This is my first post in over 2 weeks – a fact that I am all too aware of and it’s been playing on my mind. I know I can blame my absence on reasons such as working a lot and making extra time for my family and friends, but deep down I knew I was avoiding what I felt I should be doing. It wouldn’t have been that difficult to set aside some time to sit down and address the thoughts inside my head, hence why I felt guilty because I hadn’t done so until now.
Instead of trying to focus on a topic such as the relationship between body image and the media or cases of alcohol abuse and E.D – things that have been on my mind and I will write about in the near future, honest! – I just couldn’t seem to drum up the motivation to do so. Therefore I’ve made the decision to examine why this avoidance and guilt has been at the forefront of my mind and if anything can be learned from it.
First off, 2 weeks ago I put a link to my blog on Facebook. It may not sound like much in a sentence but trust me I was shit scared of doing it. And contrary to what I hoped would happen in order to make it all worthwhile, I didn’t feel a wondrous sense of relief or a sensation of overwhelming empowerment once I clicked the share button. Even when I received only positive, supportive and truly lovely messages from the people I know, I couldn’t fully believe or absorb them. Instead I felt sick. Even the next day after a night’s sleep (because sleep is the magic cure for all ailments that puts everything in perspective) I still felt down, a bit paranoid, a bit anxious, a bit sick. Maybe that’s because what I experienced wasn’t the most peaceful of sleeps as I was dreaming about Hannibal Lecter snapping his newly acquired vampire teeth in my face (wonder what psychoanalysis has to say about that), however I was hoping to feel more confident in my decision making overnight and it didn’t happen. Therefore I was questioning what I was doing and everyone knows that once you say it, you can’t take it back. So now I was stuck, I couldn’t ever take it back.
Finally admitting publicly that I have suffered with the mental illness of eating disorders was like coming out to me. Believe it or not but I am naturally a very private person and I have always found it difficult to be open about how I feel – a skill I feel I am always working on and becoming much better at and the past 2 weeks has been a great learning experience.
The day after I went public with my blog, I wanted to take it all back. However I talked to a dear friend the same day and afterwards I felt slightly better. The next day I felt little less anxious, the following day a little more, and every day since, I have gradually come to terms with my honesty to point that now I am completely comfortable with my choice.
Not only that but, slowly, I did feel relief and I did feel empowered. So much that I was even worried if I would even continue with my blog: A cloud had lifted from my shoulders and the very thing that had been holding me back felt tiny and stripped of its power. With this new found feeling, I wanted to embrace and enjoy it instead of enduring the process of divulging back into the past and drudging up memories of bad experiences and reliving them in order to write about them here.
Of course, I am not going to abandon my blog and a subject that is very important to me, but it’s made me aware of my approach and the manner in which I deliver my thinking. I don’t want it to be too heavy and depressing, people with eating disorders and mental illnesses deal with that enough already. Plus I am in a much more positive frame of mind now and I want to keep it that way. Although I will be discussing issues that will be difficult to address, I want there to be positivity and humour underpinning everything I have to say – because that is who I am in real life. My identity isn’t purely labelled someone with distorted body image and eating issues.
So today I want to sign off with this. I now perceive these last 2 weeks as lesson in recovery for anyone, no matter what their problem may be. The first time you’re brave enough to be open and honest about what you’re going through, it will be scary, it will be unsettling but please don’t despair if you don’t magically feel immediately better or if the problem hasn’t gone away. Give it a day, then give it another day, and another and another and gradually you will adjust to the big step you just took. Your mind will adapt to this new circumstance that what you’ve been harbouring for so long is no longer a secret, and the fears in your head of what other people will say and think will reduce to the point that hopefully you will not care, because a huge weight has been lifted from you. And keep talking about it to the ones you trust. I almost always find that once I say my fears aloud, they never seem as daunting as they once were. Be honest, but be patient because once the fear of admittance has passed, the good stuff will kick in.
And if you dream about Hannibal Lecter then please tell him from me to go get his teeth fixed.