Taking the first step
If you think your relationship with food may be out of control, the first step is to reach out to someone trustworthy.
Tell a friend, spouse, partner, boyfriend, healthcare provider, teacher, family member, or anyone you believe would be supportive. There is no one right way to tell someone else about your eating disorder. And there’s no way to predict how your loved one will react. Reactions can range from surprise to fear to understanding and empathy. Your loved one may need time to learn more about eating disorders and understand what you’ve told them. The important thing to remember is that while reaching out to another can be a scary step, it is vitally important.
Finding a heathcare provider
Finding a healthcare provider is also essential. A healthcare provider can monitor your physical recovery and also make a referral to a therapist or a treatment center.
Once you’re in treatment, simple coping strategies can go a long way in helping sort through the complex emotions that are likely to emerge during recovery.
Some coping strategies include:
- Keeping a journal: Writing down feelings, fears, and hopes is an excellent way to cope with life’s daily ups and downs. A journal is also a trusted place to chronicle progress and a safe place to explore hurt and anger and other “forbidden” emotions that arise during recovery.
- Doodles and scribbles: Doodling is a great way to relieve stress. Forget about being artistic. Draw simple flowers, smiley faces, frowny faces, stars, wavy lines. It doesn’t matter what the doodles or sketches look like. Just the fact that you’re creating them can help release hidden tension. Some people have found that doodling helps relieve anxiety and improve their focus and concentration. Research has even found that doodling can help your memory recall.
- Making time for yourself: Learning to say no to someone who infringes on your time can take a lot of courage at first, but it gets easier with practice. Another way to make time for yourself is to dedicate a set time every day to writing in a journal. Or take a class, join a group, or set a regular date to connect with a friend. The little moments add up. They let you know that you value yourself—and valuing yourself is an immense accomplishment that starts to happen during recovery.