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574_0_d859a0eda60a5cc4835062706b865a79I remember walking through the mall with my mom and she asked me “have you had any troubles today?” The word troubles in that context for her meant eating disordered behaviors; particularly purging.

“No.” I pushed her way, saying it as though she was crazy. Saying it as though she was rude for asking me.

I lied. I was fifteen years old. I remember that specific moment so clearly because I felt ashamed, embarrassed and alone. Saying yes, telling the truth was seemingly impossible for me right then and there. I felt a twinge of guilt too. Eventually though lying stopped being so hard. I could lie about anything, any behavior, how I’m doing, how I’m feeling, what I needed at the time or even what I wanted.

I lied so much I didn’t know what was true anymore.

You’re might be asking yourself why I lied so much. Or you’re reading this feeling very uncomfortable because right now your life is built upon a delicately constructed house of lies that you are waiting to come crashing down at any moment.

I started lying out of shame. I kept lying out necessity. I continued to lie because I became so sick that those lies became the basis for which my life was built on.

My identity was then my illness and I was protecting that at all cost; be it real relationships, my health, school, my family, or my sanity. There was no price that was too high. I lost friends, respect, people’s trust in me, my own dignity. It was not until I learned, felt and understood one truth that things began to change:

I don’t know who I am.

There were no more lies to tell because I was literally falling part for the world to see. No more hiding. Everyone was watching my demise. I wasn’t fooling anyone. I wasn’t even fooling myself anymore into thinking that this was sustainable.

Grasping at straws I asked for help.

And kept asking for help and kept asking for help over and over and over again until I found hope and then clung to that hope in order to realize what the truth was:

I’m okay. I don’t have to be ashamed. I’m allowed to make mistakes.

… and lying will kill me.

My name is Erin and This is Where I Stand.