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Hi.

Welcome to my blog! I'll be documenting my journey through eating disorder recovery. Read on to find out more!

Vulnerability

Vulnerability

I've always felt this pressure from myself to constantly perform. To be the perfect sister, and daughter, and friend, and colleague. I never felt these expectations come from anyone but myself, which makes the process all the more isolating and painful. 

The problem with striving to be the "perfect ____" is that I often fall short. And then, I downplay a lot of my struggles so that I will not appear vulnerable in my relationships. Because I don't want others to see me as weak. I need to be there for my friends and family, and I need to be professional at work. I can't let my weaknesses show because that just might downgrade the way others perceive me, and my inner perfectionist voice won't allow for that. 

As a result, I don't share a lot of what I'm going through with anyone in my life (except my therapist). When people ask me how I'm doing, my automatic response is: "I'm good! How are you?". Some other key, go-to phrases of mine are:

  1. My weekend was great... very relaxing!
  2. My night was good. I watched Netflix and took it easy. 
  3. I'm doing okay today, thanks for asking. How are you?

Nowhere in any of those responses do I give off any indication that things are not good. And things are not freaking good. I have good moments, and I don't want to minimize those. But if we take a look at what the last couple of months have looked like, I am dealing with an extreme battle with my very serious illness. 

But I feel almost unable to open up and let people in. It's not because I'm in denial - I am very aware of what's going on. I see how controlling my anorexia has become recently and I know my health is not great. Yet still, I don't open up. I don't expose myself for fear of being vulnerable in front of others. 

I judge myself for remaining stuck in this illness, and I worry that others will judge me too. At what point will my friends and family stop asking how I am because my response has for so long involved some mention of my eating disorder? Truth be told, I don't know if anyone would put a halt to our relationship if I opened up. But, I FEAR that they will. I fear that they will become tired of the same old struggles of mine and they will move on. Maybe that stems from a fear of abandonment, but that's a subject for another blog. 

So, I keep things to myself. Because I want to appear perfectly put together because I put pressure on myself to do so. Nobody will like me if I appear weak. People will become tired of my story. 

But then, as it was pointed out this week in group therapy, I am not engaging myself authentically in my relationships. I am "hiding" this huge part of who I am in an effort to save face. In doing so, I am feeding into the notions of self-hatred that I embody because I am not being completely open and honest about who I am to the core. I can't deny that the eating disorder is part of me, and has been part of me for ten years. I hope one day it no longer exists, but currently, I can't deny that it is still there. So really, I am doing a disservice to myself because I am not being, in essence, myself. 

It's quite the vicious circle. Self-hatred leads me to hide who I am which makes me feel more ashamed of who I am (because I have to hide it). I don't know if that circle resonates with any of you, but it pretty much sums up the way I am living my life right now. 

I can't guarantee that from now on, I will be open and honest about everything. Mental health is accompanied by a stigma, and there is a big part of me that still likes to cover up when things get difficult. I do this to preserve my relationships... but I'm starting to think that my relationships might be safeguarded even more if I were able to be my authentic self. At least, I would then allow myself to break free from hiding who I am. 

I don't know. It's a lot to digest. I'm still wrapping my head around this.

If you have any insight into this whole vulnerability thing, I would truly like to hear from you (either in the comment section or by email, at meghan.e.turnbull@gmail.com). 

As always, thanks for reading. Wishing you all a great week.

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The Eating Disorder Community On Social Media

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