Life without Anorexia

My motto is
'Dont let the sadness of your past & the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present'

My life at the moment is completely different to how it once was. I spent 5 years sick with anorexia nervosia and depression as well as struggling with self harm and overexercising. I spent 2 years in different treatment centres.
And since 2012 i have been declared healthy from my eating disorder.

I have been blogging for 7 years, and my whole journey is written in my posts. I now represent healthy and happiness. I want to show anyone struggling that it is possible to recover, no matter how hard it may seem.

I now blog about recovery, my life, veganism and positivity!

If you have any questions leave them in the comment section as i am much quicker at answering there, otherwise you can always send an email: lifewithoutanorexia@hotmail.com

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Don't ask, don't tell - Depression

Recently i began thinking about how in my family there is a "dont ask, dont tell" type of thing. Hard to explain but i'll try my best...

Basically for example if i am very sad or very low, instead of asking me what is wrong or if anything has happened they just kind of avoid me or dont talk to me. Or in the past if they ever saw new self harm scars they would never mention it even if i knew that they had seen them, and wheen i was recovering from my eating disorder and i would cheat with my food and i knew they had seen what i had done they never said anything, just let me carry on.

This can be a good and a bad thing, i think the whole "dont ask, dont tell" thing with myself is because i have in a way - unintentionally - made it clear that i dont want anyone to ask. I dont want anyone to ask me what is wrong or if anything has happened, i just want to move on, so now they have leart to just not ask and let me deal with things on my own. But at the same time, there are certai times where i just wish someone would ask me what is wrong... instead of avoiding how i feel and pretending like nothing is wrong. Of course as i dont live at home anymore its not the same thing, but in the past it was like my family just avoided the topic despite it hanging heavy in the air. Its always been a bit like that in my family... its like you know what is going on but you dont talk about it.

Sometimes this is a good thing, because most of the time i dont want someone to ask, i dont want to talk and so its a nice thing that nobody brings it up but at other times i think its important to talk about what is going on in someones life. For example if my sister were to begin drinking every night or began smoking or such then its something you cant avoid and just "let slide" but something you would need to adress and talk about. Especially if a person is sick, because then asking for help is one of the hardest things and sometimes those "signs/behavious/symptoms" are also a cry for help because the person themselves dont want to ask for help and so just wish that someone else would bring it up and make them talk.

I think for many it is easier to just avoid the problem though.. if they dont ask they dont have to deal with the answer and can pretend that everything is ok.


What is your opinion on this? Do you want people to ask you how you are/what is wrong? Or do you prefer if they just avoid the topic and you can talk when you are ready?

I personally think it depends on the person and what the "problem" is. I mean one bad day and you dont need everyone asking you how you are, but a few weeks or months of showing signs of mood swings, irritability, anger or very sad then it might be time for people to ask/act. But on the other hand, it is also up to the person with the problems to be able to ask for help and not just think that everyone else will ask or help them, but the person struggling has to mustur the courage to ask for help for themselves and to talk about the problem and not just wait for everyone to ask.

This was just part of my morning thoughts and i thought i should share and see what YOUR opinion is on this or how it is for you and your family/friends/partner?



10 comments:

  1. As I have got older, I've learnt that I need to ask, and I need to shout as loud as it takes to be heard. And it can be that one needs to shout VERY loud, again and again. When people don't ask, I don't any longer think that it's because they are trying to avoid it or because they don't want to deal with the answer, I think it is because they are trying to help and they think that is what helps. They are looking at the situation from a different perspective: they are healthy enough and comfortable enough in their place in society that they think it would be natural to ask, it is what they would do if it were them, so they imagine that you would ask too. They are in that sense healthy, and they cannot imagine what it is like to be sick. Just like with eating: people can't imagine how hard it can be, so they think that if you want to or need to, you just will. I don't think people who haven't been there can really envisage what it is like to find it so hard to open up. If they could, if they did just "know", then probably they would ask because they do care. But they don't realise that is what they need to do to help. They think you will ask, and they don't see the stuff that is deep inside you. And in the end, one needs to look at one's own needs and get people to hear what they cannot hear. Because you are a human being too. That's not selfish in any way: quite the reverse. It is embracing the life that is given to you as a human being and a part of a community. We are not alone, and part of being in a community is communicating one's own needs and letting people help, and helping them to know how. In the end, that helps everyone: it helps you, and it helps them, it helps your relationships with each other, and with yourselves. There is lots of stumbling and messing up along the way, but one learns to tolerate that: we are all just human, we all mess up, and we all misunderstand and do silly embarrassing things, and we all need to forgive and be forgiven and accept each other and ourselves. Need is need, and when one needs help, one has to ask. And it does get better. Very best wishes.

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    1. Very true what you wrote, so thank you so much for taking the time to comment. And like you wrote, communicating is necessary and we cant expect others to just know what we are thinking or how we feel or what we need help with if we dont communicate!

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  2. I think that it is always better to ask/tell and to share. The difficult thing is how to do that e.g. what words to use/what approach to take. Bothe the person who is asking/caring and the other person need to contribute: if someone is asking, they should ask sensitively and in a moment of calm. But also the person being asked should be forgiving if by mistake the person asking triggers them. I have experienced many issues relating to ED and I now think 100% that asking and telling is the better way (not the easiest).

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    1. Ii agree 100%, that communication and talking is so important even if it isnt the easiest, in the long term it is the best and also it gets easier to talk about things the more you do it - i am presuming!

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  3. Its a bit of both for me - I can be feeling down and struggling but although I know my partner is aware he doesn't actually say anything straight away, he may wait until the end of the day or even a couple of days later, if it continues, before he says anything. But some things are left a lot longer, it can be weeks before the issue is brought up and then its rather in desperation and annoyance that it has happened. For example before my recovery began and when my eating wasn't so good he wouldn't comment on the fact that I was only half eating my dinner and throwing the rest away. Then all of a sudden it would all come out, but not in a helpful way - more like annoyance and critiscism, which didn't help at all! When he does this it is almost as if he is using bully tatics to make me stop doing something or feeling a certain way. Another example is this past week I have been very ill with food intolerances and it has taken me several days of having little food to get over it(I was very sick and felt very ill in myself) and last night he decided to compare me with how his dying mother refused to eat for several weeks before she actually died....which was very hurtful and unnecessary. He is the type of person that can and does eat normally even if he is actually being sick, I on the other hand cannot do this and when I am ill my appetite is the first to suffer. He cannot understand this and thinks I should be the same as him. When I commented on his words he just said he said those things because he was worried about me. I know he cares but rather than talk he tends to go on the attack, as it were.
    On the other hand when he is down or has problems I see it and want to talk it through straight away. But he won`t talk and just brushes it off with a "I`m fine" when he`s clearly not. To get him to talk means getting past all the defence mechanisms first - its hard going.
    When I was growing up it was definitely a case of "brush it under the carpet" at home, we never really talked and as a result I`ve never had close feelings for my family.
    I think its important to be able to talk about things with your partner/family and also to get the balance right about when you decide to speak out. Do it too soon and it can be received as an intrusion and leave it too long and it can seem as though that person doesn't care. Its very individual. Sometimes I feel that my partner should be aware of things even if I don`t actually say anything but I am beginning to learn that this often an unrealistic expectation of mine. I am all for talking things through and getting things out in the open, not letting a problem or feeling fester and build up but getting a response is hard going. I just guess its down to the individual you are with.

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    1. Communication is key, and i think most people some times have expectations or think people will behave in a certain way and then they dont because they can't read minds. So the best thing is to talk to the person, maybe talk to your partner and see what he can do to help you or maybe what you can do differently etc Its not always easy but the important thing to remember is that people can't read minds and unless you tell someone that you are sad, angry, irritated or want help then they wont always know and wont always ask.

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  4. I think this post was really interesting! I left a comment the other day about some depression-related content that might be useful on your blog - but now I can't find it! I'm wondering if it actually went through and I just missed it, or if I should try to rewrite it and repost it?

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    1. Hhmmm, if it hasnt posted on the original post then it most probably got deleted/disappeared?

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  5. I come from a don't ask, don't tell family, too. We love each other very much and would do anything for each other - but we are ALL conditioned to be independent, stiff upper lip, see no evil/hear no evil/speak no evil types. I completely agree with the first commenter, that it simply doesn't occur to a lot of people that you wouldn't ask for something if you needed it, and that healthy people often don't understand what it is to not be able to ask. If it goes beyond that, though, like in my family (ie: for YEARS, I was incredibly sick, first with an ED and then with an addiction, and even though it was painfully obvious that I was sick, not one person in my family ever spoke of it or addressed it directly. Speak no evil!), then I do believe that YOU have to be the one to speak up and be the change you want to see. I did not want to do this, at all, but I also knew that I was dying, and that my family's communication style was not going to change just to help me. It was too ingrained, and way too uncomfortable. I actually had to seek outside help myself, before I was able to start talking to my family. I specifically addressed how to improve my own communication, and how to open communication with my family. Years into this process, I even brought my mom into my counseling sessions a few times (nightmare of discomfort and awkwardness!). My counselor was able to articulate to my mom what would help me - and my family - in terms of communication. It also began the first occasions of me being able to articulate for myself what I needed, and gave us a safe space to practice being open and honest.

    I had to work on my own self-esteem issues and communication problems before I was able to assert my needs, and believe that I actually deserved to assert my needs. I needed to learn what was healthy in terms of interpersonal relationships, and how mine could improve. Human beings are pack animals. We are evolutionarily(??) designed to need each other. We biologicalocrave community and connection. Being self-sufficient is a myth and fallacy of the modern western world. There is no shame in needing help. In fact, it is natural, and how we function best. Even the independent and introverted among us (me) require a solid community we can depend on to be there for us. If we are born into a family that lacks intimate connection, getting sick often reveals how unhealthy and lonely that is. Our emotional health depends on connection to others.

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    1. Very true, communication is so important and asking for help, even if it isnt the easiest. But i guess it is something that some people (including myself!) have to learn, that asking for help isnt a bad thing or sign of weakness. But it means that you have the strength to know what is best for you and to ask others for help so that you dont have to do everything on your own.

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