Support and the ED

NEDAwareness 2011I’m really bad at reaching out to other people.  The phrase I often use is that “I don’t want to burden others” with my problems.  I often think that I can do it on my own, I don’t need to bother others and if I can’t do it on my own I am being weak.

And I would never feel that way about someone else.

In fact, it takes a lot of strength to ASK for help.

Help is a huge part of recovery.  You need to have a good support group around you, and part of that is educating the support group on how to help you.  Every individual needs help in different ways, but it is pretty universal… telling someone to “Just eat!” is never ever ever (ever ever ever) going to help them.

My immediate support group has been pretty small, I’ve kept it that way.  I don’t open up to people very often, even my loved ones. I guess the ingrained message to do it on my own is pretty powerful for me… I’m working on changing that.  In therapy my psychologist gave me this analogy:

“You’re driving down a road and there is a large boulder in your path so you can’t get past it.  You get out to try pushing it, but realize it won’t move.  But you’ve got a car full of friends… Wouldn’t you ask them to help you push?”

It’s pretty simplistic, but it makes sense… and yet it’s so hard at times!

I’ve mentioned that I attend a weekly ED support group.  We also periodically have a session that is for support people to come with us.  I’ve invited my mom once and my husband most of the time.  When my husband can’t attend because of work obligations, I go on my own.  My therapist asked me when I was going to invite a friend.  I told her the odds are that I will never ask a friend to come with me.  Everybody has their own lives and duties and tasks and responsibilities… they don’t need to waste time there with me.

I know it sounds harsh, but it truly is how I feel.  I fear that friends will reject me if they had to become immersed too fully into what I’m dealing with.  Hell, I worry that I’m bothering my family with these things!

Eating disorders are very isolating diseases… if you know someone who is battling one and they tend to avoid get-togethers, don’t just write them off!  I know this is something that most of the people in treatment with me worry about… that they’ll be written off.  Give them a hug and let them know you are there!


  1. If someone I knew invited me to go to a support group meeting with you, I don’t think I’d see it as an invitation to get all wrapped up in your life or your problems. I would just see it as you saying, “This is what’s going on with me and I’d like you to know about it because I need support.” I might be a little unique in that I tend to take things very much at face value, though. If you don’t tell me something directly I generally won’t assume it. 🙂 But I’m glad you do include your mom and your husband! And I like that analogy of the boulder in the road and the car full of friends.

    • You always have such great insight for me! It’s kind of goofy to start assuming you know how people will respond too! You reminded me that people don’t react the way I assume they might!

  2. my friend just found about another friend having an ED, i will let her know this – don’t give up, just keep comforting. let them know you are there!

    even though i am far away, if there is ever anything i can do to help YOU i hope you don’t hesitate to ask! and please come to boston in april and hang out with me and terri 🙂

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