Today I read a Buzzed article about Demi Lovato’s new documentary. She talked about her struggles with mental illness, including struggling with an eating disorder and what stuck out most for me was when she revealed after a breakup, she almost immediately turned to ED behaviors. I admired her courage to share that and it has inspired me to share a journal entry that I wrote after my boyfriend and I broke up.
I never revealed to anyone how badly the breakup affected me because I wanted to be a strong person. I was embarrassed and ashamed that I had let ED back in. Growing up I was always taught that I shouldn’t let anyone know how much they hurt me because that’s showing weakness. It would should that they had power over me and that was wrong. I was supposed to be stronger than that and make that person believe I was fine without them. But in reality, I wasn’t fine. I was heart broken and ED tried to creep back and make me believe that engaging in behaviors would make me feel better. I’m hoping that by sharing what I wrote back then, it will let others know that it’s ok to feel hurt. It’s not a sign of weakness to say that someone hurt you. You have every right to be sad you should never believe your feelings are invalid. I hope this helps someone.
If you ask any of my family members or friends today, they’d say I’m recovered from an eating disorder and an advocate for mental health. They’d say I’m strong and brave and a fighter. Maybe they’d say I’m admirable for sharing my struggle publicly, for putting myself out there to help those who need it, for trying to give hope to those who are fighting their own struggles. I used to pride myself in being able to say that I was recovered, that I no longer let my demons control me. I was in the driver’s seat. I controlled how my life went.
But what would they all say if I said I needed help again?
Recently, I went through a breakup. And I don’t think it was the breakup itself that caused it, but all the emotions that followed to cause the demons to come back at full force. It’s the sadness, the fear, the frustration, the awful questioning feeling “What if I’m just not good enough?” Those feelings have always fueled my eating disorder and I’m wondering if I got to the root of the problem the first time. That’s such a terrifying thought because I want nothing more than to help people. I want to instill hope and give a voice to those who feel like they don’t have one. But I’d almost feel like a hypocrite or a fraud if I continued down this destructive path while trying to help others.
My fork in the road is this: do I try to push through it? Chalk it up to the side effects of a bad breakup? Or should I be honest about the behaviors I’ve engaged in and ask for help? Deep down I know what the right answer is.
Even though I may be scared (scared is really an understatement), it doesn’t change the fact that I’m an advocate. I will always be one, because I believe that everyone deserves recovery. The ED voices within us may be strong for now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fight back and win. Maybe, just maybe, by admitting that I need help, it will inspire others to take that leap into recovery.
So to anyone who is battling an eating disorder, whether for the first time or relapsing: YES you can recover and you DESERVE to. Please don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t mean that you’re weak. It means that you’re extremely brave and strong. And even though I may need help again, I’m still so very very proud of you.