I’ve been thinking for a while now, how and whether to write this post. I’m still not fully “open” type ‘open’ if you know what I mean when it comes to eating stuff and I fear every time I write about it whether it may be picked up by someone who will then scrutinise my every movement around food choices.
However! I need to have a little faith in humanity, especially the select few in my special network I do speak so highly of. I know speaking about difficult things also helps others too.
Okay. So. It was my birthday on the weekend. In how many languages does birthday = cake? Exactly. It’s just the known thing. It’s also a known thing that I like chocolate. What do people do on people’s birthdays? Buy them a gift they like? Correct.
Now for a person without an eating problem this will feel like a nice indulgent time of year. “Oh go on then, it is my/your/his/her birthday/graduation/wedding…” etc, etc.
For the person with a problem it’s, “here we go again…”
The hard thing about me in particular is that I’m not that open about it. Only to a select few. So I really don’t expect certain family members for example to get the memo. Perhaps I don’t even want them to have the memo. Although deep down, I wish they had the memo…this is one of the many joys of living with these problems without being open. (I’m trying, it’s blooming hard with self-stigma and fear of it). For regular readers and people who know me more personally, you know just how open I am about my A & D (anxiety and depression). About Suicide and Grief – other just as important painful things. This, however, is going to be a slightly longer and different journey with more hurdles. Unfortunatley where I often feel I’m at with it means the hurdles = more guilt, more shame, more embarrassment. What a lovely recipe of feelings…
How can people help? For me, if you do know and you’re close to me – reach out and have a proper conversation. I could also do this too, I’m not putting all the responsibility on someone else but hey, take a look at those glorious other emotions I’m dealing with here (above, just written)…help a girl out. See how you can help. How you can help practically, perhaps having conversations with others. Raising general awareness.
For the love of God please consult me first if you do this. The last thing anyone needs is some nasty surprise and someone thinking they’re being helpful and you not knowing they knew…again, revisit the emotions and feelings people often struggling with these problems are going through.
Another hard thing with me (how do I even have a network!?) is that unlike many stereotypical ideals of people with these kinds of problems, I actually LOVE food. I feel like I should take it out of caps lock but it’s true. I have an (outward looking) healthy living relationship with it, often using my tall, curvy frame (and up until bad bouts now – higher metabolism and regular exercise) as a technically true excuse for the odd portion size. What people might not know though, is the internal relationship and thought processes around it = not healthy.
With the knowledge that most people know I, ‘love food’, it might make sense sometimes to buy it or bake it. Again, especially around occasions (talking chocolate in particular here for example, for my birthday). If some people did this, it would bring me a small amount of joy that I have some nice chocolate in the house. Hey, I think I even posted a pic of some proper posh chocs that I absolutely love online saying something like “I’d love you forever if you buy me this” or something rather. Admittedly, a bit silly of me (but I’m trying to appear ‘normal’ and have a *WTF is?!* ‘normal’ relationship with food and enjoy it without the mental crap attached! – that is the goal, that is the dream…). It’s never the case though… that only a few people will buy you chocolate. Think about it…chances are you’re not going to be the only one who’s bringing the birthday girl/person a tasty treat. For me personally, the safest bet is to let me decide or let you know (or without declaration, just let me try and be me) that I am safe eating whatever I’m eating without judgement.
I’ve spent the days since my birthday in a head / heart frenzy of, “oh, but I guess it was my birthday” nom nom nom, to “yeah, but remember your eating problems” pain pain pain, to, “why can’t I be normal?” to…you get the gist.
Day to day with eating problems isn’t easy at the best of times. Although intentions are good, it you’re in the know, please take extra time and caution when making the decisions to buy these things. Hey, even ask me (or others depending on your relationships) out right. I might be struggling before you’ve decided to buy even more ‘goodies’ and fretting over my body and how it appears to others. If I need to learn to be more open, close friends/family need to, too. We’ll take these steps together and ‘be brave’ or anti stigma campaigns would call it – be normal. Like any relationship, it takes 2 to tango 💃🏼 💃🏽
I realise how complex and uneasy it must be to take these things on board and therefore I’m sure you can see why I applaud my network for still being my network. I feel like there should be a Network Navigation Support Team!
On that note, have a happy weekend!
An abundance of love as always,