There’s one harsh truth in life that I have come to learn: there are a lot of things that you just can’t do on your own. No matter how hard you try, there are some battles that just aren’t going to be won when they are fought alone.
One of the hardest things for me to do is to admit that I can’t do something on my own and that I need help from my friends, family or just anyone who can offer support. I can vividly remember three times in my struggle with my eating disorder that I had to admit, and accept, defeat.
The first time, I had to ask for help was when I broke down adn finally came to terms with the fact that I had an eating disorder. I felt like i was betraying myself. I felt like I was turning on the only way of life that I had known for so long, the only way of life that had become like a security blanket for myself. Doing this was so terrifying. I was so worried about how disappointed my parents would be in me. After all, I was disappointed in myself more than any words could begin to describe.
The second time, was when I had to admit to myself and my parents that I was not going to be able to get my eating disorder under control by myself. I realized that the only way that I was going to live was to get intensive help at an inpatient facility. Still I wonder what ever made me believe that I was qualified to treat my disorder by myself. I mean, I had never been formally educated in eating disorders and I couldn’t seem to come to terms with dealing with the causes of it. I had no way to teach myself coping methods. I could barely choke down food without pushing myself to tears, so why did I think that I would be able to eat enough food to restore my weight to a healthy level? Making this decision was one of the best choices of my life. Going to rehab was the sole thing that saved my life. Sorry to get all heavy, but it is true. I believe that there is no way that anyone can self-treat an eating disorder. One gets stuck in their ays of practicing eating disordered behaviors and being wrapped up in distorted thoughts. What some people fail to acknowledge is that an eating disorder is just that- a disorder. A disorder which requires professionals to treat. You wouldn’t try to fix a broken leg or operate on yourslef, so why would you think that you can treat your eating disorder by yourself?
The third time in my recovery that I had to break down and ask for help was when I had a slip-up after coming home from Remuda.Despite being told by all the medical professionals at Remuda that my chances of recovery would be significantly higher if my body weight was within a certain range (which it was not when I was discharged from Remuda), I was certain that I would be able to keep up with my weight restoration. I was faced with another challenge, too. I had nothing to do to keep me busy during the day. Yes, I did have bi-weekly therapy session adn once weekly dietitian meetings, each of those appointments took only one hour. That left many other hours to sit and ponder over how much I hated my changing body. I quickly began to fall back into unhealthy eating patterns that were not consistent with my meal plan. Accordingly, my weight began to drop. After a couple weeks, I told my mom and dietitian in a meeting with them that I needed some more help. My mom said that she would take off work to stay home with me and make sure that I stuck with my meal plan and got healthy again. Once again, asking for help led to more guilt. I felt terrible taking my mom away from work and I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t have done things on my own like I spent so much time assuring everyone that I could. But, the positive outcomes that came from this shame and guilt and embarrassment far outweighed the negatives. In about two short weeks, I was back on track, reassured in my ability to succeed and my mom was back at work.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that there is no reason to feel shame in needing to ask for help. Just think: would you deny someone you love help that they needed or think any less of them for reaching out? I’m guessing the answer is no, and that’s the same thing that your family, friends and treatment team are thinking, too. One thing that helped me in this whole process was the constant reassurance by my family and doctors that I wouldn’t disappoint them that they would be there to help me in any way that they could. If you are reading this and you are battling an eating disorder, please know that there is nothing wrong at all with needing help. I am so thankful that I swallowed my pride and reached out. I realized that it in fact, it was not my pride that I was experiencing; it was ED’s pride. And let me tell you, he is one tricky bastard. If you do anything, do all you can to fight him off. There is so much more to life than living in the unfulfilling life that ED promises. Monitoring every hour of your day based on what you are (or aren’t) going to eat, when you’re going to exercise and punishing yourself for any little thing that ED says you screwed up on are not the ingredients to a good and happy life. If you are reading this and are helping someone in their recovery from an eating disorder, please do the same. You never know, your support could be the difference between your loved one recovering or relapsing.
This rule applies to any person, regardless of whether they are struggling with an eating disorder or not. One of the most important qualities someone can have is knowing how to stop beating themselves up trying to accomplish something that is impossible to do without help. No one is perfect and no one is able to do everything by themselves. If that were the case, there would be a lot of professionals out of their jobs. Another important quality is being able to reassure those you care about that you will be there to help them through anything they need. That you will be there to listen to them when they want to vent. That you will be there if they need a shoulder to cry on. What good is a friend for if you aren’t going to be there through the ups and the downs?
Well this is starting to get long and I think that I have proved my point long ago. I wish everyone as much success and support with their recovery as I have experienced. I consider myself truly blessed to have the people in my life that I have and the good fortune that I have had to allow me to seek out the treatment that I needed to save my life. I hope that everyone going through a problem can have the same that I can. And if you are reading this and have no one to talk to, know that you can always feel free to contact me. I will be here to listen, to offer support and any advice that I can. Thank you for taking the time to read 🙂