I’ve joined a sort of eating disorder support group. It’s not exactly a typical support group- it’s more of an informal chat between lots of people who have eating disorders. We talk about what we wish we could eat, what triggers us, how to deal with other people’s opinions, favorite snacks and how our disorders make us feel. I won’t say it’s improved my behavior, but it has definitely made me feel much less alone.
One thing that struck me is how many of us are hiding our disorders. Essentially everyone. Not one person spoke up and said they weren’t, at least. We hide them from our families, our friends, and our significant others. We dump food into the garbage behind their backs, and tell them we’ve eaten things we haven’t.
Everyone feels bad about it. It’s not like we want to be lying to people we love. We’re not sociopaths, we all have empathy- too much of it, in a lot of cases. But eating disorders are master manipulators, and they turn even the best of us into liars in order to keep themselves hidden and thriving. They’re like parasites; their survival depends on our continued starvation, and so they will work their host like a marionette just to keep them sick.
What a selfish, selfish disease anorexia is. What a deplorable scourge on the human psyche and on our relationships. I have never hidden anything from my husband, not one thing, until I slipped back into my behaviors. I know it’s splitting hairs, and that lying by omission is still lying, but I do find some comfort in the fact that I have never told him a direct untruth. If he were to ask me upfront, “How many calories have you eaten today?”, I would tell him.
But I would do any and everything to prevent that conversation from coming up. So I exercise while he isn’t around to see, and I count and restrict every calorie when he isn’t looking, and I make myself carefully calculated portions of dinner in front of him: just big enough not to arouse suspicion, but not so big as to disrupt my goals for the day.
What a rotten person I am. I feel like this will break his trust in me completely. He will never be able to look at me the same again. I am ruining the most beautiful relationship I have ever had, just because a little voice in my head is telling me losing weight is more important. How despicable of me to listen to it.
My only hope is that I get control over this thing before he finds out, but I don’t know how likely that is anymore. I have a countdown timer on my phone that tells me how many days I have left to reach my goal weight. He will surely notice if I manage to pull that kind of weight loss off in such a short time.
I don’t want to hurt him, I don’t want him to see me as anything but who I have always been: a loyal, loving, and honest partner. But I can’t take back what I’ve been doing, I can’t change the fact that I have been hiding a part of my life from him. My only hope now is that he will understand, that he will be able to see that it is my disease that drives me to do these things, and that he will forgive me. Oh how I hope he will forgive me.