A lot of recovery bloggers blog anonymously because they fear other people finding out the truth about them — and their concerns are certainly valid.
I actually was quasi-anonymous in the beginning, too. After all, the image we portray in our professional and personal lives can make or break us …
But oftentimes, especially when we’re hiding a deep, dark secret (like an ED or DE issues …) that image is not identical to what we actually see when we peel back the layers of who we truly are.
In many ways, I was living a double-life … the elusive chewing-spitting behaviors coupled with over-exercising, body-loathing, and midnight/mindless eating … and then presenting myself at work or around friends as this girl who has her stuff together … when inside, I was crumbling.
Naturally, I used to worry in the beginning about how I might be judged by others who might by chance find my blog: peers, colleagues, friends, superiors, etc. What will they think of me?! Will they lose respect for me?! Will they look at me differently?
But once I realized that owning my issue made it real and tangible to overcome (and that it’s ok to not be “perfect”) … suddenly the fear associated with “getting found out” withered away.
I adapted the “let people judge me; they’re going to anyway!” attitude.
Once I saw myself as an advocate, not a victim … things made sense for me. Suddenly, I didn’t fear adding the URL to my various social media profiles across the Web, or posting links on Facebook or Twitter; I didn’t feel ashamed e-mailing a friend an interesting article that dealt with disordered eating or recovery.
Heck, if I could help someone else by admitting I had a problem, isn’t that a way of returning support so kindly doled to me here in the blogosphere?!
After all, it’s not “wrong” to have a problem you’re actively working on; chiseling away at.
Now that I’m “out,” I guess now I figure if someone’s curious enough, hell, they can just Google “disordered eater” and there I am, ranking #1 and #2. (Mom and Dad are so proud ;))
But it’s not like at work or at dinner parties I sit there and talk about my food/body image issues. A) It doesn’t define me and B) it’s not necessary to talk about unless the subject is raised.
I might wear my heart on my sleeve, but I try not to wear my issues on my sleeve. Food and body image issues aren’t exactly water-cooler conversations … but now they carry less of a stigma for me when they arise, and I feel more educated and well-versed in these issues than I did two years ago.
Blogging has meant a lot more to me than even the genre I write under; above all else, it’s given me an outlet. And it’s presented me opportunities that I never would have imagined.
For example, had I not suffered through my challenges with food, exercise, body image … this blog wouldn’t exist, I wouldn’t have just been interviewed by Fitness magazine for a forthcoming article about over-exercising, and sure as hell wouldn’t be blogging at WeAretheRealDeal, either!
In addition to finding a support-group of like-minded women here in the blogosphere (i.e., women all around the world!), I’ve also strengthened friendships in real life as I “came clean” about my issues.
Truth be told, I found more support through blogotherapy than I did traditional therapy with Dr. G.!
Sure, that nine months of therapy helped me understand my anxious nature and taught me a lot about how and why I think the way I think … but it didn’t solve anything for me with respect to my food issues. That aspect of recovery came from blogging, and friends and family stepping in … and actively making the decision to “choose pride over guilt.”
And while my confessions might have caught some people by surprise … instead of people being turned off or freaked out about my transparency here in the blogosphere, my husband, family and friends have been welcoming and encouraging, incredibly supportive.
I think everyone deserves that kind of support. I’ve learned a lot about people by how they reacted to my confessional, and, unfortunately, I’ve learned that if someone isn’t giving you the support you need, well, you need to look elsewhere for support.
Because you’re worth it.
No one should have to struggle through recovery of any kind alone. It’s scary enough as it is without being concerned about how others will react to you or your admission of a problem.
I know not everyone feels comfortable raising their hand, but if you or a friend/loved one need help, please remember the HELP page is there for you.
Blogging/blogotherapy have been integral to my recovery process … but now I want to know about you.
How about you? What kind of support have you found in the blogosphere? Where else have you found support? Therapy? A doctor? A friend? A spouse? Was there anyone who surprised you when they didn’t step up to the plate? How did you deal?
14 thoughts on “Examining “Blogotherapy” & Support”
My friends and family don’t know that I have a weight loss blog, and I guess I would be embarrassed if they read my thoughts. I’ve always been extremely private about my battles with my food and weight, and never liked to talk about it. It took being friends with my now best friend for 3 years, before I could talk to her about my food and body issues. And even now, I don’t always tell her everything.
About 2 years ago, I sought out a Christian counselor, b/c I felt like I was at an extremely low point in my life. I’ve still been seeing her all this time, and she has helped me a lot. I’ve had to realize though, that they’re only so much “talk” you can do. You have to actually take action for anything to happen.
Lori that’s a good point about needing to take action. That’s exactly how I overcame chewing/spitting … taking action and saying “no more” and then doing it no more. Glad you have some people to talk to, though — it helps!
I have found blogs to be good and bad….blogs like yours, I find very helpful and beneficial. Not only because I think you have a healthy outlook on food and exercise (and admittedly you’re working on the things you want to change), but because you’re very honest about your struggles and fears.
I think it’s very important to have someone in your life – a significant other, best friend, sibling, etc. – to be there for support. For me, this person is my sister. She’s not only empathetic because she’s dealt with similar issues, but she’s the best listener ever. I tell her all the time…she’s my free therapist. 🙂
Thanks, TheBalancedBroad — yup, I’m a work in progress!! I’m glad you have your sister!! (And I’m glad I have mine, too!)
My family and friends don’t know about my blog. Hunni just recently found out I write one but has said he won’t look at it unless I want him to do so.
My biggest support are some close college friends and friends I’ve met through weight watchers. Most people don’t know how I struggled with my weight because I put on a happy face and pretended I liked the way I was.
My counselor is a big help but so are friends who are dealing with their own issues.
Missyrayn, my WW friends were huge supporters, as well (some of them read this blog!). I think it just depends on the person, how willing we are to “lay it all out there” or keep it hidden. For me, I’ve learned laying it all out there has gotten me further along than keeping it hidden. But I’m also an open book in many ways … so it makes sense this would be a good outlet for me. Glad toy have support!!
Amazing post. I find a lot of pressure from the blogs and also a lot of support. I try to focus on blogs like yours. I find it hard sometimes to read peoples blogs who haven;t had an ED because I wonder why I find being ‘healthy’ so hard. Other times I find reading recovered peoples blogs a bit disheartning for the same reason. I usually find alot of support from reading people who have recovered or are recovering or suffering etc quite good becuase I don’t feel as alone. It’s like 24/7 therapy just wihtout as many tissues. Just as many issues though.
Thanks, Niamh. I think it’s important to find our “niche” — I had to stop reading several blogs where the bloggers were entrenched in their EDs or weren’t able to admit they had a problem … it’s hard to read those words, ya know?
Hi Melissa, I have thoughts that disrupt my overall well-being and for the longest time, I have been struggling to “find” people to vent to or ask for support. Though, for months I’ve found support and help by simply reading blogs that I am able to relate to. They give me perspective and more positive outlooks. So, I’m so glad I found your blog! 🙂
Hi mesharon — thanks for writing and thanks for the compliment. I’m glad this is one of those that gives you perspective. Sometimes I worry my posts aren’t helpful to anyone but me!! Good to know they do, indeed, resonate.
What kind of support have you found in the blogosphere?
I’ve found good support but now I’m struggling to blog. Why? I don’t feel like i deserve support because, weight-wise, I’ve accomplished nothing since starting my journey. I’m at a stalled point because I feel like I haven’t stepped up, that i’m a failure… I don’t know. I’m just struggling. Struggling with the journey, struggling with writing. I feel stuck.
This is EXACTLY what I needed to read! I’ve been lurking on your blog for a while, because not only do you write about issues pertinent to my life, but you write well! How rare a combination is that? I was away with some old friends for the weekend and mentioned I had started blogging, and when they wanted my URL, I equivocated. I was embarrassed about sharing my issues with them. These are people who’ve seen me at my worst (remember high school?) and yet a part of me thought they’d be repulsed by what I had to say. I know sharing and opening is a big part of recovery and was intending to send them links, but reading this today kinda seals the deal. Keep being real. XOXOXOX The Deranged Housewife