This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
When going through a difficult time, it’s important to remember that you can reach out for help at any point in your life. While some people may feel ashamed or uncomfortable reaching out to someone like a mental health care professional, there are a number of resources you can use to gain access to an individual that will support you. The National Eating Disorder Foundation estimates that 10 million women and 1 million men struggle with eating disorders. If you’re looking to start changing habits or need assistance recovering from a challenging situation, there are ways you can get the treatment you need.
Understanding Your Disorder
Eating disorders are mental illnesses that can become severe and life-threatening if not treated and worked through in a healthy way. They can affect everyone, regardless of age, sex, religion, or size, and there are many different types. If you’re having difficulty eating too little, too much, or painstakingly controlling your food intake, it’s important to learn more about your type of eating disorder. While people commonly recognize the term anorexia or bulimia, there are also conditions like ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) and BED (Binge Eating Disorder).
Every type of eating disorder is serious, especially due to the fact that it can grow into other forms of self-harm and self-depreciation. It’s important to note, however, that it’s possible to recover with the help of your support system, medical and mental health care professionals, and even support groups. Regardless of how severe you believe your eating disorder to be, if you’re worried you’re developing symptoms of a disorder, it’s important to consult a professional for help as soon as possible.
Learning to Express Yourself
Some people develop negative habits and routines because they have difficulty communicating their stress or they’re trying to find ways to cope with a traumatic or challenging situation. When it comes to the form of an eating disorder, some individuals express that it’s “something they can control” in their otherwise conflicted and confusing life. As such, it’s crucial for you to seek help not just for your eating disorder but also for the cause of it. This could be due to a negative self-image, a traumatic experience, or stress and difficulty with daily life.
You don’t necessarily need to come to this realization yourself either. In some cases, individuals that develop eating disorders don’t always understand the root cause of their mental health conditions. What may have started out as a “healthy diet” may quickly turn into nitpicking, a negative inner voice, and a critical self-image. Talking with a counselor and your support system can help you to uncover what you’re truly feeling about yourself and the situations you’re in. Through this understanding, you can develop healthy coping mechanisms and find new ways to control your emotions and reactions.
Finding the Right Support
Whenever you’re going through a difficult time, it’s important to have a strong support system around you to work through it. Whether it’s recovering from an eating disorder, coping with the loss of a loved one, or even struggling over school or work, you need a group of trusted individuals that make you feel comfortable expressing yourself. A support system can be friends, family members, or mental health care professionals that provide a judgment-free space for you to vent and discuss your stress and frustrations without feeling punished.
An online mental health resource like BetterHelp can connect you with the right individuals that have professional experience in recovery from eating disorders. With the advancements in research and technology throughout the mental health profession, you have access to different therapists, treatments, and support groups that can help. It’s important to remember that you have options when it comes to working through difficult situations and emotions and having a strong support system can continuously remind you.