Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Take your voice back and use it


Someone’s status update on facebook got me thinking today, and it got me thinking only because I’ve seen a lot of similar updates.  They go something along the line of “My treatment team just isn’t seeing that I’m not doing well right now.”  Insert “slipping” or sometimes “sucking ass” or “failing miserably” for “not doing well” and you’ve got a significant number of status updates on the eating disordered Facebook community.

I can’t say I’ve never felt the same way.  And even right now, I feel like my treatment team isn’t “getting it”–but not “getting it” as in “I’m falling apart in front of their eyes and they don’t see a thing” but not “getting it” as in “I am trying my damndest to explain to them what is going on and my words are coming up against a brick wall.”

Do you see the difference?  In the first example, I’d be expecting my treatment team to read my mind and see what is going on in the hours and days that they don’t see me each week.  I’m not telling them anything.  Perhaps I may say, “Oh, things suck” but as if that’s not an overused phrase that doesn’t need further explication.

In the second example, I am telling them how I’m feeling and what is going on on a daily basis.  I’m letting them in on my week.  They don’t have to guess.  They don’t have to make conjectures.  They don’t have to be mindreaders.

I understand that it’s difficult to speak up, that it sometimes feels easier to use actions instead of words.  But if you choose to do that, you cannot blame your treatment team for not getting the whole picture.  Doctors and therapists, even though they are trained in the ways of the mind, are not mindreaders.

At some point, if you want to get better, you are going to have to take recovery into your own hands and talk to your treatment team and be honest with them.  They cannot help you if they don’t know what’s going on.  All they can do is guess, which usually leads to frustration on everyone’s part.

If you haven’t been honest and forthright, don’t blame the treatment center for failing you.  Don’t blame your doctor or your therapist.  Don’t blame the meal plan or the nutritionist or the unfairness of the situation.

The eating disorder took your voice away.  Take it back and use it.  It’s the only way you can expect them to help you.


December 31, 2009 - Posted by | Communication, Eating Disorders, recovery | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. This is why it’s so important to have a treatment team that you can trust. The same goes for family and friends, too. I think that sometimes it’s really difficult to ask for help. We don’t want to place our problems on someone else. I’d sit in group, quiet, on the verge of tears, and when I was asked if I was ok? “Yeah, I’m fine.” Obviously, that’s not going to help any!

    Comment by Jen | December 31, 2009 | Reply

  2. I agree that it is obviously ideal to be able to speak up and tell your treatment team what is going on. But, a lot of us end up in treatment because we are unable to either really figure out what is going on we are unable to voice it. I think that’s also part of why it’s valuable to see e.d. specialists. They are – theoretically – trained to see when the e.d. is taking over.

    For me, I have been in recovery long enough that I can vocalize what’s going on 90% of the time, and my team trusts me to do so. AND there are times when the e.d. strangles my voice, and it’s not a matter of simply choosing to get it back; it’s a matter of I CANNOT access my voice in that moment. I think those moments are really terrifying for people, and for me, it has been invaluable to see that my team is trained well enough and experienced enough to know when the e.d.’s voice is coming out instead of mine. I do think that, to a certain extent, that is part of their job.

    Comment by sayhealth | January 2, 2010 | Reply

    • I do agree that a lot of us end up in treatment because we haven’t been able to speak up. But at some point, it becomes a conscious decision to speak up. Not doing so is a way that you still give the eating disorder more power. This doesn’t mean that by speaking up you will always be immediately understood or heard. It means that you are giving your treatment team the chance. And once you’ve started speaking up, even if you aren’t understood immediately, you have opened up the doors for communication and the opportunity to be understood is made possible.

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | January 3, 2010 | Reply

  3. the compulsive overeating take my voice and my life i hate this feelings

    Comment by yanarr | January 8, 2010 | Reply

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