How I Stopped Hiding My Eating Disorder

Secrecy is an inherent part of struggling with out-of-control eating patterns.  Here are a few of the poisonous thoughts that make us keep our pain a secret:

By Karoly Czifra

By Karoly Czifra

We are afraid.  We don’t want people to judge us.  We don’t want people to know.  We are scared what would happen if they found out.   We are ashamed and we feel guilty.  We are afraid everyone would abandon us if they found out. I am here to banish this kind of thinking.  Secrecy causes more suffering.  I speak from experience. 

I went ten years without anyone knowing about my eating disorder.  Ten years!   Can you imagine how many lies I told to the people that I loved?  How many times I abandoned plans with people so that I could retreat into the cave of numbing myself with food?  How many snack wrappers I hid in the trashcan so no one would know how much I was eating?  My heart hurts remembering  all of the effort I would go through to hide what I was doing, even though I desperately wanted help. 

Ok, great, no more secrecy.  But how do we actually make the transition away from secrecy?  My antidote is connection.  Once I found a coach who really understood me, I was able to really talk about what was happening.  I grew a little more comfortable with my reality of having an eating disorder.  I started to tell people around me.  

The compounding suffering that I experienced because no one knew I was in so much pain was infinitely more painful than the process of stepping out and speaking my truth.  I have been amazed in my own journey about how compassionate, loving and non-judging people were when I told them about my eating disorder. 

Now I know that the moment that I want to hide is probably the perfect moment to reach out.  When I feel the snowball of a possible binge building, I know that finding someone to be with really helps.  We don’t even need to talk about what ever is going on.  Connection is often enough. 

My relationships have gotten infinitely better.  Now that I am not hiding anymore, I am actually able to connect, have deep friendships, and an incredibly powerful romantic relationship. Connection is simultaneously the antidote and the reward to coming out of hiding. 

A Few Suggestions for More Connection: 

-Get involved in something you love. Meetup.com is great to find local activities.  This is great first step because you don’t have to expose what is happening, you can just go straight to the activities that support you, while connecting with others.  Most cities have hundreds of Meetups happening all of the time.  

By Stella Dauer

By Stella Dauer

-Find an animal to pet.  Seriously, physical touch is so important and animals don’t care about what is going on in your life.  Start creating more connection with other living beings!

-Explore support groups, either in person or online- Facebook can be great for this.  Dip your toe into this relatively anonymous pool.  You might be amazed at how freeing it is to tell a group of people what you have been hiding, even if you don’t know them.  

-Find a professional who understands what you are going through, and stick around long enough to be courageous and tell them what’s happening.