Honesty in Eating Disorder Recovery and discovering our values are an integral part of the recovery process. By thinking on and naming them, it quickly becomes clear that the eating disorder leads to living completely opposite to those values.
The healthy self strives toward honesty and transparency, but eating disorders thrive in secrecy, isolation, and deception.
In the darkest moments of the struggle, the sufferer is living in a complex web of lies and deception, specifically designed to keep dangerous coping mechanisms in place and “protected” from people who sincerely want to help.
We can say that we want openness, to be seen and loved, and yet consistently hide our hearts, selves, and habits from those who are closest to us. The lies of the eating disorder are powerful and if examined objectively, only lead to frustration, despair, disconnection, and emptiness; precisely the opposite of what they promise to deliver.
The battle to keep open and not hide, throughout recovery, is a daily one. This is also important for parents, loved ones and friends to remember if they are supporting someone in recovery. The temptation to conceal and deceive in order to keep even just a few eating disorder behaviors alive is strong. The good news is that it can get better and easier.
Honesty in Eating Disorder Recovery
1. Honesty with yourself
To begin, we must be honest about the seriousness of our struggle and its threat to our physical, emotional, spiritual and relational health. Downplaying the consequences of the eating disorder is a trick the disease uses to keep us from getting the care we need and deserve.
Bring honesty in eating disorder recovery and be honest about how deeply you struggle, and if you fall off the wagon in recovery, don’t ignore it. Name it, accept it, and use it as motivation to continue moving forward, rather than letting it manifest as self-hatred.
2. Honesty with your treatment team
The only way that any kind of professional help can work is if we commit to complete honesty and transparency with our treatment team. You don’t have to perform for them. You may have had a great last session and then the next week feel as though you didn’t make any progress.
You may become frustrated. You may have restricted or purged or otherwise relapsed.
Honesty in eating disorder recovery is essential, or else treatment providers cannot help to reach the deepest, darkest wounds that need to be addressed.
You will not be perfect on the recovery journey, and your treatment team is comprised of professionals: they don’t expect you to be.
3. Honesty with others
Openness and transparency with others are essential, but we should take intentional precautions regarding with whom we choose to be most open. Not everyone can or should be trusted with our hearts.
Therefore, it can be helpful to identify a few friends or family members who you can count on to love you unconditionally through the recovery process; those you are not afraid will reject you or grow impatient or condemning. These trusted supporters will be able to handle your honesty and thereby truly celebrate your victories and carry your burden when you feel you cannot.
Hiding is a reaction based on fear. Transparency is a risk, but taking the leap of faith to trust your healthy self, your treatment team, and loved ones are worth it. We know where deception and lies lead: to darkness, depression, and illness.
Truth and honesty are harder than hiding but yields long-lasting rewards. Being honest is the first, most substantial leap into healing. Once the eating disorder is exposed in the light of truth, it loses its power. Then you can chart the course to freedom.
About the Author:
Kirsten Haglund is an international speaker, mental health advocate, and digital media strategist. Through her media and communications company, En Pointe, she works with a diverse group of clients in both the profit and non-profit sectors increasing social engagement and scalability, social listening, communications training, spokesperson work increasing brand awareness.
Kirsten serves as a media spokesperson, speaker, and Director of Global Business Development and Digital Media for Eating Disorder Hope & Addiction Hope. She is also Community Relations Specialist for Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center and is Founder and President of the Kirsten Haglund Foundation.
She also does political analysis across television news networks and radio, including on MSNBC, CNN International, Fox Business Network, and Fox News Channel. Her Op-Eds on politics, culture and non-profit advocacy have appeared in the New York Daily News, Forbes.com, Huff Post and in industry journals.
She served as Miss America 2008 and Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Kirsten graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Political Science and is currently based in Zürich, Switzerland.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective on eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Published on March 8, 2019.
Reviewed & Approved on March 8, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com