If you have ever struggled with a health issue (or any other issue for that matter), you probably know that it is very hard to admit that you have a problem. I mean, no one wants to look 'weak' or 'powerless' in front of others. So, it is simply easier to deny that there is anything wrong. However, this backfires when you fall deeper and deeper into the problem, as it soon becomes harder to get help or to get better.
Anorexics usually struggle with this. I did too. It is very hard to see that you have a problem. Now that I am better, I can reflect back on my experiences and see just how sick I was. But deep into ED, I could not see that I was dying. I mean, I knew I had a problem...but it did not seem as serious as everyone said it was.
There is actually research that anorexics do not see themselves the same way that others do. The visual cortex is anorexics seems to be less active when looking at themselves versus when they look at others. I encourage you to visit http://www.drsarahravin.com/web/pdf/AN-Guisinger-article.pdf to see the evidence. This article shows how the anorexic visual cortex responds when looking at her/himself, compared to when looking at others. Shocking!
What does this mean? In simple terms, it means that when I looked at myself when I was sick, I truly did not see that I was dying. Actually, in all fairness, I COULD NOT see it. My brain was not wired to see that. However, evidence shows that as victims recover, the brain responds accordingly and it begins to see things as they really are. I suppose that is why recovery gets easier as you continue it - it is like I am training my brain all over again.
Admitting that I had a problem took a lot of bravery. I did not want everyone to say 'see, I told you so' or 'I knew it that whole time!'. But, if I wanted to get better, I had to ignore anything that ED said.
Do not say that you are ill. Do not say that you think you may need help. People will be all over you! They will tell you that they were right all along and you will never hear the end of it! People will talk about you, gossip about you, and always be on your back. You are not sick. You do not need anyone or anything.
My response? ED, the last time I listened to you, I got sick. And every other time that I decided to listen to you, you only made my life worse and more miserable. You took away everything from me - my family, my friends, my school, my health...my life. Why should I listen to you now, time and time again? I know that listening to you only makes me worse. I do not care if anyone talks about me, or claims that they always knew that I was sick. Recovery is about MY life, MY well-being, MY freedom. So, today, I am making the choice NOT to listen to you, ED, anymore.
So what? I'm ill with an eating disorder. There. I said it. And I am NOT ashamed.