I truly detest lying. Not only am I really lousy at it (I have the opposite of a poker face), I am just a person who believes so strongly in integrity and honesty.
However, I lie a LOT lately. When you suffer from a mental illness of any kind lying becomes habit. “I’m fine” comes out of your mouth constantly. Someone asks how you are and you smile and just say, “I’m fine, thanks”! You smile constantly when inside your mind you are screaming.
Why do we lie? Many reasons really.
We don’t want to worry you. We don’t want people to think we are “crazy”. We don’t want to sound like we are just complaining or seeking attention. We don’t want you to stand there not knowing what to say.
The worse part of sharing your mental illness with someone who is NOT mentally ill are when they reply with things like, “I know how you feel”, or worse, say things like, “Just think positive”, “You dwell too much on negative stuff”.
Trying to explain “why” I feel the way I do when I am depressed, anxious or lately tortured by my ED is impossible.
I don’t even truly know why my eating disorder has recurred. That’s what the professionals are for…I want to know as much as anyone else why I am doing this to myself when for once in my life all feels right in my world.
This is the reason so many people with eating disorders hide it. It makes no sense to us or to anyone else and hearing the platitudes (even when said with good intentions), just makes us want to hide our disease even more. No one understands. So, I lie.
I was talking to my SO about it last night because I have been trying so hard to figure out why now. I did come up with some fairly reasonable thoughts. Maybe with things going so well in my life I am just scared of being happy. Eh, maybe.
What really made sense to me was pointed out by one of my friends who also suffers from an ED.
Right now, even though my life is going well, it is all out of my control really.
My housing is based on my being in therapy, and following all the rules of housing. I never know when they might decide I have been here “too long” and need to leave, or if I slip up and then what? They are in charge of me having a place to live.
I am still waiting for approval for my SSI, so I have no income. The decision of whether I will have an income at some point is in THEIR hands. They need to decide if I am “sick enough”. That’s another topic all together…Trying to prove how bad an invisible illness is.
Then there is my sweet, caring man who helps me with everything that Food stamps don’t pay for; Car insurance, cable, internet, toilet paper, shampoo, etc. etc. I was having to panhandle for all these things before. What if he decides that all of my “issues” are too much for him and just breaks it off with me? Where will I be then??
Broke and brokenhearted.
Anyway, when I was pointing all of this out to him last night on the phone he made the comment that “everyone” worries about those things. “Losing an income” etc. I told him “Yes, but most of them don’t suffer from a mental illness” My anxiety disorder, depression, OCD, ED, makes all of these worries a million times “bigger” than they are for the person who is not ill. His comment made me feel like he was minimizing my illness…comparing it to himself and others. So not cool.
So, now I don’t want to talk to him or anyone about these things going on in my head.
So, I’ll just lie and say….”I’m fine”.