I recently wrote an article for ANEB, which you can find here http://www.anebquebec.com/blogue/2013/08/12/honnetete-ou-exces/ and decided to translate it for all my non-francophones. Enjoy:)
Phew! The heavy burden of secrecy that I carried is gone. No more lies, the whole truth, so no worries...right?
Revealing to your loved ones that you are suffering or have suffered from an eating disorder sounds tempting. And in most circumstances, this confession may be useful or even essential to obtain professional help and treatment for this disease. But are there boundaries not to be trespassed when speaking of specific and explicit details of your struggle that could result in harmful consequences?
I argue that yes, details of compensating behaviours, lies or tricks used to perpetuate eating disorder behaviors should be limited when addressing friends and family, or even an individual present in an ANEB chat session, who is not a health care professional. Here are my 3 reasons defending why these subjects should be omitted:
Giving bad ideas
Most of what we know as been taught to us by someone or something else, and it's no different for our bad habits and coping mechanisms. Specific details about your methods of compensatory behaviors, for example, may seem harmless to you, but they are still bad seeds you are planting in the brain of the other. We can not foresee what the consequences of these ideas might be on one another, short or long term, so it is always best to prevent any adverse reactions.
They are only consequences to a bigger problem
Your habits and actions to control your weight are only the consequences of a psychological distress lead by an obsession with body image and fear of weight gain. If you want to find the cause of the disorder and treat it effectively, analyze the emotions behind your behaviours, therefor leaving out details of physical actions would be best.
They cannot help your family and friends help you
What is the point of telling your family and friends that you have or have had an eating disorder if they can not help you properly? They can not always be with us to ensure that we are eating enough or whatnot, so giving graphic details of these unhealthy behaviours, over which people those who support us have very little power, proves itself to be futile. If the people around us can help us, it is mainly through their moral support, psychological and emotional.
It is certainly healthy to be honest and open with the ones we love, but we have to be conscious of the thin line between pertinent and overkill.