It’s hard to ask for help when you don’t realize you need it.

With it being National Eating Disorder Awareness week, I wanted to talk about some of the struggles and victories I’ve had getting the help I need, and encourage others who struggle to do the same. Yesterday my mom made spaghetti for dinner. A couple of weeks ago it wouldn’t have phased me and I would have eaten a normal portion without thinking twice. This past week or so I’ve been noticing myself skimping on meals and snacks again thinking it was no big deal. Well, with being in recovery from an eating disorder that’s a different story. You see, that’s how I know I’m at the beginning of a lapse, which could very quickly turn into a relapse if I’m not careful. A lapse could be a slip up in behaviors while realizing it and doing what you can to get back on track versus a relapse which can entail being in denial and dishonest about your behaviors to yourself, your loved ones, and/or your treatment team. I don’t want to go back down that path again. It’s not fair to me and it’s not fair to my family and friends. When things in my life are challenging or if things change in the slightest I get so overwhelmed that restricting my food intake or purging whatever food I’ve consumed seems to be the best way for me to deal with it. Those behaviors instantly take my mind off of whatever is going on around me and bring me inward so I don’t have to mentally deal with the hard stuff. Realizing that I do this I am finally learning how to ask for help when I need it most. Like now for example. So last night while having dinner I subtly sent my mom a text asking her to make sure I finished my meal and to make me stay with the family for awhile so I wasn’t tempted to use behaviors. In doing this it not only helped me realize how sneaky and manipulative the eating disorder can be, but also how strong I can be in fighting against it. Because reaching out when you are struggling is HARD. I do have choices in my actions, though it may not feel like it. A lot of times the urges to use those eating disorder behaviors take over and I feel such a loss of control. I haven’t always been able to ask for help though. Up until recently, and still some days now, I don’t realize that I have a problem or that things are starting to get out of hand again. Or I’d just rather not say anything because it’s embarrassing and gross and shameful. When you don’t or can’t admit to needing help, how is anyone supposed to be there for you? My mom reminded me of that last night. I can’t expect her or anyone else to always know what to do and how to be there for me. I have to speak up for myself and only then can I really let anyone in. That’s the most difficult thing to me about having an eating disorder and getting the help you need. It’s an internal battle where it literally feels like there’s an angel and devil fighting on each of your shoulders trying to persuade you in different directions. It’s constant back and forth on knowing what you’re supposed to do, and resisting the urges to not act in a negative way. Being open and honest and vulnerable to yourself and others is key in recovery. Don’t be afraid to reach out. We all deserve so much more than this.

With much love,

Haley

It’s hard to ask for help when you don’t realize you need it.

Let’s start this blog thing out on a ‘strong note’ to say the least.

I know this is my first post, but I’d rather not lollygag around. I have been struggling with an eating disorder for far too long now. The only memories that stick out to me from high school involve the disorder 100%. When I think back on high school, it’s not the classes, tests, sports, games, dances, vacations, sleep overs, etc. (you get the point) that I remember. It was the number on the scale, where and when I was going to eat next, throw up next, work out next. This has been the majority of my life for the past several years. Friends and family alike will never fully understand, and I would never expect them to because I myself don’t ‘get it’ more often than not. The reason behind me writing this post and making this blog is to shed some light and hopefully some understanding into the struggle I, and many others face on a day to day basis. Most people I come in contact with have told me they would never in a million years realize that behind my smile and bubbly personality, could be something hidden so dark. I believe that’s probably one of the hardest things for anyone to understand. “But you look so happy!” is something I hear far too often. Yes, I am generally a happy person, but that is my go-to ‘mask’ as I have come to learn. When I come home for the day, that mask comes off. This eating disorder is not something I want. If I could just stop, I would. But I can’t. I can’t ‘just’ stop doing something that is so deeply ingrained into my mind. There have been really good periods of time where I had done well, but that’s not to say the mentality and negative self-talk weren’t still there. It’s a process. There’s so much that I could be doing instead of wasting time being enveloped in my mind and behaviors. I wake up and the first thing on my mind is “Am I going to eat today, and if so, what?”. If I choose to eat I already know before hand that I’m going to have to make myself vomit. And before anyone starts to think that this is a vanity thing, that is the farthest from accurate. The most current reason(s) behind my eating issues have been stomach issues along with too much stress. When I am so focused on the disorder, I don’t have time or energy to think of anything else. It’s like my sick attempt to escape reality, and in consequence I have lost everything to it. Most of my friendships have dwindled, it has caused so much tension in my family, and any dreams or goals I had hoped to accomplish have been put on standstill. I had to leave my first year of college to get help, and have yet to go back. I am not looking for sympathy by writing this. I am merely trying to give a little more understanding. This is just a glimpse into what it’s like to have an eating disorder. This is my story. Let’s end mental health stigmas together.

-Haley

Let’s start this blog thing out on a ‘strong note’ to say the least.