I’d rather tell my friends about my depression. I’d rather tell them I take medication for it, an SSRI. I’d rather reveal to them I see a psychiatrist. I might possibly even prefer them to be aware of my self harm and overdoses. Rather than knowing about my eating disorder.
Food is such a big part of everyday life and is central to many social events and gatherings. You go to a party? There will be food. You go out for a meal with friends? You’re confronted with food again. Even in ordinary everyday situations, at Uni, at work, there is at least one meal a day where people will expect to see you to eat.
Out of all the mental health issues I’ve experienced, the eating disorder is the most difficult to hide. You can smile and laugh away the depression. No one need know you take a pill every morning. Most of the time, you can cover the self harm with the appropriate clothing.
It’s harder to keep from people whether you’re eating or not eating. Especially when they become aware that you have certain issues with food.
Tonight I am going out to dinner with my friends from Uni. One of them is M, who found my blog earlier this year and hence is now privy to the fact that I have an eating disorder, and, well, all of my mental health issues I talked about on my blog prior to moving it to WordPress.
I am hesitant to let friends in on my struggles with an eating disorder. I am afraid they will then start to take notice of my behaviours, or in any case, take even greater notice. I start to feel self-conscious about putting food in my mouth, more so than usual.
If I do eat, it is as though I am fake, a phony, and the notion that I have an eating disorder will be less believable. If I am eating, it obviously means I am able, and therefore don’t have any struggles with food after all.
If I don’t eat, I feel as though I am purposefully restricting food, to gain attention, to make known to them I have eating issues.
If I make a trip to the bathroom after the meal, my friend may well be suspicious of my intentions. And there’s a good chance her suspicions will ring true. The last time I went out to dinner with them, my friend was yet to find out about my eating disorder. Thus, I could go in and throw up the contents of my stomach without them having a clue. With my friend now aware of my inclination to purge after having too big a meal, I doubt I will be able to get away with it so easily.
The only solution would be to go, eat a moderate amount, and resist the temptation to purge afterwards. Yet, even though I plan to go out with the best intentions, I still find myself eating a bit too much than I’m comfortable with, panicking over the amount of food in my stomach, and wanting to get rid of it.
Despite this, I am looking forward to going out tonight. I’m excited to be hanging out with my Uni friends again. A night out in the city, a Japanese dinner, karaoke afterwards, it all sounds so normal, something an eighteen year old should be doing to celebrate the end of exams.
I’ve lingered in the darkness for so long, it’s time to go out, enjoy this one night with my friends and remember the simple pleasures in life, nights out with friends like the one I am attending tonight.