Thursday, March 14, 2013

The whole truth and nothing but

I have an eating disorder.

This is no surprise to you. I have often talked about my compulsive overeating. But I've never really told you the whole story. And as hard as this is, I need to tell you the complete truth today.

In 2001, I was still reeling from my mom's death. I had lost a lot of weight before she died, but I started binging to combat my grief, and my weight was creeping higher and higher. I turned to another commercial weight loss program. I met weekly with a program counselor, and I'd go home with prepackaged meals. I thought that would finally get me back in control.

It didn't.

So when I'd binge, the thought of facing the scale--and my program counselor--was overwhelming. In a desperate panic, I started purging after my most "sinful" binges. It got worse. I eventually was throwing up several times a day.

I didn't have the foresight, at that time, to recognize that my compulsive eating in itself was an eating disorder. But I had seen enough Afterschool Specials to know that my purging was not normal behavior. I knew I needed to see a real counselor, but I didn't know where to begin to find one.

So I did what any good Catholic girl would do. I called my favorite priest. He met me at a community walking track on a freezing New Year's Eve day 2001, and we walked around for hours. I poured my heart out to him. He reassured me. And he gave me a business card for a psychologist he knew who specialized in eating disorders. He saved my life.

At first, I continued to struggle with both the binging and the purging. Eventually, the purging stopped, but I continued to eat.

And you know the rest of the story.

So why am I choosing to tell you this today?

The truth is that only a very small handful of people in my life know about this. The other truth is that I've been struggling again with the purging for the past several months--maybe a year.

When I started this blog, I promised to always be honest. And lately I've felt like a liar. I debated telling you this. I talked to a few people I really trust about whether or not I should write about it. In the end, I took their advice, and I went with my own instincts, too.

See, when I started this journey, telling the absolute truth, even if it wasn't pretty, was the one thing to which I was absolutely committed. It was what set me free in the first place. It released me from the shame and guilt I'd felt for years.

As you know, if you've been following me, I've been stuck for a while now. Maybe the reason is that I stopped being so truthful. Maybe I need to let go of this one last secret. Maybe that will once again set me free. And maybe just one of my readers is struggling with the same thing, and my confession can help him or her.

Rest assured that I'm in therapy. I'm working through this. I'm probably not going to address this topic again. Even as I write this, I'm shaking a little. The truth has a tendency to knock me over sometimes. But I know I need to do it.

My biggest priority right now is to get my head straight. To find control. I've made the decision not to do the triathlon this year. As much as I'd like a new challenge, my biggest challenge is already ahead of me.

Today, I'm starting fresh. With the truth.

Thank you for your constant support.