This is a VERY scary, open, vulnerable thing i am sharing. Might need tissues. Might be terrible to read. Proceed at your own risk…..
For quite a while i have thought if i should write this. And i think i will. Well i am. You know. This is hard thing for me to speak of, but i want you to know. You, who looks into my life through my blog. Even when we don’t really talk regularly or aren’t even like friends, but you just know me and find my writings interesting. Or you who is my friend and who knows me but not that much, so you read and hope to know me more. I won’t come to you to tell you all this, as i am afraid of how you’ll react. I’m scared and frightened to hear criticism, dramatic responses or even sympathy towards these things is sometimes more than i want. So i hide. I hide the secrets inside me and only very very close people know. My fiance. My two friends. My therapist. But others, not that much. Some might now facts, that i have just told them randomly. But they know nothing of how it makes me feel. How ALL this is affecting me daily and what goes through my mind.
What this blog post is NOT about.
This is NOT my plea for sympathy, or waiting for you to come to me to say “there-there, it’s gonna be alright.”, or “i know how you feel”. Well you might, because you read this. But i don’t need that. More than that, i hope that maybe someday, or now, it might help someone else suffering with hidden secrets like me. Or someone thinking some things are okay, when they really are hurting you. So let me tell you some secrets of me. Secrets that i have carried with me for years and only now realized that they are bad for me.
It all starts with therapy. She is really good, she’s a christian therapist. For the sake of people’s privacy, i leave all sorts of names out. And details as much as possible. So nobody can take this personally because i won’t mention their name. My way of hoping not to say anything wrong. Anyway, my therapist. She is wonderful. But also therapy in itself is really hard! It feels like an open heart surgery (not that i’d have any idea how that feels, but you get the picture). You feel like your heart is being torn into pieces, and tugged and ripped and pulled apart. To reveal things you have showed under the carpet over the years and carried with you as luggage. Why on earth you do that? one might wonder…. Well i think in my case, i can’t speak why others do, but for me, i’ve never learned how to deal with problems. I don’t remember that i have ever felt that it was okay to share the load or to ask for help. So i didn’t. I just kept things inside. And probably unconsciously hid them there. Somewhere in the dark corners of my heart and mind. And now they are coming out and it is, i’m telling, an ugly site. Imagine a war movie, that scene after the battle, where there’s corpses and blood and arrows and junk lying around, well that’s how i feel. It’s dark and gloomy and teary and really horrible. BUT it is ABSOLUTELY necessary! And in the end it will be good.
I feel like a piece of clay, on God’s pottery wheel, being shaped and molded. Imagine now to be that clay, you think it’s easy? Or not painful and hard? Not at all! It is extremely hard, painful, tiring, time-consuming, BUT we all know that God can do some magical creation when He is creating!
So yes, therapy is pulling some junk on the surface and it’s “challenging” as we christians like to say. We usually don’t say problematic, or that we have problems, trying to deny the reality sometimes and say “challenging” instead. Not even sure why. Maybe to soften the situation. Anyway, yes. Really challenging hard problematic time. Time where i use a lot of tissues. But it’s okay. I can’t remember who, but someone said to me once, when i once again apologized for being so tearful, that tears are healing for the soul. Well maybe so, but i still hate crying.
Oh you wonder what am i talking about? Well sorry, this is how my brain works. It’s just all over the place. So yes, secret on. Phew. This is really hard. It makes me emotional when people ask me. But here goes. I have a eating disorder. There! I said it without crying! Must be a good day! If your first thoughts are anorexia or bulimia, then no. It’s not that. Although there was a time in my life where i came close to being anorexic, (anorectic? not sure of the spelling here) BUT it passed. And bulimia, no, not that either. I don’t want to label it in anyway as it isn’t official diagnosis. But closest that i think that describes it is binge eating. Or food addiction. Or something in between or both. To describe what it looks like in real life is… well it’s emotional hunger mostly. It’s not physically rumbling stomach. It’s the emptiness, loneliness or sadness or boredom in me that makes me crave food. Usually junk food. Chocolate mostly, sometimes also chips, coke or ice-cream, to fill me inside. But it doesn’t help. I feel terrible later. I feel i’ve ate too much, or feel guilty or sad, or fat etc. Before it happens, i have cravings, mostly chocolate as mentioned. And if i have money, i go to the store and mindlessly buy things that i shouldn’t. Mostly it’s chocolate, often add chips, coke or something, sometimes ice-cream, cookies. Well i categorize this as “junk”. Meaning things i really don’t need. And then i come back to my college room and eat them, in my room, alone, in secret. And on it’s own junk sometimes is okay, but problem is when i can’t stop eating. And when i can’t leave those 4 cookies in the package uneaten. Or when i think “Oh i’ll take just one square of chocolate”. And i end up eating the whole bar of chocolate. Because yeah, i don’t know how to stop. Well i know in my head, but logic doesn’t work there. And people ask why do you do that? Well there’s quite many reasons i might guess why. I here need to also mention that i’ve always, as long as i can remember, been a sweet-tooth. I haven’t ate healthy amounts of sweets, but very unhealthy amounts. Be it candy or chocolate. There have been people who have made me eat in secret because of their remarks. “You should watch what you eat” or “you eat so so many sweets!!!” … I know they didn’t know what they were doing, but now looking back it made me realize how that was a start. People in my life didn’t know how to handle that and criticism wasn’t the best way. So i started hiding my candy wrappers or chocolate papers and carrying them out of my room and house in my bag. Or eating alone and in secret so i wouldn’t be judged. And at that time i didn’t know it was bad. I just tried to avoid people’s comments. I wanted them to be happy for me. To be proud of me. To like me. But all i heard in my head was criticism. So i hid it. And shoved it under the carpet.
In the meantime, well not meantime, but at the same time and i can’t remember since when, i started harming myself. I can call it this now as i’ve only recently, at age 30, realized what i’ve done more or less all my life. I now know that it has been self-harm. And the first thing you might think is cutting, but no that’s it. My problem is that i’ve been picking the skin on my fingers since i can remember. It’s not an easy thing to share with, well anyone who decides to read this, but i believe it’s time to bring light to this. I pick skin on mostly my index and thumb finger and on the top of my fingers. Whenever i feel skin being a little loose around the nails, i have a tendency to pick it. I don’t chew it, but pick it with my fingers. I remember ALWAYS looking for bandaids and remembering to bring them to school or work. It can happen at random places, bus, concert, cinema, wherever i feel anxious, nervous, worried. But i don’t think about it when i do it until it’s too late and i’m well to be blunt, bleeding a bit. I know it might sound gross, and i apologize for that. Forgive me for being detailed and so straight-forward, but you don’t have to read if you do find this too much. I have done it since i remember. And people who have noticed me with bandaid on my finger, during the years, have asked what’s up. And answers vary. Sometimes i say i hurt myself (which in some way is true), sometimes i say oh it’s nothing, or never mind or don’t want to talk about it. It doesn’t change the fact that nobody made me understand that i was self-harming until recently. People who figured out what i was doing and saw me actually doing it, have either teased me, mocked me, or even said “don’t pick your fingers”. But that really didn’t do anything. Neither good or bad. So i have continued through the years without really thinking.
Until recently. Last week i got to a point where i ate so much that i felt i needed to throw up. I didn’t. Because i was scared that this might lead to bulimia. (i’m sure it’s not entirely that way how things work, but my head isn’t always logical) And then i felt fat, terrible, awful, guilty. Beating myself up for doing this to myself. And then being resolute “NO MORE!” I cried, oh how i cried. I cried bitter tears of regret. I was scared. Literally terrified of food and myself and what i had done. I desperately needed help and someone to tell me it’s gonna be okay, but i was alone, in my room with a full stomach of junk and nothing i could do. Few days later i picked my thumb so much that i had to put bandage on it, not just bandaid. And surely so many people asked me what i had done. I am ashamed, sorry, sad about what i do to myself. But finally, at age 30, my therapist made me understand. And my fiance. And my own fear. Made me understand that i am hurting myself. That i am not okay. That i have put this secret or few under the carpet for way too long. I am sad, very very sad. Sad that i haven’t had people stopping me. For taking care of me. Listening to me. For showing me better ways to cope. Better ways to deal with emotions. But i cannot blame others. I have done this to myself. I am not blaming anyone. But i am sad. I am very sad about this being with me. ALTHOUGH it is hard, i am working on this. I am dealing with this.
At this moment, i am trying to find a good balance between entirely saying no to all chocolate related things and junk food, to eating mindlessly too much. There must be balance. I don’t yet know when will i find this, or where is it, or when will i have victory over this disorder, but i am fighting. I don’t know how to battle self-harm, but i am working on it. I am working on finding ways to make myself more busy. Even if it means just watching a movie and knitting random stuff at the same time, just to keep my hands busy. Or if it means running from my room because my restlessness is just driving me crazy. I am learning, i am being shaped and i am working on this.
Know that this isn’t easy for me to share. And you might wonder why is this woman sharing so private things with random people as this is a public place? Well i try living my life as see-through as possible because it’s hard being alone in your fights. And maybe this gives someone else hope, or comfort of knowing you aren’t alone. Or maybe it helps someone help their friend who has same battles as i do. I don’t know what this gives you as a reader, but for me it gives me a place to write. To share secrets, because i suck at keeping secrets. I live my life as honestly and openly as possible, because that way there’s less things i need to remember (who did i tell this and who i didn’t tell? no memories…).
I hope this doesn’t cause a pity-party, or a pile of comments “oh dear, don’t hurt yourself”. But more than that, what i need from you, is prayers for victories. Prayers for battles, not yet won. Support and encouragement if you want. But all this is voluntary.
And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.
Isaiah 64:8