Should You Hide Your Eating Disorder?

No matter what you’re going through in life, trying to overcome it by yourself is often counterproductive. In the realm of eating disorders, keeping your illness a secret or trying to overcome your struggle without professional help is, in most cases, not helpful for your recovery.

Eating disorders are very isolative illnesses and they feed off the time and energy put into them. When someone living with an eating disorder trying to keep it to themselves all of their willpower, strength, focus, and overall energy will be dedicated to keeping the illness from others. This is often due to shame or the fear that their “special” thing will be taken from them, at least, that is my personal experience.

Your eating disorder becomes a safety net, something you can always go back to, something that makes you feel special, something that is shameful but at the same time something you don’t want to give up out of fear of “what people will think if they find out?”, “what will happen if I lose it?, or Who will I be?” These fears lead to a life of secrecy, isolation, and not letting others in to help you, and it becomes a negative cycle of fear, anxiety, anger, depression.

The only way to break this negative cycle of self-destructing behaviors and thoughts is to allow yourself to ask for help. Even if it is the last thing you want to do, even when you are terrified of what could happen, even if you are ashamed and don’t want people to know; you must find someone you can trust and let them know you are struggling. It is the first step to breaking free from your eating disorder.

Keeping your eating disorder a secret will keep you in a constant state of worry and distress which will affect not only yourself, but also the people around you.

Your eating disorder isn’t the real you, it’s not even a part of you. It is an illness that saps the energy out of you and keeps you from living. Just imagine if you were hanging from a rooftop everyday where nobody could see you and without having a support system to help and/or catch you. Eventually you’d get tired and lose your grip.

Revealing you have a problem is difficult and oftentimes it causes feelings of shame and fear to arise, but it’s important to remember that these feelings are temporary.

It is brave and courageous to admit and reveal you are struggling to someone you trust. Don’t let yourself hit rock bottom or grind away at trying to get better all by yourself, but allow yourself to reach out for (professional) help, because being vulnerable is one of the keys to setting you free.

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  1. Avatarsays: Sarah James

    This article was not helpful at all, or atleast needs a lot added to it on a “to be continued.” I thought it would go into describing the many professional relationships and whether or not sharing your eating disorder with your co workers would be destructive or not? Please re-iterate. It went nowhere.

    1. Hi Sarah,


      I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t find this article helpful. One of our other contributors wrote an article that addresses eating disorders at the workplace and how to create a supportive work environment. You can read it here.


      Wishing you the best!

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