Category - FAMILY Category - MENTAL HEALTH Category - PAST ISSUES

Re-Post: When Anorexia Struggles Get In the Way of Honest Communication

This post was originally taken from the blog The Screenwriter’s Wife, but I’m also posting here to add to the collection of marriage stories.

Every marriage has their ups and downs. Every marriage has their weaknesses and strengths. The question then becomes, “What are the challenges, and how do we get through them?” For my own marriage, my husband and I each bring our own past and issues to the table. For me, I’ve struggled from anorexia for years. When I met my husband, I let him know about my anorexia before he asked me to be his girlfriend. My husband said that me having anorexia did not change his mind at all about being with me, which made me feel cared about at the time.

For us, in the beginning of our relationship, I was in an out-patient treatment center, and my husband attended the Multi-Family Group days so he could learn more about eating disorders and what the best ways to be supportive were. I was honestly shocked at how involved he wanted to be. I wasn’t used to someone wanting to know more about my struggles, and it was very difficult for me to have him see that side of me. Originally my husband would say the wrong things and make careless comments that hindered my recovery and would ignite “ED” (eating disorder) thoughts. For him to see me crying over trying to eat a salad, or having a panic attack and throwing my food away was difficult; I feared that him seeing that side meant he wouldn’t love me. That wasn’t true at all, and was quite the opposite, he said that seeing that side of me made him feel closer because I must have trusted him enough to let him see that side.

My husband witnessed how difficult it was for me to eat and to make meals daily. Luckily, he is the cook in the relationship and was very encouraging. Still, there are times when ED attacks come and my husband is insensitive or forgets that an ED attack is happening and comes across as angry towards me, and I then shut down.

Some days I can go to him, but if ED thoughts have been there for a couple hours, it gets harder for me to reach out because I get nervous that he will be upset that ED thoughts are back. I know that my anorexia is my responsibility and for the most part, I can handle ED thoughts and brush them aside. But I am currently pregnant, and this pregnancy has challenged my eating disorder in so many ways. 

Pregnancy is a huge change in a marriage, and when the pregnant women struggles from anorexia that brings on more anxieties. What my husband and I have learned through being together, and going through my recovery, is that my husband reaches me in a way that makes ED attacks/thoughts not as strong. 

Through everything we have been through, we have learned that trying different ways to solve a problem has been key. Try one thing, if it fails, come up with a new strategy. Just never give up. What we learned worked was honest and open communication, detaching the anorexia from myself and referring to it as “ED”, and that when I start to have ED thoughts come up I should let my husband know immediately so he is aware of what’s going on for me. We make sure to keep our connection strong, we are open and honest with each other, and that has helped in keeping ED at bay. 

In marriage, there are many variables that can affect the relationship kids, illness, finances, job change, job loss, an affair, a death in the family. The key to overcoming these obstacles is being able to be open and honest with your spouse. To lean on them during a struggle you’re going through. Knowing that you have someone by your side no matter what happens is what gets you through hard times. That means trusting your spouse to be there. That is why my husband and I have learned that being honest about our struggles has only brought us closer. With that knowledge, we know we can rely on one another no matter what the challenge is. We are not only lovers but best friends, and that has made all the difference in our marriage when struggles come our way, because even if the romance dies down during a struggle, our friendship is impenetrable, allowing us to weather through the storm together.

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