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  • This topic has 12 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by Profile PhotoRed4.
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    Lili101
    Participant
    Hi! So not too much has been posted in this forum but thought I would start something off anyway..
    I’ve been dealing with an eating disorder (mainly bulimia) for the past couple years and currently I’m in therapy and tG its going really well.. finally beginning to see some end in sight..
    In terms of my eating disorder, from an outsiders perspective you wouldn’t know that I am dealing with this, which in one way is a huge bracha but also makes getting the right help and family on board a lot harder. Besides for a close friend, a rabbi from my seminary and my therapist, nobody else knows about my eating disorder as I maintain  a healthy appearance both mentally, physically and socially I have a lot of friends and good social life.
    I was wondering if theres anyone else out there who has kept it for quiet for a long time too and how is/was that for you? also I’m in the whole shidduch phase and in terms of having to bring it up when things get serious really scares me. At the moment ive not been nearly close to getting engaged to anyone and things haven’t gotten to such a serious place with the boys ive dated, but ill be honest, I don’t think I would be able to talk about it which brings an aspect of guilt and deceit, has anyone else had to deal with this and how did you go about it all?
    any info, comments or insights would be appreciated!
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    Red4
    Participant

    Hi! So I went with anorexia rather than bulimia, but I think the situation still stands. I started as a teen and effectively hid my own problems by helping others with theirs. It wasn’t until I literally collapsed that others starting acknowledging that perhaps is more than just “losing weight” and “exercising too much.” Even after that, I was pretty much left to fend for myself. It’s been nearly ten years, and I struggle with this on and off. A sober alcoholic is still an alcoholic, and even when I find myself in a good place, I always know that my problem can resurface. That being said, I have accepted it for what it is, and I do my best not to let it define me. I am in shidduchim as well, and I have brought it up on dates. The reactions have varied, I believe in response to how I spoke of it. If it’s brought up as a matter of fact during a possibly relevant conversation, (although I wouldn’t advise to do so on an earlier date), it can be accepted at face value. Like I said, it doesn’t have to define you.

    I have also reached the point in my life where I want to talk about it; if I share my story then I can help prevent others from having to go through it as well. I don’t hide it, and I use the opportunity to teach people when I can. Hearing it from the mouth of someone who has experienced this can have a more powerful impact than from someone who has studied it or observed it second-hand.

    Lastly, whether or not you bring it up is your choice. Don’t let anybody guilt you into doing something you don’t want to, even yourself. When the time comes to make this decision, and iyh it will, if you are still unsure of what to do, you can always ask. You aren’t alone and there are people who are more than capable of advising you. Make sure you have such an objective person in your life, especially in regards to shidduchim. A teacher, a mentor, preferable someone not related to you.

    Hope some of this helps.

    P.S. Remember that nobody is perfect, and guys can have problems too. You would be surprised to see how accepting some can be.

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    alwaysworried
    Participant

    Thanks for bringing up such an important and relevant issue. I can identify with this as well and don’t think theres a right or wrong answer. I would hope that i would feel close enough to the guy I’m about to marry and build a life with to share my journey and struggles in an honest way. But i think its a personal thing and in some communities people get engaged and its understood that they each have no idea about the other’s skeletons in the closet (no pun intended). Personally, I would only share it when things were more serious and I felt like if he doesn’t know this and accept me with this then i don’t want to move forward either. As much as it would be a painful experience to be rejected at that point i would feel like I’m doing the right thing for myself. I like how @red4 said it is your choice and you shouldn’t let others convince you what to do not even your own fear or guilt. Also, you mention you have a rabbi, therapist and a friend. I think the therapist and rabbi are crucial in helping you overcome these huge milestones and they can and hopefully will guide you with this when the time comes. Hopefully they will encourage to listen to your heart and find what will make you feel safest and secure and then guide you to follow that in the best manner possible.

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    Lili101
    Participant
    Topic Author

    Wow! @red4, sounds like you’ve really been through a lot over the last several years and I can hear how you’ve really owned the disorder and going with it, and I know personally how that is not the easiest thing to do.

    Very impressed that you brought it up on dates too.. wondering if because the nature of anorexia is usually more visible for outsiders to see, whether that assisted you a little to be able to talk about it.. (just looking at my own experience.. i’m a very healthy looking weight, not too skinny and also no-where near on the overweight side –  however much I may think that I am.)

    yeah tG very lucky to have a rabbi and therapist involved in my life.. although I stand by what I said previously, my parents, siblings and many close friends have no idea which also makes it hard and feeds off the disorders need for secrecy..

     

    And yea @alwaysworried I really like your take too. Likewise, I also hope to be able to share this part of me with the person I’m going to marry however, theres also a part of me that is hoping I will have it sorted before that comes along and then I could almost say it as a past experience type.. I also realise as I’m writing this that not making a big deal out of it could be my way of denying it and almost pretending that it may not be such a crazy thing after all! (although I know it is whom I tryna kid!)

    anyways thanks for your input, this site is great!

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    alwaysworried
    Participant

    I love how insightful you are. Yea i can see how not wanting to share it only when it’s way in your past is a way of denying the experience on some level. Not wanting to accept your whole self. Like i’m sure you’re more mature and worked thru on many levels because of what you’ve been thru and what you continue to go thru in recovery and I wonder how yo would explain your growth to your future husband if you leave out this integral part of your journey. Sounds like you have a healthy intellectual body image because you recognize that your not too thin but also not overweight despite the eating disorders voice of manipulation. Good for you for trying not to buy into it. Also, want to point out that it is a big deal on some level but NOT a crazy thing. It’s very difficult in todays day in age to not have some self destructive coping skill to try to with all of our pressures and extreme anxiety, eating disorders, old, addictions, are all ways people like us try to feel better for lack of a better way until we find our way out/through a healthier way. Recognize the significance, give yourself time and patience, and never ever give into the “crazy” feeling that you are somehow less normal than others who suffer and struggle differently. Love this space too!

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    Red4
    Participant

    @Lili101 “the nature of anorexia is usually more visible for outsiders to see”

    Actually, I am quite short, so even though I lost a lot of weight and was living on 200-500 calories a day, if that, I never reached “skin and bones” proportions. I have actually had people tell me “you aren’t/weren’t anorexic; you aren’t/weren’t skinny enough”. Exactly what someone with an eating disorder needs to hear, right?

    In terms of dealing with it, I have never gone to therapy, which I think would be a lot more helpful. I know that I’ve reached the stage of acceptance, but I worry that it may just be on the surface. In that case you are a step ahead of me. Kudos.

    You may never feel comfortable talking about it, but hopefully the day will come when you can do so regardless. Maybe practice telling some close friends first. Be prepared for some ignorance, but there will also be a lot of love if you have good friends. Some of mine have even prevented me from spiraling a few times. I promise you, it can get easier over time.

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    Lili101
    Participant
    Topic Author

    Hi, I really hope I didn’t brush off the seriousness of what you went/are going through and I’m sorry if any hurt was caused to you by that comment.. p.s also being on the shorter side at 5″1,  I’m only able to maintain a lower weight because I severely restrict calories (which I know inevitably leads me to binge/p) and I still don’t look underweight or malnourished…

    in terms of therapy.. yeah tG finally found someone who I feel understands where I’m at with it all and is really helping me work through things and try understand more about myself ect..

    I know you mentioned that you’ve never been in therapy, was that a route you ever wanted to go down? Would you consider it?

    I’m only asking this not too be nosey or pry, just I’ve been through a couple of therapists in the past, (all which ive paid for and found the money myself which really hasn’t been easy, but putting that aspect aside), now that  I have found one who I actually feel that I have a therapeutic relationship with and someone whom I feel comfortable in sharing this super vulnerable side to me.

    Reading your comment “but I worry that it may just be on the surface” shows me youre real and intouch with where youre holding. I’m not sure whether this is helpful at all, but I can only now see, how important it is to have someone on board, actively helping and working through this eating disorder to help develop healthier habits, coping mechanisms whilst also connecting some dots from past experiences  to try underlie where its stemming from without putting blame on specific childhood memories, school systems or family members – which is something I was very much not into doing.

     

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    Red4
    Participant

    Don’t worry, I wasn’t at all offended, I just wanted to clarify. I definitely don’t look it now. It actually came up once because the guy asked me if I was hungry. In hindsight, I definitely sprung it on him then, which was not the way to go :).

    I definitely advocate for therapy (I’m actually going for a degree in psychology). I know the reasons I haven’t yet gone, and one is the process of finding a therapist whose methods agree with mine. I’ll get there one day iyh. In the meantime I do my best to try to figure out the source of my problems without diagnosing myself or others with every disorder in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)

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    Lili101
    Participant
    Topic Author

    @alwaysworried Likewise! You too are also really insightful, really like reply!

    Youre totally right and I agree with you 100% that this is an integral part of my journey and i only hope when the time comes iyh i will have enough emotional stability and backing to be able to share this part of myself too!

    Thanks for pointing out to try and “recognize the significance, give yourself time and patience, and never ever give into the “crazy” feeling that you are somehow less normal than others who suffer and struggle differently.” So true, most people have something going on for them, i guess its how we deal with it that shows our ultimate strength and inner growth.

    And yea in terms of how i view my body, i know ultimately not fat or overweight but that doesnt stop me wanting to persue a body which may involve unhealthy stuff to get there..

    I just daven that we all find our way through this in the end! @alwaysworried @Red4

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    alwaysworried
    Participant

    Totally agree with both of you. So important to find the right fit therapist in terms of relationship, as without that not much can be done. I’m happy @red4 its on your agenda and good for you for going for psychology. It’s a great way to continue healing and ultimately healing others.

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    OnAndonAnon
    Participant

    Thanks for the vulnerability shared here!

    Anything that you share with your future life partner is obviously up to you. But I would hope for you (and for them) that you choose to marry someone who you are not only comfortable with to share, but excited to be transparent.

    You mentioned that secrecy is part of the disease; so wouldn’t telling your loved ones be part of living in the solution? And wouldn’t it be a travesty to yourself, your recovery and your future if you choose to keep a major part of your life and what makes you who you are today – a secret?

    And yes, there are guys who truly want to know you. ANd if they don’t, do you want them?

    I say this as a) a guy who wants to know my future wife with all her warts and flaws. I know that no one is close to perfect, so if she can’t admit to having flaws, I’d be scared. And b) a guy who has challenges and chose to be transparent with my family – despite the terrifying fear – and it only made me a better person. It also happened to create more respect for me in their eyes, but that is not always the case.

    Whatever you choose to do, I’m super grateful that you shared your truth here. And as a fellow traveler in the journey of living emotionally well, I know that you’ll do what fits for you and I’ll be happy for you!


    @fatbody
    Participant

    Hi I’ll probably go into shidduchim within the next few months. I recently recovered from an eating disorder (anorexia with bulimic tendencies). I’m afraid not to tell the guy I’ll be dating that I struggled with an ed… My family and mentor think I should be quiet about it and not let on about it until I’m married. I’m kinda torn…

    I know that when I’m married I’ll be in a happier and healthier place. Yet, I don’t know if I won’t ever relapse. I relapsed so many times in the past few years… I guess I live in fear of relapsing once again and being untruthful by dating.

    I wish I would find someone who would accept me the way I am…

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    Red4
    Participant

    In response to @fatbody's post #10622:

    Hi! It was interesting for this thread to pop up in my email as it’s been a couple of years. However, I went back and read my original response and I still stand by what I said. I’m very open about my ED (I even have an interview on FB about it), and it has helped me deal with it in more ways than one. B”h I also have a loving fiance who accepts that part of me, and his worries are more for me than about me.

    As I have said before, when the right time comes to tell someone, go for it. Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary to hide this part of you, but of course you can be discreet about it. Additionally, if you do bring it up on your own terms, you can address any of the questions that the guy has and dispel any misconceptions (there are a lot out there about ED).

    Lastly, regarding your comment:

    I know that when I’m married I’ll be in a happier and healthier place.

    There is no guarantee. Relationships, marriage, it’s all hard work. You will have so much happiness in your life, iyh, but it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and, yes, there’s a chance of relapse. This is no way to discourage you; the opposite, in fact, because you’ve been dealing with this for a while now and you’re stronger for it. So if something triggers you, you can address it head-on rather than hiding behind denial or fear.

    Ultimately, as is common, I think you are building this up in your head to be a huge obstacle even before you are actually dealing with it. Give yourself a breather and address each situation as it arises, because there’s no “one size fits all” approach for this.

    Hatzlacha!

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