Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

More on Facebook

So I decided I needed another post on facebook, and it probably won’t be the last.

Let me make one thing clear: I wish I had had facebook when I was starting to accept I had an eating disorder.  I would have found other people like me instead of feeling like I was the only one. I could have found support; I could have found suggestions for healing; I could have found places to get professional help; I could have expressed myself and been heard.  All things I didn’t have in the beginning.

I am concerned about one thing–posts expressing the desire to quit, how worthless the person is (not feels, but is), and how pointless all forms of help are.

Again, let me clear on one point: We have all felt like quitting, we’ve all felt worthless, and we’ve all felt that help is pointless.

Let me write the same thing in two different ways:

1. I’ve been feeling frustrated lately and exhausted and this brings up feelings of wanting to quit and I could really use some encouragement right now.

2. Life sucks.  It’s not worth it.  It’s pointless, and I’m not bothering fighting the eating disorder anymore.


1. I feel so isolated and alone and don’t know where to reach out for help.  I know other people are out there fighting, but I’m having a difficult time connecting with them right now.

2. Everyone hates me.  Everything I say is wrong and I might as well just shut up because that’s what other people want me to do anyway–just disappear.


In both cases, Sentence 1 expresses feeling, difficult feelings, and asks for help.  There is no blaming.  There is the confusion and pain that come with fighting an eating disorder and the fear of seeking/asking for help.

In both cases, Sentence 2 expresses the same feelings, but blames the people reading and/or makes offering help nearly impossible.  How do you convince someone life is worth it?

AND what happens if the person reading Sentence 2 isn’t in such a hot place him/herself?  If the reader is already contemplating giving up and thinking about the pointlessness of fighting and of life in general, Sentence 2 is only going to reaffirm those feelings and prevent that person from asking for help.  So now we have two people on the verge of quitting and shutting out help and advice.

No one is saying that you should silence yourself on bad days.  These are the days when you need to voice your feelings the most.  But–and this is one hell of a significant but–how we word things has a great impact on those around us.  While we can’t be responsible for everyone’s feelings, we can be responsible for our own actions and the likelihood our actions and words have of harming others.

Facebook is a wonderful, needed form of support.  Responsibility needs to come along with the territory, however.


April 13, 2011 - Posted by | Communication, Eating Disorders, feelings, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. WOW!! Great insight! It does matter how we word things. Sentence #1 in both cases leaves it open for discussion and is more of an effort to reach out for support. Like you said #2 only leaves the reader feeling closed off without any recourse. Thanks for taking the time to put into words things I have been thinking for a long time. I used to belong to an Army Mom’s support page on FB but left because of the same kinds of wording of posts. It was dragging me down so I quit the group. It makes me want to examine my motives more before posting.

    Comment by Cathy | April 13, 2011 | Reply

  2. This is true, the way things are worded has a huge impact. Except I’m not sure those who are really struggling are thinking clearly enough to reword. (Kind of like really tough thought logs with no disputations to the beliefs.) When I see updates like sentence #2, I know whatever I say will not be heard.

    Comment by Jen | April 13, 2011 | Reply

  3. This is why I limit my contact with the ed world and people I have met in treatment. I get so tired of seeing on fb that people are in treatment again after just leaving and also seeing the posts from their treatment freinds saying oh I am coming back to. Like its a freakin family renioun and like its summer camp or something. I feel like alot of those people think this is a big game. Same reason why I left formspring…it became eating disordered centered and I want to focus on other things in life besides eating disorders. Same thing goes with my FB.

    Comment by Cheryl | April 15, 2011 | Reply

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