“Coming Out” and Yellow Ratatouille

No, I’m not gay.

Trust me, I thought I was gay for 15 minutes in college because guys seemed to be allergic to me. So for 15 minuets I was sure I was gay until I saw some sorority rush party and from then on, my brain vomits at the thought of nearly anyone with a vagina.

But this is not about that closet. This is about the “eating disordered” closet.

In my opinion, eating disorders are diseases. I dont see many people ashamed of having the flu or cancer. Not that I’m comparing, but they are mental diseases that manifest physically. Yet people seem to be so ashamed of them. People will live their whole lives in this little prision built up in their mind without acknowledging that they have a problem. I call such people “the closeted eating disordered”.

Also, not everyone fits into the clinical definitiongs of “anorexics” or “bulimics”.

Maybe they still get their period, maybe they aren’t underweight, maybe they dont starve ALL the time, etc…

This was my excuse for not coming out. Every since I was 13 I had a problem. I didn’t “come out of the closet” until I was 20.  And I don’t think it was until I was 22 that I felt I was getting better (note: not saying I’m recovered as I still think I need some work).

Old habits die hard and many people dont want to change. And coming out and saying you have a problem will change things. Maybe you are embarassed. I know I was. But after I “came out”, to my surprise, everybody was either:

A) Supportive


B) Didn’t give  a shit cause it was so obvious!

It was like when Rosie O’Donell came out.

“Yea Eden, so you had an eating/exercise disorder…tell me something I dont know!”

I think most people would be surprised as to how much of a weight is lifted (pun intended) once you “come out”. No more lying:

“Yea, I just had a HUGE juicy burger, fries, and a calorific shake! I’m just naturall emaciated! Unicorns, raibows, ponies!!!”

Who are you trying to fool? The only person you are fooling is yourself. And I’m guess you already know the cold, hard truth.

Am I saying you have to tell everyone all your deepest, darkest, secrets? No. And believe me, most people dont give a shit. But I think you need to be honest with yourself and maybe with your therapist and close friends/family. Maybe you don’t want help and that’s fine too. But acting as if you don’t have issues will only make your internal prison more miserable and you quality of life will tarnish.

So come out already. Unless you’re stuck in a roomy walk-in-closet with Bradley Cooper. In that case, stay put.

Have you ever “come out”. It can be anything, an eating disorder, some other disease, maybe an obsession, maybe your secret love of the Jonas Brothers. I wont judge. Well, maybe I will if you like the Jonas Brothers.


I couldn’t be more appropriate to have a recipe at the end of this post, eh? Here’s one of my favorites. It’s like a “racist” ratatouille cause it’s mostly orange/yellow (racist towards the purple and green veggies). This serves two hungry people, 4 annoying weight conscious women, zero anorexics, and one Eden.

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 yellow bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 2 large yellow zucchini, diced
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tbs dried tarragon
  • 1 tbs dried oregano
  • 1 cup broth (divided into two 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tsp sugar or sweetener (I know, sounds weird but trust me)
  • salt and pepper to taste

I like to chop all my veggies into cubes and roughly the same size. Chop the onion.Cut bell peppers in thumb sized slices.Peel and dice eggplant.Dice zucchini.Peel, seed and chop tomatoes.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring constantly until golden.

Add eggplant and cook for about 5 minuets. Add the 1/2 cup broth  sliced bell peppers and cook for another 5 minuets. Add 1/2 cup broth  zucchini; stirring frequently for another three minuets. Add tomatoes and herbs. Cover the pan and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally; add additional water if necessary.

Uncover, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until vegetables are tender but still retain their shape and liquid has evaporated, 10 minutes.



32 thoughts on ““Coming Out” and Yellow Ratatouille

  1. I “came out” about my ED a long time ago. I was even featured in a newspaper and on TV in the town I lived while I was in college when they did an article and series on ED’s. All my family knows and most people I work with. Most friends know I am a “picky” eater but they may not realize the full extent of my disease – and yes, I agree, it is a disease. But it is the red-headed step child of diseases. The giant white elephant. Most people see it as a selfish vain “issue” and they judge you for it. It is so much more complex than that.
    I go thru phases of recovery and active ED – sort of like other diseases where you can have active and dormant stages. Right now, I am not in remission but I am trying to get back on track!
    Pretty recipe – and it could be my whole meal as well! Is yellow zucchini the same as yellow summer squash? I’ve only seen green zucchini where I live.

  2. I had to “come out” to my family when I was 13 about how I didn’t believe in God anymore. They raised my christian, my dad is a kids pastor, etc. The following years were rough, but even though my beliefs have not changed now, we can at least get along.

  3. One thing we talk about a lot in psychopathology is the stigma that comes with any type of psychological disease or disorder. You’re right – it IS a disease! But people aren’t nearly as comfortable with the label in psychological disorders as they are with purely biological disorders (though we are now seeing that there is not really a pure psychological or biological disease – they are almost always related). I think it is because throughout human history the view on the mind has been subject to much debate, beginning with the ancient Greeks. But the mind is one of the most powerful forces in our bodies – why shouldn’t it affect our physical health? Okay sorry for the babble…

    Anyways, it seems like a really positive decision that you made to “come out” and gain the support from others. It probably felt like a huge relief!

    I tend to hide my health issues from a lot of people, because I don’t want their pity or to for them to treat me differently. At the beginning I even hid my physical disabilities from my best friends and family! It was so painful for me to even talk about back then and any reminder that I wasn’t “like them” was not something I wanted to deal with. Since that time I’ve grown to accept certain things about where I’m at and it’s a lot easier for me to talk about. It helps to be able to rely on others.

  4. I used to be very self-destructive late middle school through early high school. i didn’t have friends, i had low low self-esteem, my family life was dysfunctional, etc but i finally “came out” to a close friend and she got help within minutes of me telling her. she was very supportive and i did end up changing. it went on for years until i finally told someone. and it really did change everything.

    ps, bring me that veggie dish please, i’m too lazy to make it. 🙂
    – Sharelle

  5. I just wanted to say thank you for this post. I recently started reading your blog (and by recently, I mean yesterday – really) and have loved what I’ve seen so far. Your honesty and way of delivering what you want to say is very refreshing.

    I’ve struggled with self-diagnosed binge eating for almost seven years now (wow – has it really been that long?) and have never told a single soul (well, I’m telling you – and I’ve “come out” to random internet strangers). It’s scary living this “secret” life that no one knows about and trying to battle everything on your own. I’ve come a far way on my journey to getting healthy, but I don’t think I will ever fully recover unless I am open with those who are close to me and willing to ask for their help and support. I know this – but I am still too scared to actually do it.

    On a lighter note – I have recently “come out” about having a blog to a few of my “real life” friends. None of them actually read it (yet) but they know it exists.

    • Wow, Sam. I hope you get the strength to start sharing your struggles more and more. You are not alone!!!
      Maybe you can start by going to groups in your community. too.

      • I hope so too. I’m just so scared that no one will understand and/or think less of me. I know this is probably an irrational fear but I can’t get past it. The more I read of others struggles and the strength they found to open up, the more I feel I can find that strength myself. I’m just not quite there yet.

      • This whole disease is based off an irrational fear. Fear of being out of control or “gaining”. Its all irrational. It wouldn’t be a problem if it were ration. People wont understand easily, but they will for sure not think less of you. They might think highly of you for being brave and vulnerable. And look, no body is perfect, that they can at least understand.

  6. i’ve “come out” exposing complete vulnerability to my husband that i can be a distant, cold hearted b*tch when i don’t want to be hurt. exposing and allowing someone into your life when you’re full of insecurities is not exactly a party i want to be invited to any time soon.

    i’ve come out recently to friends about my blog. i’m still in the closet about the fact that i do not have the same “faith” that my parents raised me with (they are very conservative fundamentalist evangelicals) and it’s pretty much a given that i feel the exact opposite on almost every issue/worldview except i have to keep my mouth shut because it absolutely crushes my mother to even *think* that i could possible be abandoning the “faith”

    yikes. heavy posts.

  7. Im a new reader to this blogworld and your blog cracks me up! I look forward to your posts everyday. I, too, have self deprecating humor and i appreciate when other people can poke fun at themselves and not be so damn serious. I was anorexic for a looooong time and “came out” to my family and it feels so good to be able to have support and have them understand the crazy in my head. not sure I’ll ever be recovered because I still have crazy thoughts, I just know better now not to listen and indulge them anymore. Anyway, thanks for making me laugh and being so open!

  8. My family/friends obviously knew there were issues, so even if we don’t tell them, they can physically see most of the time. However, once I did “come out,” I was amazed at how great everyone was. (No one said anything shitty to my face at least.) Like I said, it was such a relief, as the stigma associated with any mental issues can be the biggest barrier to recovery.

    I “came out” about my blog because of Deb and her calendar (see below). Again, one of the best things I did. Even though I’ve totally changed the focus of my blog since that time, it was great to be able to share “me” with those that actually knew me. http://abbyhasissues.com/2010/12/13/the-secrets-out-i-pose-with-produce/

  9. Coming out: I’m a man.

    Kidding. You’re a man. Seriously, you told us that.

    OK, this was really great and I’m sure you’ll be helping a lot of people by posting this honest post.

    Whether I’ve ‘come out’ about eating issues: I think so. I’ve never been bulemic, thank goodness. I’ve never been anorexic though my dearly departed mother thought that I was just because I was lean (and everyone else said I was too thin…I was very restrictive with my diet then, not surprisingly).

    Since then I put on a good 5-10+ pounds so I suppose my ‘disease’ would be an orthorexia of sorts, which is why I do try to have foods that I would consider ‘bad’. You and I have had conversations about how I’m really quite scared of having a croissant or pasta as a meal or a snack. Yet I will have things like chocolate or cookies as ‘fun food’ without much of a problem. It’s so weird and makes no sense. To my friends I say that I have ‘eating issues’ because as far as I can tell, that is what I have. Not a disorder per se, but something I need to keep an eye on. And as you also know, my latest attempt to conquer whatever over-obsessing issues I might have: my uncaloriecounting that seems to be working despite indulgent vacations. Same thing with overexercising (of late, I’m making strides here on toning it down to a more normal level- puns intended).

    Thank you for another great and honest post.

    • As you know Deb, I was/am the same way, which is one of the reasons why I was hesitant to “come out.” It’s not anorexia for me, but seeing a skinny ass girl, people make that assumption. Trying to tell people about orthorexia or “eating/exercise issues” often feels fruitless (no pun intended,) as they will most often just lump your right into a neat and tidy group.

      Regardless, I think being honest about whatever it is you’re struggling with can be such a relief. It sucks, of course, but it’s ten times harder when you try and be something you’re not. We all love you (and whoever) just as much–if not more–anyway. It’s just everyone else that’s annoying …;)

  10. I love this post because just yesterday I learned that one of my friends from high school is taking a break from college because her eating disorder (she didn’t eat and then would binge) became too out of control. I was friends with her, but I guess I just didn’t realize that she had a true problem. A lot of people in our friend group had an idea though, so when she “came out” everyone was really supportive. Another one of my friends also recently confided in me that she thinks she has exercise bulimia tendencies.

    While I don’t belief that I have a problem with food right now (I overeat sometimes but its not an actual problem), I know I probably had an issue a few years ago. I didn’t “come out” to anyone back then and luckily cutting back on a few activities inevitably lead back to normal eating, I’ve only recently been able to admit that I could have at least had the beginning of a problem.

    Sorry for the novel I just wrote! I’m a new reader and I was really excited to comment on this post. I guess I’m also just coming out to my friends about having a blog too (I’m a blog newbie). They don’t read it and I’m not sure I want them too, but at least they know 🙂

    • Most of my friends that arent in the blog world dont really care about blogs in general, but they know I have one. They just, dont care! But I appreicate your comment and welcome you to the blog world. Its brutal. Be prepared. 😉

  11. I never “came out” with my ED, as it was pretty stinkin’ obvious. From my pale skin to my lack of body fat (hello, COLDNESS)..I had “anorexic” written all over my face. I honestly BARELY remember anything from my ED..just the lowest points. No fond memories for a year. I basically lost a year of my life that I’ll NEVER get back. I just thank the Lord that I managed to get help from my parents, a nutritionist, and a therapist who got me back on the right track 🙂

    I DO remember when I hit “rock bottom.” I admitted that I hated my life as it was and that I wanted and NEEDED to change, and I remember a HUGE weight just being lifted off my shoulders. That night, my mom and I went grocery shopping and got all sorts of calorie-dense, wholesome GOODIES. Talk about freedom!

  12. I lasted 2 days of rush, and then packed up and went back home until classes started. No thanks – so not a sorority girl, but everyone told me to rush to meet people. What was I thinking – all I wanted to do was rush right back home.

    That looks like a “one Heather” serving meal as well. Looks delicious too. 🙂

  13. Admitting my eating disorder was such a tremendous relief. Wow. And, you are right. Most people? Already knew … at that point I looked like a lollipop. It’s only a tiny step on the way to recovery, as you mentioned. I spent years “admitting” and “working on it” when what that really meant was “I eat apples now!” and “I have dinner!”

    I hope more people who “don’t fit the diagnosis” will begin to see issues with their own eating — I think about hmm…65% (?) of all women are disordered eaters.

    Thanks for sharing your “coming out” story.

  14. I came out a while ago and it felt so much better. Since recently starting a blog, I guess I’ve really come out now since the whole world can know about it if they click on my site! It’s hard admitting it, but it’s important to realize that it’s not who we are and just because it’s a trouble of ours, doesn’t mean our identity is centered around it. Thanks for this; I hope it helps others “come out”

  15. I agree and think that there is a major stigma with an psychological disorder and drug addiction. I am a supporter of replacement drugs to treat heroin and opiate addiction and am always defending my choice to others… I always same the same thing: A diabetic uses insulin like an addict uses replacement drugs. I know it is not that cut and dry, but sometimes an easy example is best.

    Thanks for your honesty in this post Eden.

  16. I am incapable of making waves…I still don’t wear things in front of my parents because I know they wouldn’t approve. And yes, I really am 35 years old and still terrified of my dad’s reaction to things. It’s not looking likely that this will ever change…

  17. I’m actually very ashamed and nervous to “come out.” Most of my family knows that I have struggled with anorexia but only a few close friends of mine know the truth too. But I don’t like to tell anybody at work. To me it is just too awkward and I feel like I have to explain myself and then there’s the fear that I will be judged or hated or somebody will say something stupid like, “But you don’t look anorexic.” I hate that. But I have noticed that when I do just bite the bullet and tell people it is so easy not to have to lie and say that I don’t eat x or y because of some excuse.
    Thanks for this post. It was very powerful.

    • I had a friend in college (when I was still in the “closet”) who upon meeting me, when I I offered to go to lunch with her, she simply replied, “Oh, no thanks, I’m anorexic.” and she wasn’t even joking. Granted, she did look like a talking skeleton, but the concept of someone just saying it so it wont be awkward when she doesn’t eat anything at lunch was so….foreign to me! But that gave me the guts to just say it later on down the road, and it feels so much better after!

      • Wow!! I have NEVER heard of anyone doing this before. It’s kind of empowering though because it gives you a chance to be truthful to the other person. One of my good friends who I did tell about my eating disorder is so supportive. She doesn’t pressure me or question me about food when we hang out, and understands that I’m not quite ready yet to eat certain foods. It definitely helps things not to be awkward.

  18. Sometimes I feel like I was the last person to realize I had an eating disorder (out of the people that knew me when it first developed at age 13). I think a huge step one is admitting it to yourself, and a huge second step is telling the people close to you. Even if they already realized you had a problem, the reaching out part is extremely significant for everyone involved. Really glad you discussed this issue.

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