Find a Confidant
Finding an Eating Disorder Treatment Confidant
At Rader Programs we understand that it is a big step for a person to come to terms with, and make, the decision to seek support for an eating disorder like anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating. Many individuals find the need, or wish to share, that they are suffering from an eating disorder with someone else. The following is a guide which can help you to communicate what you are going through.
It’s Not Your Fault: Individuals with eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating often feel hesitant about sharing with others that they are suffering with an eating disorder. Eating disordered individuals often feel that if they were truthful about their disease, family members and friends would abandon them. They mistakenly feel that they are burdening the other person with the responsibility or blame for the eating disorder. The guilt associated with this misplaced responsibility can become paralyzing at times. Remember that eating disorders are diseases and are not caused by family, friends or even the eating disordered individual themselves. As with other diseases, there is no need to place fault. Sharing what you are going through can open the door for you to no longer suffer through the eating disorder alone. You are not asking for the other person to fix you, but only to hear your feelings. As you would want to help the other person if they were in need of support, give them the chance to help you. Most individuals feel honored when they are confided in and asked to help.
Motivation: Prior to discussing your eating disorder with someone else you may want to ask yourself what you want to get out of the conversation. Going into the conversation with preconceived notions about how the other person is going to react is not the best idea. The conversation is most effective when the goal is the honest communication of what you have been going through. You cannot control how others are going to react, but in most cases the response is one of sincere empathy and support.
Information: Most individuals, including many healthcare professionals, do not truly understand eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating. They may mistakenly believe that eating disorders are a matter of willpower and can be controlled. Help them by directing them to websites, such as ours, describing the emotional, physical, nutritional, exercise, family and social components of the eating disorder. They also need to understand that eating disorders are diseases and are no one’s fault. Telling someone you have an eating disorder can seem like an overwhelming proposition but risking having this communication can be one of the first giant steps towards recovery. By reaching out, you are breaking the powerful hold the secrecy and silence the eating disorder has had over your life. Rader programs understands how difficult having these conversations with others can be and our counseling staff can help guide you in these communications.
A confidant can be anyone - typically they are a family member or a close friend. Obviously, there should be a strong level of trust between you and your confidant, and this person should be someone that you can rely on to listen, support, and respect your sense of privacy. Because making the choice to seek out eating disorder treatment is a big step, having a confidant can help alleviate some of the anxiety experienced during this time is not only beneficial, but recommended by our caregivers.