Moreso recently than ever, I have been getting questions about “how do I tell someone that I have an eating disorder?” Ironically, just by asking me that, you have already found the courage to tell someone – me! I recognize that it is easier to tell a stranger (like me) what is going on, and I will always find some way to help. However, talking with a supportive person in your life, parent, friend, and/or significant other, can be helpful in beginning your journey to recovery.
We understand the difficulty of reaching out for support when you may be feeling hopeless, scared, and alone. This makes sense! However, often just saying those words out loud, “I need help”, can provide some needed relief. Therefore, I wrote this blog in hopes that this could get the process started a little easier for you.
First, how do you choose who to tell? If you don’t know who you want to reach out to first, ask yourself these questions:
- Who do I feel most comfortable confiding in?
- Is there someone in my life that I have shared these feelings with before, or they have shared feelings with me?
- Do I know anyone who could help me and make this process easier for me?
Considering how you might tell that person then really depends on what makes you most comfortable. For instance, I like to plan out my conversations so that it helps to regulate my anxiety. If you are like this too, you may like a letter-writing technique that allows you to read your feelings aloud to your person that you thoughtfully wrote out ahead of time. Conversely, there are others that prefer to be ‘in the moment.’ You have to decide what works best for you.
Regardless of how you tell them, ask yourself these questions so that you can tell them what’s most important.
- How am I feeling?
- How has this influenced my eating?
- How long have I been feeling this way?
- How can they best support me through this?
How that person reacts could change how you perceive the problem yourself. This could be extremely helpful, as they may support your need for treatment, or be very hurtful. No matter what, you must always remember that it is not your fault. You may have feelings of doubt, such as “Did I overthink this?” or “Am I just being dramatic?” The answer is always NO. You should always trust your gut no matter how someone reacts to your feelings.
You can better prepare yourself and the person you are confiding in by learning more about eating disorders. You can learn more by taking an eating disorder self assessment, reading up on the FAQ’s, and understanding eating disorder treatment on our website.