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?