Seeking Advice

Hey-

I came to the realization a week or so ago that I may have an eating disorder. I'm not really sure how to handle it or even who to talk to. I can't talk to my family, we have a complicated relationship disaster there, and I can't talk to my friends....they have bigger issues.

I guess I just need someone to talk to

Dazed,

Welcome to Support Groups! I'm glad you found us and have decided to reach out for help. ♥ It's a difficult journey to recovery, but one which you CAN accomplish, and you have just taken the first brave step. :)

Can you talk a little more about your experience and feelings?

You are more than welcome to write here and talk on this site. If you would like to talk to someone closer to you, I might suggest a school counselor for a start. Are you in school? How old are you, if you don't mind my asking...

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, it is absolutely essential that you work with a professional. I realize that it is difficult to become ready for that... It took me a few months of writing here before I was ready to make the call myself. :) But it's good to start thinking about it...

You could also Google to see if there are any support groups in your area... Perhaps EDA?

Please keep writing! I look forward to hearing more from you. :)

Love,

Jen

First off, I just want to say thank you so much for your wonderful post. It amazes me how kind and giving everyone on this site is.

I’m 19 and going into my second year of college though I’m home right now. I think the eating disorder mostly began when I switched dorms mid-semester, going from 3 roommates to none (by some fluke in the system I didn’t get any roommates not by choice). I had also been told by family members that I should lose weight so that I would swim faster (I’ve been a competitive swimmer forever and had plans to walk on to my school’s team). The combination of that little comment by my family plus no roommates led to me slowly cutting out any foods that were ‘quality over quantity’ because all I wanted to do was eat. Breakfast and lunch were cut down to allow extra calories for dinner (my sanctuary, eating all my stomach could take at night) and pretty soon I noticed myself getting skinnier. Which I loved. It’s so hard to describe how much more confident I felt and happy knowing that I was skinnier. Pretty soon I became addicted to that feeling, and during the day food was strictly controlled…only with the knowledge that I could eat all the carbs I wanted at night, though I must add that I only allow myself to feast on 3 or 4 foods when I do so. I’ve also given up on walking on to the swim team because swimming is no longer a fun activity for me…it’s a calorie burning session. That and food are all that I think of. If I don’t exercise, burning calories to allow myself to splurge later, I get that same anxious feeling I get if my diet gets messed up.

So anyways, I came back home for the summer, began to see how strange my eating habits are, noticing how I was unable to eat infront of others, couldn’t get through a day without my nighttime splurge, having the fun sucked out of my favorite sport. Even more recently, within the past few weeks, I’ve started to piece together everything, realizing that I’ve had amenorrhea for 7 months scared me the most.

I think the worst part about all this is that no one I already know is approachable with this. My family…out of the question. My friends have been slowly pushed away by me because of this stupid eating disorder, I’m betting. Also, I feel almost like I don’t want help. I mean, I certainly like being skinny and not having to have periods. I like it a lot, actually. Though at the same time I can’t go through this another day. The guilt after eating, the anxiety, ugh it just goes on and on.

So that’s where I am right now. Pretty dazed and even more confused

Also, sorry I just wrote a novel

Welcome and thank you for sharing all of that- this is a great place to get it all out because it's easier to be completely honest online- we are all here to support you- I (and probably most people here) can relate to being in pain and wanting to get better yet also feeling comfortable in the disease and being scared to let it go- I've found that praying (and you don't necessarily have to be religious or spiritual to pray) for the 'willingness to be willing' helps- just hold on to that part of you that has even a tiny bit of faith and wants to get better- hang in there!

you're in it girl... have you sought any help outside your family? maybe a close friend, professor, counsellor?

i found out about my eating disorder in college, and the simple act of trying to understand what was going on with me, led to a path of recovery that i am still struggling through. i know you don't want to give it up... and i know when you start to recover you'll want to go back. and i know that you may. and i know that it's up and down... and hard. BUT YOU CAN DO IT. you're smart, and realize there's a problem and that's the first step - that realization.

take advantage of resources on campus - you have free counseling, and also an education at your fingertips... i was a women's studies major, and what i learned through the program is priceless and very much a powerful force behind my recovery. if i could give you advice right now, i'd say march into your counseling office, and start looking at women's studies courses you can take for general ED.

also - keep writing here because everyone is here for you and wants to give you advice.

save yourself hun! it will be slow, but you can do it :)

oh, and you may wanna check out the book THE FRAILTY MYTH by collette downing - i read it in my women and sports class back in college and i think it could help open your eyes :)

qtktqueenbee- I like your advice about praying, I'm going to give that one a try. It'll make me seem less alone!

misst- No, I haven't sought any help. To be honest, I'm ashamed to. I feel like my family/friends/anybody would think it's stupid and would judge me for it. Even thinking of going to my doctor seems....weird. I've thought of going to another doctor but trying to hide that from everyone....just exhausting.

I definitely want to use the tools I have at college but I won't be there for almost 2 months so I'm stuck until then. I'm going to look into the women's studies classes, those sound interesting. Also, I'll check out that book.

I just want to add that one of my friends has been texting me and could tell something was wrong. He offered to make me a sandwich to make me feel better (part of a long running joke of ours) and it made me want to cry. I can't eat sandwiches because they're not on my list
:((

Dazed,
Courage! An eating disorder can be overcome! In my opinion, and i know im not a professional, you should talk to the person you are closest to about it...if you just keep it to yourself nd don't ask for help or advice you're gonna feel alone and without hope. Just remind yourself that you don't have to look a certain way to be happy....

Welcome to Support Groups :) I'm sorry about your recent discovery. Its hard to deal with an eating disorder. They're really tough, but you're in the right place. If you ever need someone to talk to, I'm always here, and I'm sure a ton of other supporters are! You'll get through this, just keep your head held high! <3

Love,
Lilly

Dazed,

You describe the progression of an eating disorder perfectly! That's absolutely how it was for me, too... The thrill of losing weight! The praise! The power I felt! The control... I was doing something WELL that so many people couldn't do. Something that I had failed at many times in the past. It IS an addictive feeling. And it's hard to let that go, even when the disorder starts interfering in your life... YES, it is isolating! I lost soooo many friends in my illness... For me, I had to reach a point of desperation... I had to become so desperate to feel better, that I was willing to try what was against my "rules". I started a meal plan. I ate more. Exercised less. Ouch!! VERY difficult! But... it does get easier... Old rules are gradually replaced with new rules. And then one day? You'll find yourself enjoying a nice sandwich! ♥ And realizing that it's not really about size or weight...

My own weight has been all over the place... From binge-induced obesity, to starvation and being underweight. The truth is, I haven't been happy with my body at ANY weight. I loved LOSING. But the elation I felt was short lived, and I found I had to KEEP losing to hold on to that feeling. But eventually... Well... I ran out of weight to lose, but kept on going. Because I was afraid to change. Afraid to fail. Afraid to let go of my tight-fisted control. Afraid of what might happen. As I continued to lose, my health suffered. My body was failing. My depression was deepening. I was more and more alone. Trapped in more restrictive rules and patterns of self-abuse; at the gym punishing any indescretion. :P

I've been working at recovery for a year now. I'm not totally recovered yet, but I'm on my way. It gets better all the time. :) Yes, there are lots of ups and downs. Yes you may have relapses. But if you can hold on to RECOVERY with the same fierceness with which you are currently clinging to your anorexia, you WILL BEAT IT! :) It's a long road... But one you will NEVER regret taking!! ♥

Thinking of you!

Love,

Jen

Well put my friend...♥

I must say I'm more comfortable with myself after reading all of your lovely comments. I'm starting to understand why I do the things I do, realizing that the ED takes over. It's so comforting, in an odd way, to be able to see that I'm not pushing away my friends because of some unknown reason....it's because they're in the way of this....THING called the eating disorder.

Goodish news: I ALMOST told my best friend yesterday about what's happening to me. She could tell something was wrong and asked...but I couldn't quite explain it to her just yet, probably because I'm still too ashamed to. But I told her that a lot is going on with me right now and that I may have something to tell her in the near future. And she was so sweet, she said 'I don't want to pressure you into telling me, just know I'm here for you'. Her open house for her new apartment is tonight....right smack in the middle of my nighttime dinner....I really hope I'll be able to handle it :(

Questions for you guys: How on EARTH are you able to be without your food rituals? I know that if I'm unable to keep the same food schedule for the day/few days I get so anxious, sad, antsy, etc etc....miserable. And then when I'm able to return to my schedule it's like I can't stray from it at all or try and change it. Absence makes the eating disorder go NUTS. So how are you able to do it??

Thanks for listening-- it helps so much everybody!!

Cat

Cat,

I'm glad the site is helping. :) It helped me to feel less alone, too.

It's hard to let go of the shame associated with an eating disorder. I find that it gets easier to talk about as time goes by... I can talk about it quite openly now with some people. With others, I still can't seem to utter the words. I'm learning that that's okay... It's really okay to hold something back for yourself. You don't have to tell everybody everything. But, it's GREAT to be able to tell SOMEbody MOST everything. ♥ Maybe SEVERAL somebodies. :) When the time is right, I believe you will tell your friend. Try to remember that developing an eating disorder is NOT your fault! You didn't ask for this! NO ONE would EVER ask for this! It can be difficult to understand that, since our actions seem to originate within us... But that's the eating disorder's doing, and it's important to learn to separate its thoughts from your own. Jenni Schaefer's book, Goodbye Ed, Hello Me, really helped me learn to hear the different voices; you might look for that one. When you realize that getting an ED is not your fault, the shame begins to fall away. You didn't CAUSE the ED... But you can work to kick it out of your life. :) And THAT is empowering! ♥

Food rituals... Well... It's HARD to change them... To let them go... Even when they are so oppressive and exacting. My list of "okay" foods was constantly narrowing. My rules were becoming harsher and harsher. Even when I started writing here a year ago and trying to recover, my symptoms got worse for a while. The big change for me was starting a meal plan. I was prescribed a certain number of calories to consume each day, and was accountable for meeting that number. HOW I met it was up to me... But a funny thing started happening... When the BIG rule changed... (Calories went UP instead of DOWN!) The whole GAME began to change... Suddenly I was aware that there was no point in trying to fill up on low cal foods because I would have to eat X calories anyway. There was no point in eating a light breakfast and staying hungry early on, because then I'd be stuffed like crazy at the END of the day! So... The rules shifted! I started taking foods from my off-limits list and moving them BACK onto the okay list!! ♥ It's an amazing thing! I still feel regimented by rules... I follow rituals compulsively... But they're HEALTHY rituals. And for now, they're keeping me safe. Until I no longer need them. :)

Much love to you, Cat! :)

Jen

I definitely am starting to realize the difference between the ED and me. It's nice to know that I didn't cause this, that I didn't bring this upon myself. Comforting!

How did you start your meal plan, both mentally and physically? Did you go see a nutritionist? How did you force yourself to eat something that so clearly goes against your ED? Did you feel guilty often?

As I sort of touched on before, I'm mostly concerned with how on earth I'm supposed to be able to break this seemingly impossible habits. It just seems so impossible to go a day without the same old food rituals.

I can give a positive update: I ate much more food for lunch today! I even hit the sameish calorie count that I had before my ED really started to take over! However....I'm feeling incredibly guilty and the fact that I don't feel hunger (like I usually do about now) I feel like I don't deserve dinner.

Man this is hard

Cat

swim...I realize how it seems impossible to ever be able to be free of the rules and rituals. I was there, and I could never had believed it either...but, it IS possible!!!
It helps to take things a step at a time, and not look too far ahead. That can be too overwhelming!
Set your sights on things near, and keep moving forward..you CAN do it!
Guilt will get you nowhere...but for those of us who have carried it with us for a long time, it seems automatic. You do deserve to feed your body and soul!!
It is hard, but the work is well worth the results.
NEVER GIVE UP!! HUGS...Jan ♥

Thanks Jan, you're giving me hope! I can tell it's going to be really hard though. Question for you guys: I just told my best friend that 1. I have an ED and 2. Some of the more....how to put this...'crazy' sounding effects of the disorder, like the food rituals, amenorrhea, etc. She didn't really say much at all, I don't think she understands it/what to do about it. Any advice?

Cat

Cat...Good for you for reaching out to your friend. If she seems open to education, there is some good information on this site, and also on the Eating Disorders Online site
http://www.eatingdisordersonline.com/
You can also check out the NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) website, which also offers some good educational materials about eating disorders.
Is she a close enough friend that you feel comfortable talking to her about your feelings?, and how this all affects YOU? Keep it up, and know that you are supported here...HUGS..Jan ♥

Cat,

That's great that you've taken the risk to open up to your friend! I love Jan's suggestion of sites to help educate her on the disorder. She must be feeling frightened and overwhelmed right now, but only because she really cares for you. ♥

Meal planning... Well... Jan?? ♥ LOL! Jan helped me start my meal plan! And all my guilt went into daily e-mails to her, my poor friend!! ♥ Ah, she saved my life!! :) I also saw a therapist, but my therapist referred to Jan often, too! :)

It's hard to change, no doubt! But it won't be forever... There IS hope... There is a life out there for you, free from your eating disorder. ♥

Much love,

Jen

Thanks for the site, I went to it myself and learned a bit more about what's happening to me. Ill refer it to my friend for sure, she's so sweet I think she'd want to understand what's happening to me a little more. And my friend is definitely one of my best friends, however....we've been a lot more distant from each other than we were a year ago because I went to a college over 1,000 miles away from her and she just moved further away, so we're not as close as we were. Also, the ED makes me isolate myself more and more so our friendship isn't quite what it was. Long story short, I'm not sure how she would take me telling her all of my innermost feelings about eating and all that.

I feel really bad asking for this but....about the meal plan thing....may I ask for one? I certainly don't want to inconvenience anyone or ask for too much so just let me know if I'm asking too much! I just can't get any professional help until I go back to school.

Cat