Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Formspring=hellspring, sort of like the hellmouth?

deviant art

So I jumped on a bandwagon awhile ago and created a formspring account.  And after reading my *questions* today and the *questions* and answers of other people I follow, I’m about ready to delete my account even though A) sometimes it’s been a great deal of fun and B) I’ve gotten some serious questions from anonymous users about recovery and I don’t think they would have asked me if it was not an anonymous forum.

These *questions* are rarely questions, but are accusations and insults, placing the person who is supposed to come up with some great answer in a defensive position.  I’ve seen people get outright attacked on formspring.  I’ve seen conversations take place that are the equivalent of a catfight.  I’ve seen dirty laundry aired, often not by the person with the account, but by the person asking the *question* (starred, because it so rarely is an actual question but rather a statement of accusation).

This morning, one of my *questions* was:

You seem to be an intelligent person, so why can’t you just let your ed go and stop talking about it? Do you really think you’re in recovery, because you still seem very preoccupied with ed related things.

Yes, this was my question.  I have a feeling it came from the same person who asked me to define what fully recovered meant and asked if I considered myself fully recovered.  My answer to that question:

I consider myself recovered. For me, this means that there is a lack of behaviors and a lack of a desire to act on those behaviors or return to that lifestyle. I still struggle with body distortion, but I think it’s going to take awhile for me to be able to see how I really look when I looked at myself through a certain lens for so many years. But although I know I don’t see myself the way I actually am, there isn’t the hatred and desire to change what I see anymore.

Notice the “for me” preface to my definition, because I realize that everyone has their own definition of recovery.  And notice that I am honest is admitting I still struggle with body image distortion issues.  (Which, actually, I think the vast majority of American women have, even though they don’t have an eating disorder. Thank you, media.)

It’s not the first time my recovery has been challenged on formspring.  And I want to thank one poster who pointed out that of all the people obsessed with my definition of recovery and my state of recovery, it’s not me.  I’m secure in my knowledge of where I am.  But all these other people want to throw labels around.  I have some questions.

A) What is it about me saying I’m recovered that seems to be such a threat to some people?

B) If you are spending this much time obsessing about my recovery, how much time do you spend working on your own?

C) Why do you think it is appropriate to ask these questions in the first place?

Has anyone else noticed that the majority of insults and accusations and gossip are occurring between people with eating disorders or between people who used to have eating disorders?  Now, I might be mistaken, but having an eating disorder is hellish, and recovering from one is hellishness times 100, and it seems to me that we should support one another and encourage one another and not ask asinine questions such as, “Why can’t you just get over your eating disorder?” (yes, that is an actual question someone got asked.)  Bullying people (and that is what these *questions* amount to) is going to help the situation how?

I can laugh at the *questions* left on my page.  But I’m in a strong enough place of self-awareness and recovery that I know the comments are coming from ignorance and they don’t get me down or change how I act or influence my decisions.  But I am concerned that there are people who are not in that secure place of identity and recovery and they are taking these comments to heart.

So here is my plea to the people leaving these questions: stop the hurtful comments and questions and if you have a personal problem with someone, deal with it appropriately and privately.

Here is my wish for those on the receiving end: do not let these people change who you are, where you are in recovery, or influence your motivation for recovery.  Do not doubt yourself based on comments from someone who doesn’t know the whole picture but is generally gathering information off of the facebook feed rather than knowledge of you as a whole person.  Do not feel the need to defend yourself to them.  Delete their questions, set your account so that you can’t receive anonymous questions, and block people who routinely ask the asinine questions.  You do not need this in your life.  You need every ounce of energy you have in order to fight off the eating disorder.  Don’t waste it on formspring.

I’ve chosen to answer most of the asinine and ignorant questions.  And as I continue to do so, my answers get more and more snippy, which is something I don’t like about myself and which is why I may just delete the whole thing.

The option to post anonymous questions is not the same thing as being given permission to engage in cyber bullying.  It’s a sad reflection on the lives of those asking these questions and it’s a sad reflection on the state of the eating disorder community right now.


June 8, 2010 - Posted by | Communication, Eating Disorders, identity | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Well said Alexis…as usual.

    Comment by Diana | June 8, 2010 | Reply

  2. Amen, sister friend!

    You should forgo the whole thing…is it doing any good or is it all catty/hating comments? If it’s more frustrating than anything just be done with it.
    In my opinion.

    Comment by missymiller | June 8, 2010 | Reply

    • I get a lot of genuine questions about what it’s like to be recovered and how I got there. And I do have fun with the general “get to know you” questions. I’m more concerned about the people who ARE being hurt by these type of comments.

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | June 8, 2010 | Reply

  3. I’m really glad you chose to blog about this subject because I have had qualms about this formspring business since I began seeing it on so many people’s facebook pages. I acknowledge you for having the ability to discern the ignorance in these comments and not allowing them to effect you. I have another issue with formspring within the recovery … See Morecommunity as well… I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people ask questions such as “how much do you weigh?” “what was your lowest weight?” “what is your goal weight?” etc., and then the owners of the accounts actually answering them! Not only that, but linking them to their facebook account so everyone on their facebook can see their answer. It is very upsetting to me because it is can trigger so many other people who did not necessarily choose to view their formspring and such b.s. questions that mean absolutely nothing. Many of these women know better than to openly post these kinds of things yet it doesn’t seem to matter. And it doesn’t trigger me, but I know if I was still in that dark place, it would. So that’s my rant for today lol.

    Comment by Serafina | June 8, 2010 | Reply

  4. Just forget formspring. If people want aswers to their questions they should ask you, instead of writing hurtful stuff.

    You are an inspiration, no more no less.

    Comment by Kat | June 8, 2010 | Reply

    • I don’t think some people would feel comfortable asking some of the questions they do if they couldn’t do so anonymously. And I have gotten some very good questions about recovery and how I got there and suggestions ranging from how I found help to whether I knew of any good books about teenage suicide. And I love answering the silly get to know you questions.

      MY concern isn’t for me. It’s for the people that are being hurt by comments that are left on their pages.

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | June 8, 2010 | Reply

  5. hello lovely,
    i also like it cuz it’s entertaining…but i have noticed u get sooooo many of those ridiculous ppl who need to put u down to make themselves feel better.
    but screw them and their insecurities. YOU know the truth and YOU know where u are. and the people that love you know the truth and THAT’S what matters.
    i dont even think u should answer those questions anymore, bec u’ve posted about it here, on facebook and on ur formspring. if people stillll need to attack u, enough is enough.

    also, a lot of the regular eating disorder questions, i feel like are just ppl with curiousity that don’t have eating disorders and bec it’s such a hidden disease, here is a forum where they can anonymously ask those questions…those q’s dont bother me so much. for ex, why do u have an ed? how does it affect ur day? what kind of help do u get for it? why are u still struggling after being in hsopitals? etc etc etc

    Comment by rockstar | June 8, 2010 | Reply

  6. Yes it really is ridiculous that some ppl will Try to put you down. I think its a mix of things, but most ppl probably just don’t understand the concept of an ED. By just talking about it you are helping yourself remember that you ARE recovering, you are also opening awareness to the misunderstood eating disorders. Try to choose not to let those comments get to you. Some people are just pure rude and intrusive without a thought to how the one on the receiving end.

    Comment by mylifemywishfulthinking | June 10, 2010 | Reply

    • As I stated on other comments, these *questions* don’t get to me, personally. But I have seen them really hurt other people. I don’t think this is a good culture for youth today, given that bullying in person is already a significant problem in schools. This just makes it easier for bullies to act.

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | June 10, 2010 | Reply

  7. I am with you on the obsession with ED. I will always be obsessed with the disorder, whether or not i am recovered. My beautiful baby sister died because of ED. How could I not be obsessed with stopping him in his tracks, keeping him from ruining so many other families’ lives?
    I am dedicated to seeing this disease to the end. But not my end. Its end.

    Comment by wednesday v | June 10, 2010 | Reply

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