"Oh this will be the making of you."
"One day you will look back on this and be thankful."
"You can't see it now - but this is a blessing."
"Every cloud has a silver lining."
These words are kind. These words are quite possibly correct depending on your definitions of silver linings and blessings. Yet as you say your genuine "thank you for your support" and accept the hug of your friend or family member - you can't help but want to punch them in the face right?
"No it's not a bloody blessing."
"I didn't ask for this and I don't want it."
"I don't want to look back some day. I want to feel ok! Now!"
"You know what you can do with your silver lining."
I can't honestly say I've ever been thankful for my eating disorder. I still feel like it stole six years of my life. The depression, the suicidal thoughts, inpatient treatments? Nah honestly still doesn't feel like a blessing.
Am I the lucky one?
Has it taught me lessons I wouldn't have learned otherwise?
I'm still grappling with the degree to which I should be thankful or whether I should see it all as one big blessing. I'll keep grappling. The answers will come.
But for now, let me introduce you to my silver lining. The reason it was actually worthwhile. The reason I am beginning to be thankful. The reason is you. Yes, you.
You are my silver lining.
There's a good chance I don't know you. I may never meet you or even communicate with you. It's possible that I might know you, you could be a friend of mine. Someone who reads these blogs to y'know "support the guy who's had problems." You might not like me. That's fair.
You may have stumbled across this blog when you were looking for a funny meme online or stalking the new guy at work's Facebook page. (Cuz we all do that right?)
Either way, you're here.
You're my silver lining.
Let me tell you why.
I thought I was the only one
Through different parts of my journey I have believed many things. Some have had a greater effect than others. Here are just a couple of the "you are the only one's" I have believed.
You are the only one at this Bible College who is questioning their whole faith.
You are the only one who has ever got all As yet dropped out of 3 degrees.
You are the only male in your town with an eating disorder.
You are the only one who carves words into your skin.
You are the only one who binges and vomits until they can't stand up.
You see the reason I believed these things was not because I didn't know statistics. I know males get eating disorders. I know people doubt their faith. Smart people leave degrees. My problem was not a lack of basic knowledge.
It was a lack of people. Real people. With real stories. Who were honest enough to share where they had been. People I could look at and say. He's like me. He's been there. Or she feels it too. I am not the only one.
And that's why. That's why you are my silver lining.
I don't want any person to ever feel the way I did. Struggles spread in silence.
One of the greatest powers a struggle has is in convincing you that you are the only one. That you're alone. That the things you feel are completely unique. That no-one else would ever get it.
That's why I'm honest.
That's why I post about my weakness. The dirty parts. The shameful parts. That you might see you are not alone. I may not have suffered what you are suffering right now. But someone has. You are not alone.
Knowing you are not alone doesn't fix the problem. It's not a magic potion that changes everything. But it can be a powerful start. It can be reassurance. It can be empowerment to be able to tell yourself "I am not the only one." "I am not alone." "I can get better."
Speaking about what you struggle with can be hella scary. It may be the last thing you want to do. But I can promise you it is empowering. Being able to communicate what you feel is in essence admitting that it's ok to feel those things. No matter how dark they might be. It's ok to feel...
Not having enough of those honest role models in my life hurt. I craved for them.
Now though my craving has shifted. I crave to be that person for someone else. Someone who is honest about their weakness. Not for attention or a "poor him" response. No thanks.
But for you. My silver lining. I want you to know you are not alone. You are not weird for what you feel and you are not the only one.