Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Little Miss Sunshine


 

Little Miss Sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine

So I just took one of those quizzes on Facebook.  And we all know how accurate they are.  (I really need to come up with a symbol that signifies sarcasm.)  But this, combined with an email conversation I had last night, got me thinking.

In seventh grade, I was given an award (by the teachers in the building) at the end of the school year: Brighten Your Corner Award.  I was the girl who was most likely to make them smile.  And, I was.  I had that job down perfectly.  Mind you, the next year, when my first depressive episode hit, I was referred to the guidance counselor by these same teachers for crying all the time.

How many of us were these girls?  The ones who smiled for everyone, who, like the Little Miss in the picture, kept their hands over their mouths?  I don’t think it’s a mistake that this Little Miss is yellow: the Golden Girl.  We don’t do anything wrong.  We don’t break the rules.  We do as we’re told.  We are the overachievers.  We rarely speak our minds.  

All the while we are breaking apart inside and breaking down physically.  But we still keep up the act.

And then, one day, either out of sheer exhaustion, frustration, or because we’ve been to enough therapy sessions, or because we’re suddenly in a treatment center and very angry about it, our voice explodes out from our mouths.  Once this happens, there is no going back.  

The first time it happened for me was the first time I was inpatient for the eating disorder.  I didn’t want to be there, I didn’t want to gain weight, and I didn’t think I even had an eating disorder.  My parents would have shook their heads in shame if they knew the rules I broke that time around, how resistant I was, how petulant I was.  How I sat in my chair upside down with my legs going up the wall.  About a year later, outpatient, I told my psychiatrist to “fuck off.”  (He laughed, by the way.  He had been trying to get me to display anger since I had been seeing him.  But being the good girl I was, I refused to give in.)

I needed to find the middle ground, which is called being tactful or assertive (as opposed to passive or aggressive or passive-aggressive).  I think that for a lot of people without eating disorders, this is a natural process of development, but for those of us with eating disorders–who used the eating disorders as a way to communicate or as a way to isolate–the ability to communicate in that middle ground is difficult.  I know I am still tempted to bite my tongue and keep silent in certain situations.  I also know that I can, usually in writing, voice some very strong opinions that come off differently than I intended.  

This is the third post in a row where things seem to be about balance.  We can’t stay silent and expect to get better.  Neither can we abuse anyone verbally (including ourselves) and expect to get better.  We have to find the grey in between the black and the white.

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July 13, 2009 - Posted by | Communication, Eating Disorders | , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. You’re so right in this post, that was totally me, as well. I did what I was supposed to do, when I was supposed to do it, and kept my mouth shut when it came to my thoughts and emotions and ESPECIALLY feelings.

    And, I’ve never done anything in moderation, in the middle, and I have the most difficult time doing things that way because it just seems so void of passion. Unfeeling.

    As usual, you have me thinking. Thank you.

    Comment by Jessica | July 13, 2009 | Reply

  2. Wow. This post is amazing. I’ve read it 3x already and I’m now reading it a 4th through my tears.

    People are always telling me I’m too quiet and I need to “rebel” more. It’s really hard constantly trying to stay strong when I’m dying inside…

    I don’t have anorexia, but I definitely have by other battles that I’m constantly fighting. You’ve for sure given me inspiration I can get through it 🙂

    So anyway, I really really love your blog and thanks for everything 🙂

    Comment by piccolaitaliana | May 27, 2011 | Reply


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