Today, I’m happy to welcome back HealthyGirl.org reader and contributor Erica, with a guest post. Take it away, Erica! xo…Sunny
Hi, ladies—long time no talk! First, I have to say how wonderful it was to attend Sunny’s book release party for Food: The Good Girl’s Drug last month! I met two wonderful girls who were also interviewed for the book, Razieh and Trish. I then went home and read half the book that night, and finished it the following day. Thank you, Sunny, for this inspirational, truly insightful read…and for making me a part of it!
Aside from the HealthyGirl.org community, I would say I’ve told approximately 15 friends and family members about my struggles with binge eating disorder. But on February 23 of this year, I disclosed to all my Twitter followers and Facebook friends. You’re probably thinking, “What are you, nuts?” You see, I have a women’s lifestyle and happiness blog, and sometimes I like to share on Twitter and Facebook what the next day’s post will be about. It just happened to be National Eating Disorders Week from February 20-26, and I had written a post on eating disorders that included a glimpse into my personal experience with BED. I’m pretty sure it shocked a bunch of people because the next day my blog received the most views it had seen thus far.
Despite the fact that I’m typically an open book, if I were at the height of my eating disorder, I doubt that I would have been super excited to share my food and body image issues with the world. (Well, okay, about 600 people, but still.) Because I’ve considered myself to be “recovered” for about two years now, however, it felt easier to reveal one of my best-kept secrets to all these people. I wound up receiving a ton of praise from folks who saw these status updates, tweets and the post itself, telling me how brave I was for putting myself out there like that and how much they believed it would be a source of inspiration for those who could relate. I sure hoped it would be!
More recently, my experience with BED was shared with a way larger pool of people than just my friends and followers on social networking sites. My name, picture, and story were featured in an article about binge eating disorder in the April 2011 issue of Seventeen magazine! Once the mag hit newsstands, the health editor sent me Twitter and Facebook comments from young women saying how happy they were to learn that what they’re going through has a name, and more importantly that they can get better! The article gave them awareness, hope, and drive—what could be better than that?
So now many people know about my history with emotional overeating. I guess I was okay with opening up because I’ve never felt—and would never feel—ashamed (embarrassed maybe, but never ashamed) to share my personal struggles with others. The way I see it, everyone has their own issues, whether it’s an eating disorder, a problem with drugs or alcohol, history of abuse, etc. We each have our own thing, so I’m not concerned about whether or not people are judging me for mine.
Now by no means am I saying I think you must go out and scream from the rooftops that you have BED (unless you want to, of course…heck, make up a dance to go along with it if you’d like); what I am saying is that relinquishing a deep, dark secret can not only be beneficial to our peace of mind, but you also never know who else you may help by opening up. Just think of what Sunny’s done for all of us by providing us with this blog, and now the book! It takes some courage, but I’ve found that revealing that you’re (gasp!) not perfect, can literally be a lifesaver.
Thanks for contributing, Erica! Now, how many family, friends (or strangers) know about your struggles with weight and food? Did opening up help you let go of some shame? xo…Sunny