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Toolbox :: Reaching In :: YOU :: Coping
Motivations :: Affirmations :: Body Image
Treatment Types :: Questions :: How Will I Pay
Helpful Books :: Treatment Finder

Reaching In To Yourself

Reaching in to yourself, and then out to others is the first step in deciding to recover from your Eating Disorder.

Once you have decided on the kind of treatment you want and are ready to make the next step into recovery, visit our Treatment Finder to help you get started.

The First Steps

Finding Help is not easy. It takes the desire to recover, and the motivation to find what works for you. Because of some of the old-fashioned ideas still out there often it's easy to find our motivations crushed and to feel confused.

The First Step is to reach in to yourself. To admit you have a problem that needs addressing and to make the decision to do it. It takes time, don't get down on yourself if it takes you weeks or months to make the first phone call. Once you've made the decision you will do it.

Tell Someone. Find someone in your life you feel you can trust - a friend, a parent, a teacher, a cousin, a penpal, a boyfriend, or a spouse, or even your family doctor... anyone that you think can provide you with support and encouragement. It's not easy to take this step, it's scary and unsure. Their initial reaction may not be what you expect and you should be ready for this. Be prepared to tell them exactly how they can help you and even provide them with some written material on Eating Disorders if you think it will be helpful. (You can also read Telling Someone on the Mirror-Mirror website)

Find a Doctor you feel comfortable with. Everyone is entitled to this. Remember that your doctor is bound by Doctor-patient confidentiality laws and that anything you tell him/her should be kept in the strictest of confidence. Talk to your doctor, make sure he/she is responsive to your needs and don't be afraid to ask questions or inform your doctor of things he/she may not know.

Finding Treatment, Therapy and Support Groups is the next step (and essential) towards permanent recovery. Ask your doctor if he/she can refer you to a therapist who will address your emotional problems. You may even have a friend or family member who can recommend someone. Each doctor will play a role in your recovery -- Therapists should be in charge of your mind, and your doctor should be in charge of your body. You may also want to consider a dietician when you feel ready. You may decide on an inpatient or outpatient program that offers a combination of treatments under one roof. Read over the types of treatment out there. You can then visit the Treatment Finder to find a therapist or treatment center in your area, or refer to the Helpful Hotlines for a list of other referral services.

Remember that your recovery is about YOU. Don't let anyone push you into things you do not want to do... but also be prepared to keep an open mind about things that may be recommended. If your doctor suggests hospitalization ask yourself why he might and remember that he may see things you are not aware of. Ask him to explain why he recommends things and do research yourself. Also remember that if your nutrition levels are low, or if you have electrolyte imbalances or hormone and vitamin deficiencies it will affect your moods and ability to see things rationally, as well as put you in physical danger. You do not need to be underweight to suffer from these things and you will need to keep in mind that your self-perception is distorted.

Also, try to find support from a friend, spouse or relative. Encouraging words can go a long way. Ask them to read about Eating Disorders so they may better understand how they can support you. If you have a problem finding someone there are many online support options available across the internet, but remember that this will not replace the professional help of a doctor and therapist.

You can begin your search for treatment by visiting the Treatment Options section, or by contacting one of the Eating Disorders organizations. There are also phone numbers you can call during a crisis, to find treatment, or to get information.


Getting Started

Make A List...

Making a list of things you want to tell the doctor can be very helpful... you can read it to him/her or just hand it over. On top of the list should be to flat out tell them "I have an Eating Disorder." Be prepared for any response you may get from them and keep in mind it is not a reflection on you. Many doctors are inexperienced in dealing with Eating Disorders.... do not be afraid to share your information with them or to ask them questions. Your doctor will be in charge of your physical well being and you need to feel comfortable... if you do not, find another doctor.

What do you want from Therapy and Treatment?

Make a list of things you expect out of therapy and treatment. What type of treatment do you want? Are you looking for group as well as individual therapy? Do you prefer to be in an inpatient facility? Does an outpatient facility or clinic appeal to you? Do you want to go once a week, twice a week, once a month? Will your therapist be open minded to different ideas for your course of treatment? Are you okay with the possibility of taking medications like anti-depressants? These are all important things to think about when looking for a therapist you will feel comfortable with.

Most of all, make sure you find people you feel you can trust. People who treat you well and with respect. Your therapist need not be an "Eating Disorder" specialist to treat you effectively, as long as they are willing to address your emotional conflicts while remaining aware of your physical health. Therapist can range from formal psychiatrists to informal counselors, from private practices to Eating Disorder clinics. You have to decide what type of therapy will work for you.

Self Exploration

Don't be afraid to do some self exploration. Reading self-help books, taking workshops, going to church groups can all play a part in your recovery... It is an individual choice and is up to you. Nothing replaces a therapist or treatment facility, so it is important to remember that whatever you decide for your own self-exploration it should be in addition to some sort of professional help.

Fill Your Recovery Toolbox... (click here to read more)

Support...

Finding people who can understand and support you can sometimes be difficult. If you don't feel there is anyone in your life that can offer you the encouragement you need, feel free to visit The Remember It Hurts Bulletin Board and participate in some of the group discussions there. You can also find inspiration from some of the recovery stories, and a list of other options for finding online support.

Get a "Medical Alert"

It may not sound important, or it may even be embarrassing to you, but it can be very important to the hospital doctors and nurses should you lose consciousness, suffer kidney failure or have a heart attack (or any other Eating Disorder related illness). Even if you are admitted to the Emergency Room for reasons unrelated, it is important for the medical staff to be aware of your Eating Disorder. If you are in a position to not be able to clearly communicate with the medical staff, they will not know why you may be suffering from your symptoms, and/or may not be able to treat you quickly and effectively. Read more on this here.


:: IN ENGLISH :: EN ESPAÑOL ::

:: Toolbox :: Reaching In :: YOU :: Coping ::
:: Motivations :: Affirmations :: Body Image ::
:: Treatment Types :: Questions :: How Will I Pay ::
:: Helpful Books :: Treatment Finder ::

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