Eating Disorders: Finding Support
25th February, 2009
Did you know it’s eating disorders awareness week this week? If you didn’t I hope this will bring the fact to your attention.
When you take the first brave steps to look for help and support with these distressing and destructive illnesses it can be a daunting and pretty frightening experience. I know, I had the search, many years ago.
When you choose someone to speak to for the first time, whether it’s a friend, family member or professional, I’d recommend choosing somebody who is empathetic and will really hear what you are saying. Perhaps someone will help you do the groundwork when looking for that first therapist or speak with the Drs receptionist to explain your needs. I know this is quite usual for me, in my practice, and I fully understand the most important part of my work with my clients is ’trust and the relationship we build’. I want and need my clients to feel totally comfortable with me and feel heard. Not everyone will understand what you are going through fully, whether it is anorexia, emotional or binge eating, bulimia etc but they will give you the space to talk and you can feel a sense of relief that you aren’t holding this alone. Did you know that recognising there is something not quite right and telling someone, is starting the process of change? That’s good news!
Emotional eaters are not always heard and bingeing with any eating disorder can feel shameful and dirty. There are people out there who understand, can help and are ready to listen. You don’t need to be alone.
The severity of the situation with your condition cannot always be determined visually, it’s not ‘just’ about being very underweight or overweight. For example when I see an anorexic client, it’s about their thinking. You may be within a healthy BMI right now but if your head tells you that on no account can you gain weight and you must lose it, that’s something to be taken very seriously and you deserve to be heard, now!
So tomorrow never does come and perhaps after reading this you’ll think about looking for support and decide you’ve held this long enough, it’s never too late OR early to do something about it. I often have mums approach and tell me their son or daughter isn’t considered to be having a major problem because of their BMI. With support this young person can halt the process of developing their distress any further. In an ideal world we’d have early intervention. Sadly resources mean that the NHS is stretched and can’t meet the demands of everyone.
For the past 11 years I’ve worked with clients with eating disorders and their stories vary but there is an underlying sad fact that many clients simply don’t feel heard or they’ve been told it’s fine, they don’t have a problem or come back if this gets worse.
Help is out there, be good to yourself.
The Eating Disorders Association has a ‘help finder’ list of both voluntary and private organisations and sole therapists, of which I am one.
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