Fight On: Battling Shame Through Sharing
By Rachel Glover
Eating Disorder. Binge eating disorder. I saw these words a lot when I was trying to self-diagnose the pain I was going through. I just didn’t want to believe them. Or that they described me. I couldn’t really have one, could I? I was the confident one. I was the one people came to for advice. I was the “ok” one. But I wasn’t really. At least I hadn’t been for a while. I knew that something was wrong. I would eat and then I would keep eating. And then I would feel disgusted and ashamed of myself. On the worst days, I really hated who I was. It was a cycle and I couldn’t break it. That’s how I ended up looking for answers online. Searching for a magic remedy to regain control.
Does this sound like you?
Maybe it does. When I was looking online I recognized myself in a lot of the stories I was reading except there was one major difference: these beautiful strong people were survivors, they had conquered their battle. And I hadn’t. I was trying but I kept slipping. I would tell myself I was finally stopping, and then go back to the disorder. I really needed help. If you still recognize yourself in this story, then maybe you are looking for that magic remedy too.
Here is my advice: Take this painful, heart breaking suffering and turn it to beauty. Take your experience, even if you are still in the middle of it, and share it. The first time I told a friend what I was struggling with was very emotional; I didn’t say three words before I started to cry. I felt a strange mixture of embarrassed and so, so exhausted. But instead of judging or not understanding, she listened. Then she did something I hadn’t expected: She cried too. A few weeks later she told me that she also had been struggling with an unhappiness similar to my own. She told me that hearing me talk about it, the way I desired so much more for myself then the anger I was feeling towards myself, provided her with encouragement to try to address her own struggle. She told me I had given her the motivation to embrace herself for who she was and move on to a better phase of life. She taught me the feeling of giving back.
Connect with others. I did and it saved my life. My friend and I are in recovery together. We provide support and strength for each other. She still struggles. So do I. We are by no means perfect. We are human. But we are taking what is very hard and scary and using it to make things better. We are each given a battle to fight. For some people it is material, for others it is against very literal opponents, and for some of us it is against ourselves. “We are our own toughest critic.” That’s probably a saying you’ve heard before. But we can also be our own fiercest motivators. That’s what I strive for every day. To help myself by helping others. That’s why I take the toughest experiences and put them to good use.
In my books, that is conquering the battle I have been given. In my books, that means I have won.
Rachel Glover lives in downtown Toronto and loves being in the city with all its noise and energy. She is also passionate about art, football, and music. In her downtime she’ll grab coffee with friends or read in the bath. Her motto, one that’s gotten her through a lot, is: “The toughest battles are given only to those strong enough to fight them.”