as “dancing with Death”. I couldn’t agree more.

Even as I started to work towards recovery, I always felt that I had to keep some part of the disorder in order to “prove” that it was real. It had become a part of my identity, and I was afraid that without it, I would lose that part, and that if I spoke of it without being “sick enough”, people would assume it was a lie or that I was looking for attention.

Talking about your personal struggles is difficult for anyone, and being pushed before you’re ready doesn’t help— it just causes even more stress, because your mind can twist others’ good intentions into something completely different. Being there for someone, however, makes a world of a difference. Knowing that there is someone nonjudgmental to turn to is something that has greatly helped me in my recovery, because as I became more open to talking about my eating disorder and trying to make a change, it was helpful to have those people that I knew I could always go to. When I felt like recovery was a waste of time and that I didn’t want to give up something that I had become attached to, I knew I could, because I knew that they would understand that this was something I was feeling that I needed to get out, and keeping it to myself out of shame wouldn’t help.

Regardless of what you may be struggling with, and whether or not you think you’re ready to open up about it, find those people that you know you can turn to, because they won’t judge you or discredit progress you’ve already made. They understand that it isn’t easy, even if they don’t understand what “it” is. No matter what you might be dealing with in life, talk about it. You don’t have to declare it to the world. Even just one or two people can help. Choosing recovery isn’t easy, but finding a support system is a great place to start.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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