When deciding who to tell and who not to tell about your eating disorder, realize that this is a personal decision. You can take time to make the decision that’s best for you. And remember to go to the One who knows you better than anyone to help you. Trust the Lord to lead you in this decision.
Whether it’s your parents, siblings, children, other relatives, friends, co-workers, neighbors or others who attend your church, the decision of who and who not to tell is a matter that deserves great care. Why not pray about this decision and see how God leads you? He knows what’s best for you even if you aren’t sure of it yourself. He knows who will be supportive. He also knows who may not be supportive, but who you might have a learning and growing experience with by disclosing your eating disorder.
Given the guilt and shame that eating disorder sufferers often carry, it’s difficult to tell others about the eating disorder. It’s generally hard for any of us to admit our struggles to others. You might want to discuss the guilt and shame you feel with your counselor as you decide on who and who not to tell about your eating disorder. May these feelings not prevent you from telling someone who could genuinely support you in your recovery.
One thing to consider is that once you tell someone, you cannot “untell” that person. If you are unsure on how others will react, please discuss this with your counselor or someone else you trust about the possible outcomes. If you haven’t told anyone else yet, you might want to consider finding an eating disorder support message board and discussing your decision with others there. Sometimes discussing things with others online instead of face-to-face can be helpful. And perhaps they can share their experiences or other insights with you.
There may be those that you have to tell because they will need to be involved in your recovery in some way. Some of them may not be as understanding as others, but remember the truth. God loves you all the same eating disorder or no eating disorder. Your identity comes from Him and not what others think of you or say about you. There is hope for recovery no matter what others say, so if those you tell are not supportive, remember that does not erase that hope. Ultimately, they cannot stand in the way of your recovery unless you let them.
The response of some of those you tell might surprise you. They may be more supportive than you ever expected. Also, even though they might not share some of the same behaviors as you have with the eating disorder, they might be able to relate to the underlying issues that you have. They may also be able to help you find the help you need, and some of them, might even be able to go to God on your behalf. Who couldn’t use prayer support during eating disorder recovery?
You can ask God for direction and listen for His response and follow His leading as you decide who and who not to tell about your eating disorder. He knows what’s best for you.