Let's Get Real
I really try to practice what I preach on i am rorie. I eat plants, I exercise regularly, I give myself a break when I need to and tell my self to suck it up when it's the adult thing to do.
But I wasn't always the happy, self-aware person I am now. From age 16 to only about two years ago I suffered from uncontrollable anorexia and bulimia. My relationship with food and my body was at the complete other end of the spectrum to who I am today.
Let's Get Real is this year's theme for National Eating Disorder Awareness week (February 26 - March 4). This is a phrase you say when you have to be honest with someone - make them face what they're pretending doesn't exist.
When I was 16, 17, or 18, I pretended I was strong enough to deal with my disorder so when someone who cared about me and my health tried to confront me about my evident problem, I could deny it. There was always an excuse - "I dance full time", "I'm so busy with homework, I forget to eat", "I eat a lot of vegetables".
But there was always a part of me who wanted to share the truth. I wanted to be vulnerable but knew the moment I exposed myself, I ran the risk of everyone knowing. I thought it would make people pity me, which was what I wanted least.
One thing I want to clarify: victims of eating disorders (at least those where they're experiencing severe weight loss) love to hear "you look [so/too] skinny". It feeds our drive to lose weight. It tells us that we're accomplishing our goals to look a certain way.
It took me a long time to address the elephant in the room. I knew I had a problem but I wasn't willing to admit to it, just like anyone else dealing with unhealthy, essentially life-threatening behaviors.
So let's get real. Sharing the unhealthy state of mind you're in is not "exposing" yourself. It does not make you weak. It does not mean you are broken. The moment I confronted myself, I realized:
"This is not healthy. There is more to me than my eating disorder. I am not just anorexic or bulimic. I'm an artist, a student, a hard worker, a child, a young woman. I am more than my illness".
I choose now to be open and honest about my ED experience(s) because no one should be afraid to seek help. To at least admit there's something wrong. To confide in a friend. To take action.
Get real - with yourself.
If you're concerned about your health, I urge you to reach out to someone at NEDA. Or if you're not ready for that level of vulnerability, feel free to reach out to me. The feelings of helplessness and loneliness are hard enough, don't force yourself to do it alone.