Danielle’s story about living with eating disorders.
Today I’m starting off with some great news as I’m delighted to say that I am officially a blogger for the talkhealth partnership! My blog is now accessible through their website http://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/blog/category/health-conditions/eating-disorders/ as well as here at its home on tumblr. The link I’ve added at the top is a separate article I’ve written for their Your Story section on the website which may be of interest also.
I’m really excited about this for several reasons: the main one being that this will open my blog up to a wider audience (hello lovely talkhealth readers!) therefore hopefully my writing will reach more people it is relevant to. However, in addition to this, I’m also quite proud of myself. It’s not always ingrained into our culture or our personalities to congratulate ourselves when we feel we have made an achievement, but I’m beginning to realise that this is a fault in our societal system and I’m training myself to think otherwise. Self-criticism has been far too prevalent in my life until now and it’s an area which is definitely a work in progress.
Why should I downplay what I’ve accomplished and not give myself a pat on the back when I feel it’s deserved? I’ve taken brave steps to be open about myself and my life and in a rather short space of time, I’ve been reassured I’m doing the right thing by receiving interest from an organisation such as talkhealth. For me, that’s a great personal victory and I’m not afraid to say so.
The only thing that does make me anxious about this whole scenario is that achievements and accomplishments are generally shared – and the people I want most to be proud of me are my family.
I’ll let you in on something here – I haven’t directly told any of my family about my blog. I’ve never even hinted about the fact that writing about my experiences is what I want to do, nor have I ever truly said aloud and discussed with them: ‘I have suffered with eating disorders’. It’s just never happened.
Sure, they’re not stupid and they’re not blind – and trust me my mum in particular knew pretty much exactly what was going on and I know she was desperately worried about me and tried to seek help. However the point is I’ve never been fully honest with my closest relatives in the way there is full disclosure here with you my readers.
Maybe that sounds absurd, I don’t know, I can understand why someone would think it’s odd to tell the internet and strangers your deepest secrets but keep the ones you love in the dark – however I just read that sentence back and I know why it makes perfect logical reasoning to me. Telling the ones you love is the scariest, most daunting part of all. At least in my head anyway.
I don’t want to them to be upset, I don’t want them to worry, I don’t want them to feel at fault, I don’t want them to be disappointed, I just don’t want it to be an issue at all – and I certainly don’t want them to think I’m crazy or making a mistake talking about my life publicly like this.
But being featured on a website is an achievement – just like similar events in the past such as getting an audition or coming off stage. There’s a sense of award and I want to run to my parents to say ‘Look! Look what I did!’
The crux is though, that vocalising my true personal feelings has never been my strong point. I don’t know what it is, I’ve always found it extremely difficult to say aloud what’s going on inside my head. The heart pounding, anxiety inducing prospect of saying what’s troubling me was always too much to bear therefore the immediate way to reduce that stress was to internalise everything.
Ahhhh, see that’s much better: No difficult conversations, no vulnerability and I’m safe in my own head space. Excellent.
Writing on the other hand, that’s a whole different ball game. I can articulate how I feel much more accurately if there’s pen in my hand or a keyboard under my fingertips. It’s safer, I won’t become flummoxed by my emotions or lose the inability to speak like a normal human being and shut down. This is how I express myself best and it’s therapy for me too. I am comfortable with this.
However I also understand that they may be hurt by the fact I haven’t told them until now. Surely the people who love me have an entitlement to know all this information about my life before anyone else. Would they be offended or angry I have kept all this from them?
See, there I go, beginning to criticise and paint myself as the bad guy. That’s no help to no one – especially me – and certainly not going to make the process of being honest with my family any easier. Hmmm I just read that sentence back as well. Sounds like I’m considering having that hard conversation with them in the future…
Hey, maybe they already know about it, maybe they’ve seen me post the links to my blog on my facebook account or somehow someone else other than me has mentioned it to them. Perhaps they know of its existence and are just waiting to see how long it takes me for me to actually address it personally. Either way I think it’s going to happen soon. I shall keep you posted.