Again, the loneliness of my disease reaches out to slap me as I recall vividly those scenes of despair and trying to cry out for real help, but shutting myself down just as quickly. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I wish I’d called even one of those therapists and taken the risk of being “seen” authentically, which would have broken the silence around me more decisively. As it turned out, I had to get married to create the separation from my family that led me to finally seek help after hitting my last bottom.
I also wish I’d been something other than a number to my parents, who never seemed to comment on the fact that I was thriving academically at Harvard, and even on my way to graduating magna cum laude. My brains came second to my body, and probably even to me at that point because it felt like the only thing anyone cared about. What could have possibly made this nightmare end sooner for me? More awareness of eating disorders, and open talk by people who were in recovery, and who could demystify the process of getting better. It felt like a huge effort to even find the right people to reach out to, which is certainly not the case any longer. There are blogs like this one, celebrities who go public (including the Disney actress who entered a treatment center this week for her eating disorder), and books galore for those who want to read more before they reach out.
Still, there is always the shame and fear before identifying yourself as someone who is seen as “broken” by others, and whose behavior others find disgusting. So I salute anyone who has the courage to raise their hand and ask for assistance, because by doing so, you enter a fraternity and sorority of some of the finest, most successful, and most interesting people on the face of the earth.