Today's guest post is from Melissa, who is in her late 20's, and has decided to use blogging as a way to help her and others in her journey to heal from disordered eating. Back in December of 2007, I linked to Melissa about her story of the changes her body went through after going off the pill which indeed included weight issues.
Her blog, Tales of a Disordered Eater, is one month old, so she is in the very beginning of her blogging journey. I wanted to feature her blog because Melissa is a good example of how to use blogging to start coming out about healing from an eating disorder. What I think is very healthy is not only is Melissa honest about her feelings and struggles, but she also shares some of the great moments in her life like this post, "On Top of the World," about her trip to Peru and hiking in Machu Picchu. The picture of her on the mountain is magnificent.
In this guest post, Melissa shares how she first came out to her family and friends about her eating disorder and why she is blogging about it, and how coming out to them has made her feel.
"Dropping the bomb"
I guess I was naïve, in that I didn’t think I was really
hiding the shameful secret of being a disordered
eater from my friends and family. I figured everyone “knew,” more or less.
I assumed that even if they didn’t know the severity of my
condition, everyone—friends, family and my husband—had given me every
indication that they knew my eating/exercise habits weren’t exactly “normal”.
Sometimes it was the teasing roll of the eyes when I’d order
at restaurants like Sally in “When Harry Met Sally.” (i.e., sauce on the side,
no dressing, no bun, dry toast)
Sometimes it was the groan when they found out I had gone
running hours before they had woken up on vacation. (“Can’t you take a day off?”)
Sometimes it was the urging to share something because “You
can have a piece!”
Whatever the case, it wasn’t until June when I began
blogging about my disordered eating behaviors that I truly came
I was so sick of living behind a shroud and decided that the
only way to really start to heal would be through the power of my own written
word. I also wanted to create a dialogue with other women who might be
experiencing something similar—other women like me who had lost weight and
suddenly found themselves engaging in disordered eating behaviors.
My husband and a few Weight Watchers friends knew about the exercise
addiction, the midnight
incidents and the semi-purging. I think that was the most shocking part for
my family to read. Though we live in four different states, we’re incredibly
On the outside, they saw me as Melissa, their daughter and
sister. Since losing weight and keeping most of it off four years ago, I was
just a thinner version of my old self: just now a healthy, 5’5 (and a ½!) woman
now with a pretty muscular size 6, curvy figure.
But underneath the surface, I was a mess—doing terrible
things to my body that I was ashamed of.
For them, my behaviors that they could see were typical of
my Type-A, perfectionist personality: fastidious journaling, obsessively
exercising, and measuring my food, to name a few.
Since they didn’t live with me anymore, my family didn’t see
the garbage can filled with chewed-and-spit-up food, like my poor husband did.
They didn’t see me waking at 2 a.m. and bee-lining for the
fridge, like my unsuspecting roommates back in D.C. did.
I didn’t want them, or my close friends who I though “knew-but-didn’t-know”
to see the blog without some warning (or, worse, to hide that fact that I was
blogging about something I hadn’t even told them about).
So I wrote individual e-mails to share the news. I simply
couldn’t vocalize it over the phone to my family, and now that I live in Michigan, I am far away
from my college and high school friends and so I couldn’t do it in person.
The support was overwhelming, and everyone—friends and
family alike—really seemed surprised that it had been this extreme. Many of
them have been keeping up with the blog, but my brother and sister, for example,
prefer to talk to me about it rather than read about it. For them, it’s like
reading their sister’s diary and I completely understand and respect that
But the truth is, even though in many ways I dropped a bomb
on everyone else, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders the moment I
I haven’t had a perfect month by any means, but I am not
striving for perfection: just ongoing improvement. And simply having a place to
open up has been paying dividends.
Moreover, so many women—including friends as well as women I
don’t know—have come forth sharing their experiences and relating to this otherwise
shameful, hidden condition.
Now that I’m “out there” in the blogosphere, and garnering a
loyal audience of women, many struggling with similar experiences (or who have
overcome their disordered behaviors and have wonderful advice to share) the
next step in my journey will likely be therapy. Though they know writing has
always been therapeutic for me, both my mom and sister have been big proponents
of counseling to help me through this, and I think in the coming weeks it is
something I will be exploring in private.
Blogging is definitely not something I would have considered
doing even a year ago; I mean, who would want to read about me and my issues?!
But the truth is, so many women have been thanking me for my courage in opening
up, and they’ve been creating a living, breathing dialogue on my blog.
I don’t know where this blogging journey will take me, but I
do know so far since “coming out” I’ve felt calmer, saner, and more in control.
Writing about my experiences—past and present—has empowered me and given me the
confidence I need to tackle this, hopefully once and for all.
And if I slip and fall, there’s genuine comfort in knowing
it’ll be into the arms of my husband, family and friends who love me
unconditionally and will stand by me, no matter what.
Really, what more could a girl ask for?