One of the hardest things about having an ED is the lies you tell your family, your friends, coworkers/fellow students, medical professionals, and of course, yourself. I’m just at the point where I’m telling a few close friends – and I think this is hilarious, given I’ve had ED with me in some form or another for almost 30 years. Each lie is different. With friends, it’s pretty easy. “I have a sensitive stomach,” or “I have food allergies,” or everyone’s favorite, “I just ate.” Coworkers don’t really care unless they’re nosy, in which case I’m not going to tell them anyway because they probably gossip. Doctors are tricky. For years I haven’t told most of my medical providers, in part because some members of my family see the same docs (e.g. my MIL, husband, and I all see the same dentist). While I’m fairly confident the doc wouldn’t betray my trust, I have zero confidence in the people who staff the office. One little slip and I’d pay for it forever.
I’m sort of honest with my husband. He wouldn’t tell a soul, but he doesn’t really understand it. Plus whenever I mention something I feel a. weak, b. pathetic, and c. a burden. Yes, he’s a good man, he loves me and we did the whole “sickness and health” thing in our vows over 15 years ago. But I was a strong, independent woman when he met me (mostly because I’m a pretty phenomenal liar), and I hate the thought of his seeing me as weak.
I’ve been having food panic attacks, where either I’m freaked because I weigh too much or I’m freaked because I can’t think of anything safe to eat. I’m working on it with D and T, but today, DH had an early meeting. I got the kids on the bus and I was trying to get out the door to work (late) when he called. I debated not answering the phone. He could tell something was upsetting me when I spoke, and I tried to dismiss it as just “feeling unwell.” But then I broke down and told him how upset I was because the scale was really high today – over 8 pounds over MY ideal weight and 6 pounds over the weight that I think is entirely reasonable. And when I explained this to him (in a panicky ED’y kind of way), he said a. I look great and b. losing 6 pounds would make me look gaunt. Which is not true in the least, because when I was at the reasonable weight, he thought I looked great.
The point is not what I said or didn’t say, but that I let a little of my crazy ED thinking out. Just a little. And I could tell he was freaking out a little. In a way, his response made me feel better – he should know the kind of crazy I battle with on a daily basis. But in a larger way I was humiliated because I felt so stupid and useless.
I’m trying to be open and honest with him but when he doesn’t get it, it’s difficult. When EDs try to open up, I think that for many of us, it seems either dangerous or pointless. Dangerous because either someone could overreact and we’d find ourselves in a hospital (which is one of my greatest fears) or dangerous because someone could blab to the wrong person who would use our ED as a weapon against us (and no, I’m not paranoid – I know people like that and am related to several). Telling could also be pointless because they just DON’T GET IT. ED is completely illogical, I know. And I’m an entirely rational person! But when you have this voice screaming at you on a daily basis, it’s hard to keep your wits about you.
It is easier to lie than tell the truth, but when we can trust someone, and when we can tell them who we really are, life is much more bearable. This morning made me uncomfortable, but now there’s a part of me that is a little relieved that I can let the crazy out (just a tad) and be ok. I’m trying hard to remember that, because keeping it all a secret is so much more alluring right now.