Independently Seeking Help (Non-Diagnosed): Perhaps your doctor has recommended that you seek support for disordered eating symptoms. Or, maybe you have never officially been diagnosed with an eating disorder (ED), but thoughts of food, rules regarding food, or feelings toward the shape or size of your body consume you. Perhaps you use food when you feel overwhelmed, have urges to binge, or feel like you have no impulse control.
Whether you have shared these thoughts and feelings with your health care professionals or not, you do not have to live this way or deal with it by yourself.
Being Referred for Help (Diagnosed): Receiving a diagnosis of an ED can be devastating and terrifying. Many feel isolated and often ashamed that they have not been able to handle this on their own. If your doctor tells you that you are medically unstable due to your ED, you will be referred on to a hospital-based ED clinic where you will be supported to regain medical stability.
(Note: some individuals are told that they do not meet the criteria for a hospital admission - not sick enough for the hospital, but sick enough for the diagnosis - and to seek private help; the resulting emotions of this scenario are too many to list here. If this has happened to you, you are not alone.)
How I May be Able to Help: My clients fall into both categories. Some come to me because their doctors have expressed concern and recommended they seek help before the ED becomes medically destabilizing. While others have left a hospital program and are now ready to start exploring the underpinning issues that created the need for a coping mechanism such as an ED.
Clients who come to me after doing a hospital program – whose mandate and imperative is to restore medical stability via weight restoration – often need to work through the trauma of being hospitalized and weight restored in a way that may have felt belittling and shaming. The lack of control that one experiences in this process is unfortunately necessary when an ED has control of an individual. This tension is excruciating and often lessens once weight restoration is achieved. However, to ignore the treatment experience, is to continue avoiding one’s emotions, which is to a large degree the reason for an ED in the first place.
This is often a starting point in our conversations; labeling and acknowledging what many feel but may not recognize as Recovery Trauma. We are then usually able to start the process of understanding why and healing the pain that brought on the need for an ED.