How to Tell Loved Ones About Your Eating Disorder
Did you know that eating disorders are the second deadliest mental health disorder? If you struggle with an eating disorder, this statistic can be a hard dose of reality. However, due to the serious consequences and high prevalence of eating disorders, there are a wide variety of treatments and help available.
The first step of getting help is the most difficult. Admitting you are living with an ED can be so scary that many people choose not to do it. This means suffering for longer than you have to.
If you're ready to get help, I'm ready to provide it. So, in the spirit of making this sensitive disclosure more manageable and less scary, I've put together this guide. I want to help you find the courage to tell your loved ones what you're going through.
Read on for advice and start your path to recovery today.
Pick the Right People
Many people think they can overcome their eating disorders alone. However, getting help and having a support system is a key predictor of a successful recovery! The good news is that you can selectively choose your support system in this process.
Tell the people you trust first. Sometimes this is family; sometimes it's not. You can always tell your friends, a teacher, a coworker, or a therapist.
And remember, you don't owe anyone anything. You don't have to tell anyone you don't want to.
Make Yourself Comfortable
This process is all about you and what you need. The first step of ED treatment is changing the feeling of being unsupported, but you can do it on your own terms. So do it in the way that feels best.
You don't have to disclose any information you're not comfortable with. If all you want to say is, "I have an eating disorder, and I want to get help," that's enough. You don't have to go into specifics.
It can be intense to tell someone in person. If you're worried about talking about your eating disorder out loud, remember that you can always write your loved one a letter. You don't even have to be in the room while they read it.
In addition, you can ask to have a therapist present to help your loved ones process the information. He or she can help you field questions and act as a buffer during an emotionally charged time.
Ask for What You Need
Sometimes a well-intentioned comment can send you spiraling. After disclosing an ED, well-meaning loved ones can bombard you with questions and comments like, "Do you think you should eat that?" or the dreaded, "You look healthy."
Without meaning to, they can trigger your inner ED voice. It's okay to ask for help in the way you want it. Don't be shy to tell your loved ones that food policing and comments on your physique are not helpful for you.
For example, you can say, "I know you mean well, but commenting on my food intake makes me really self-conscious. I'd feel better if we didn't talk about food." Or you can say, "Though I'm sure you have good intentions, saying I look healthy triggers me. Refraining from commenting on my appearance would be very helpful."
Tell them what you need, how to encourage you, and how to help you. It's your recovery process, and you should always have agency in how it's conducted.
Get Help for Your Eating Disorder
The first step in treating an eating disorder is sharing your burden with other people. Allowing people to support you is the best way to find relief from anorexia, bulimia, or any other eating disorder.
For a free online consultation and treatment help from someone who's been through it all, reach out to me at RecoverED Now and start your recovery today.