I want to take a step back from eating disorders for a second.
If you didn’t already know, I write this blog in an attempt to reduce the stigma attached to eating disorders and the behaviors that surround it. But, after receiving a vast amount of supportive feedback in the form of texts, emails, and Facebook messages, I wanted to take a moment and acknowledge the stigma that is attached to mental illness in general.
Think about it. Our American society is so entrenched in guilt and shame we cannot bear to let others know something could be possibly wrong, that there is something amiss below the shiny, pretty surface. Is this true for you? Is there a discrepancy between the side you show to the world versus how you feel on an everyday basis?
I know it’s been true for me. And writing this blog and attempting to shatter this false identification myth has proven to be such an interesting experience. So many of you have written to me with stories of your own – stories of pain, stories of struggle they might be typically too ashamed to let people know about. I appreciate you sharing them, and know that this is the point of my blog – we all have a story to tell. And if only we could liberate ourselves from this entrapment of isolation, this myth that we have to struggle with these issues on our own! (It’s so American/Westernized to think that we have to depend solely on ourselves to survive. In reality, what an erroneous way of thinking! We all need others in order to live.)
Some of you have told me you appreciate my candor. Others, who have kept quiet or have quietly disengaged from everyday contact with me – I know you’re nervous. She’s a loose cannon, you may think. Would she write about me? Isn’t this tricky territory, being that she’s a therapist? Should I distance myself from her in case she gets into trouble for this? Some of you might talk about it with your husbands or girlfriends at bedtime. “What an online exhibitionist”, you say, as you sink into your loved ones’ arms for another comfortable night of sleep.
Well, GOOD. If you’re talking about or inwardly criticizing my blog, I’ve done my job. I’ve got you thinking or talking about your relationship with food, instead of blindly ingesting the thousands of disordered messages we are sent on a daily basis.
The point of my blog is to scream about the yucky things.
THE POINT IS TO FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE.
Sitting with discomfort = change.
We have GOT to start talking about the ugly things. Every person reading this post has done something they’re ashamed of or something they feel makes them an outsider. Could you imagine this world if it contained no shame? If people just started disclosing and in turn, gave others permission to do the same?
In keeping with my “no-shame” motto, I will disclose that one of my favorite Broadway tunes is “La Vie Boheme” from Rent. Why? Because it touts the bohemian principles I believe most in. As Collins and Maureen so eloquently sing –
to revolution, justice, screaming for solutions
forcing changes, risk and danger
making noise and making pleas!
Next time, I’ll be back to eating disorders, but I had to take time to explain why I make the noise that I do.