Keeping recovery a secret · an ED diary entry

Hiding recovery from my closest friend.

When I told a few friends I had entered recovery for an eating disorder, I began to feel better immediately. I told them we never had to discuss the matter again – that I was letting them know simply because I could not go on leading a double life anymore. My double life had exhausted me to the point of near collapse. Knowing my secret was out in the open, I could start to make amends with food in a healthy, honest way.

Then I went home for a week. University had been rough and I needed the time out, especially because my feelings were turbulent and I was getting no work done anyway. I told my mum everything. I cried. I cried some more. I felt so ashamed to admit it; a cruel part of me saw myself as a failure. But I felt relieved to get it off my chest.

Three weeks later, and I’m home for the holidays. My sister is home, too. Here’s the problem: I still haven’t told her I am in anorexia recovery. She has no idea; I’ve hidden the disorder from her for months with baggy clothing and made-up excuses. We’re both University students and we both have exams next term. Our mother is out at work most of the time during the day so we revise in the kitchen together.

At the moment, I don’t know whether or not to tell her about the eating disorder. I don’t want to distract her or make her sad. She worries a lot about our family – she hates when anyone has something as small as a headache and gets worked up that our symptoms might be related to something much worse. She worries that members of the family are ill and hiding it from her.

She’s also a chronic symptom-Googler, which on many occasions has led her to believe that she might be dying, when really it’s just a common cold. She knows she’s a hypochondriac. But anxiety is a bizarre, irrational thing, so I can’t blame her.

Most of the time I’m fine. I’m eating well and gaining weight, which is great physical progress, but every now and again a wave of anxiety hits me and I have terrible panic attacks. I shut myself away in my bedroom when this happens, but my fear is my sister will be around to witness a future panic attack and I will be forced to explain everything to her.

I want to tell her. In fact, I need to. I owe it to my sister to be honest with her, and there’s a chance if she finds out some other way then she’ll go on to believe I’m hiding all sorts of other health problems from her.

But what if I do tell her and she googles anorexia and reads all sorts of horrible things? Even I have been terrified reading things about anorexia online. I don’t want to put her under any duress or give her sadness – especially as exams are only around the corner.

For now I won’t tell her. For now I will carry on, hoping each day that I can wear a smile on my face. I’m not sure this is sustainable, though. I’m home for over a week and my weight is bound to increase dramatically in that time. I predict I’ll have several breakdowns and it’s hard hiding them.

Yet again, I’m leading a double life, and it’s still tiring.

5 comments

  1. While I agree you should tell your sister, maybe you could control the info she gets about it. Instead of letting her google it, you could write her something that includes what you feel she needs to know about it. Also, be honest with her that you worry about how she will take it and what it might lead to. Hopefully it will encourage her not to act the way you think she will. The focus when it comes to your recovery should be you, and perhaps she will realize that, too. I wish you the best of luck with your recovery and progress. One day at a time, and deep breaths when you need them. *hugs*

    Like

    1. Hi, thanks for the comment! I agree with you completely – I think if I tell her in person, I can reassure her that I’m doing just fine. But I hadn’t thought of writing it out. That’s a really brilliant idea. Even drafting a letter might help me figure out ways to approach telling her. I really appreciate the advice and the lovely message!! Best wishes and hugs :)xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem! I write stuff down when I want to talk about certain things to make sure I’ve covered everything. I figured it might be of use to you and I hope it helps! Fingers crossed for you. 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

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