Often people who battle eating disorders, and mental health problems generally, experience a kind of silence in terms of the restrictions that illness or other people place upon their ability to share about their struggles. What does silence mean to you? Can you think of a time in your life when silence has been a negative force? How did that feel? How did you change it? If you haven’t changed it in some ways – what do you think you need to break that silence? How did others reinforce that silence? How could others have helped you to break that silence?
At first I was silent because I wanted to be. It was my dirty little secret, my life, my shame, my control, my drug, no one else needed to know. The thing with mental illness is you cant see it. Its not like now after my operation that its obvious; I use a crutch. People I know feel comfortable with asking what has happened, and I feel comfortable with telling them.
I was ashamed to talk about my eating disorder, even with the professionals that were trying to help me. Its not like they hadn't heard it before but still, quite often the words wouldn't come out. I was scared of being judged, of shocking people and I was ashamed. Because of this at times I wasn't truthful with those around me and this probably slowed down my recovery process. It wasn't until I had accepted parts of myself as a person that I could be honest and speak out.
I was silent about what was troubling me. I was silent about the things going on in my head, the way I was feeling about myself and others. I was silent because when I spoke out I was called jealous and paranoid.
I was silent at night when I cried into the pillow, I was silent when I was throwing up, I was silent when I wanted to end it all........
The gradual acceptance of myself and the forgiveness of others broke the silence and the ability of those I loved to listen and hear what I was saying.
February 2012 was eating disorders awareness week-breaking the silence.
This is what I wrote then for those that haven't read it before.