How to tell your family and friends?

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ThereisAlwaysHope's picture
How to tell your family and friends?

Hi all,

I am new here. This is my second day as a member, and I have to say I already feel that I am being changed from the inside out. Finding this website and the support it offers has been such a blessing. I always knew that one day I would recover and now I feel that it is happening! I am so thankful for this program and everyone in the community , and I LOVE seeing how everyone is so supportive of each other.

My question for you all is how did you tell your family, friends, coworkers, etc? That is one thing I am very fearful of. My mother has asked me several times if I am bulimic, and I have always denied it. Mothers have that intuition though, and I know all the signs are there.

When is the right time to tell people? In recovery? After? I know for at least my family, it would be best to tell soon so they can be helpful not hurtful. I think a lot of my problems with weight have stemmed from being in my parents house as well as comments my dad made to me growing up.

I am afraid to tell people outside of my family as well. I feel it would help people understand why I have been the way i have been in recent years. I am worried though as I work with kids of all ages, that their parents may think I am an unfit example for their children. I work with a lot of teenage girls, and it breaks my heart to hear them talk so poorly about their own body image. I know that when I am fully recovered I can be a great help and voice in their life, but I am worried about now and what to do/where to start.

Any advice would be great! Thank you!

sintensityfox's picture
Wow! So glad you are here.

Wow! So glad you are here. You are brave, and I would suggest starting with someone you love and trust. Your mom, maybe? It might be a huge weight lifted from your shoulders, and if she already has questioned you, then will be relieved to know the truth. However, don't expect other people to understand or have useful things to say. If you want someone to do something specific to help you, you'd better be prepared to spell it out (like your dad not making comments). I do think it will help your recovery. Yeah for you!!!

lindsay6's picture
Telling people about bulimia

Telling people about bulimia can be tough they don't always get it. Sounds like your Mom is ready to hear it she already suspects it. So I agree with sintesnsity fox, start there. As for co workers well I am not sure I would ever tell them. What would be the reason? The only reason to tell people is so they can support you and all of your co workers may not be able to do that. Sometimes people are judgmental and so I would pick people very carefully. I have never told my co workers.
I would tell any really close friends but slowly. Thing is when you tell people they have a a lot of questions and really don't understand it at all. It barely makes sense to us sometimes so other people are just confused and their advice is often really not helpful. Non ED people really don't understand how bulimia messes with all the normal functions of eating making it almost impossible to navigate normal eating without SE for a good amount of time. You need to tell people from a place of strength. By that I mean that you have a pretty good handle on things and feel fairly secure about what recovery is and how you are going to go about it.. It can be helpful telling people you are in a program, getting recovery, and its working. If you don't do that you will get some crazy but well meaning advice. There are articles on this site that address exactly this issue and there is one to give to people to read so they get an explanation of what is going on with you and how they can help. So take a look at those.

When you are going through hell, keep going.

ThereisAlwaysHope's picture
Thank you so both so much! I

Thank you so both so much! I really appreciate your advice and your support!

JoBlogs's picture
Im sorry Im so late adding to

Im sorry Im so late adding to this blog, I think you are doing fantastic attempting recovery & wanting to do it openly.
I just have a little something to add, about telling people outside your immediate family. I am a strong believer in being as open about mental health issues as possible, the only way it will lose its stigma is by real people knowing other 'normal' real people with these problems & not being ashamed of it.
I don't have any friends who don't know, Ive told them if they ask, many knew anyway because 3 years ago I was very ill wit depression & ED & it could not be hidden at all. I would sometimes purge in other peoples houses after coffee....
As for co-workers, those who I worked with when I was so ill knew I was ill & then knew I took 6months sick leave. most of them never asked me about it, I spoke to 1 chap about it because he was really struggling with his wife's mental health problems which are similar to mine, I wanted to support him as much as I could & I really hoped I may possibly be able to reduce any sense of shame he might have by being open about my story & treatment. Basically if it might help him in some tiny way I was happy to share.
Another young colleague & I went on a course which meant a long drive & 2 nights in a hotel. He was obviously really really struggling with food & didn't eat anything at all apart from a tiny bowl of cornflakes between breakfast & tea. We went out to a pub where we could google the menu & I asked him about his food that day & told him my story. I didn't judge, he was relieved & we had a very good chat about it. He had never ever spoken to anyone who understood before. He was 18.
I think each case, each person has to be weighed up individually but am all for sharing as often as you can if you don't think it will harm you & your recovery.
Good luck with this hunny, Im thinking of you xxxxxxxxxxxxx


ThereisAlwaysHope's picture
Thank you so much for your

Thank you so much for your insight and for sharing your advice. I think that is great you are open. You are very brave for sharing with so many people in your life. I agree 100%. I am very open about my history with domestic violence and sexual abuse. I think this is the same way. There are so many stigmas out there and the only way to break down walls is for people to break their silence. We are all human and we all struggle with something. I have a blog on my personal website as well as a resource page about domestic abuse, and I hope to add a page about eating disorders one day. I think the best way to help others is to share your story. By remaining silent, we remain captive to the fears that hold us in bondage. As I was saying, earlier I think I can help others especially the young girls I work with once I make it through recovery. I am not really sure when in the right time to tell people or how. One day a time though, right?

I recently moved back home, and part of my struggle lies there. When I am on my own, I do really really well. Being in my parents house has always been a trigger. I am afraid if I tell my parents now they will want me to stay here longer to monitor me. If you have any advice or insight I would greatly appreciate it.

I hope everyone has a good night. I will be praying for you all! XO -Alicia

JoBlogs's picture
Its really good to read that

Its really good to read that you share my opinion about sharing when you can. I think you will just know when its the right time to tell people, it will naturally happen when you are ready & they seem ready to listen. Sometimes it doesn't work out but if people don't stick around because you are ill that is because they have issues not because you are ill. I think your mum will probably be very supportive.

As for living at home I cant even begin to imagine how difficult that is. I could not live with either of my parent & even find it tricky living with my husband some of the time.

I hope you can resolve this because it will make it harder to recover if they are triggering you. If you tell them you will probably need to be clear about the type of support & help you need. And sometimes that might be to tell them you don't know how they can help or that they just need to give you more time & space to think things through yourself. Other things might be to keep trigger foods out of your way for a while or eating with you sometimes to your schedule. I used to have my pm snack with my kids to help me eat it. I work with my dad & sometimes I would sit with him at lunch time because I couldn't eat by myself. I almost always eat breakfast & dinner with my husband & children.

Remember recovery is about you recovering for yourself, your parents can not do it for you, they cant control your food for you, they have to let you take responsibility for yourself.

Can I ask what your job is? Im really interested in your contact with young people. I would love to help more people but right now I need to sort myself out. I get into trouble when I try to help others too much since Im taking care of 2 kids & a husband as well as myself.

I will help when I can though. Take good care of yourself, sending you heaps of love & strength xxxxxxxx


ThereisAlwaysHope's picture
You are right. Living with

You are right. Living with others and dealing with an ED is extremely difficult. I am hoping to move soon, but we will see. I'm still seeing what is in store for me job wise this summer so it will depend on that.

Currently, I make my living as a figure skating coach. I have been teaching professionally for 7 years. I work with all ages 4-54 (my oldest student) but the majority of my private students are teenage girls.

You are right, taking care of yourself and getting well is your number one priority. You can't be good to help anyone if you can't help yourself, I always feel. And that is not a selfish thing. I am dealing with that too. I try to do so much for everyone else that I lose who I am often. I hope your husband and family is supportive of your recovery. Bless you! hope you are having a good week! XO

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