I was talking to one of my roommates over the weekend and she asked me "How do you do it alone?" It really got me thinking a lot - because I do try to do it alone. I know I shouldn't, my therapist is always trying to encourage me to reach out and let people help me. But I can't seem to do it. I am so used to just being alone with my thoughts, with my struggles. And I also think I am a lot more guarded too because in the past when I have tried to reach out - I have been hurt, and I have been embarrassed (because people don't know how to help or what to do with the crazy-making my ed brings to the table). I tend to just feel more safe(?) being alone with my thoughts and my struggles. I am not saying this is the right way, because I know it's not - I am just saying that this is the way I feel safe from the hurt, rejection, embarrassment, shame, and guilt that I have felt in the past when I have tried to open up and reach out.
Pretty much, the only people I seem to be able to fully let in are my treatment team, treatment & support groups, and the friends I have met throughout the years (and in the blog world) who also struggle with ED's. I feel like I can open up more to them because they understand and they "get it". But I realize that I need more support than this. I need support in my everyday life. I know there are people out there who love me and care about me and truly do want to help me... but I just can't seem to let myself open up. I even have a difficult time opening up with close friends and even my family. -------- And it's not them - it's me! I don't want this post to be misunderstood. I am the one with the problem here, it's not my friends and family's fault because they are amazing! It's me and my trusting incapability's. -------- : ( I can't do it. And it's frustrating because it ends up keeping me very isolated and lonely. ED's are a very lonely illness and that's why it is so important to let people in. So why can't I do it!?!?
It's tough to go out and be social with people because I am so worried about fitting in and being accepted. I worry that they will think certain behaviors I have towards food are weird, therefore, making me weird. I worry that my ED thoughts will be in my head too much and that I will have a hard time being present in the conversations. I worry about whether they will like me or not (insert here: all my self-esteem & self-confidence issues). I worry about what I am going to eat if there is food there and if I can even force myself to find something I feel comfortable eating in front of other people... Let's just say... I worry... about everything! I can't be myself because I don't even know who "myself" is anymore! All I know is the person that my ed has molded me to be and that is not the person I want people to get to know!
I don't want to leave this post without a positive goal firmly in place so: I am honestly going to try to open up more to friends and family who love me and want to help me. As I am trying to figure out who "jenn" is, I am going to try to allow others into my world as well. I know this is going to take a lot of hard work and a lot of time - but I am willing (I think) to give it a try. I might not be brave enough today to let people in - but hopefully, in time, I will be able to and my life can be a whole heck of a lot less lonely place to be.