Getting help for an eating disorder can be difficult and scary but I think it is very important to get the right help. Eating disorders are the most fatal mental illness and most require professional help in order to achieve full recovery so that the person can go on to live a normal and health life.
Unfortunately it can be quite difficult to get help in the NHS…difficult but not impossible. When I first went to my GP I was told to come back in a month but I didn’t have a month to wait at that point. It’s wrong but you have to be quite persistent when asking for help. It may take multiple visits to your GP to get a referral but don’t give up because they will listen eventually. After the referral is made you may have to go on a waiting list, unfortunately some of these are disgustingly long but don’t suffer in silence during the wait. If things deteriorate then go back to your GP, they may be able to offer you some form of support whilst you wait for therapy to begin.
I realise that visiting the GP and going to therapy takes up time and I can understand how someone in work or study may not want to take the time out but I know from personal experience that it is important that health comes first. You wouldn’t put work in front of your chemotherapy. To put it bluntly, you cannot do your work or study if you are dead.
I know it’s scary to ask for help, I was terrified. I know how scary it can be to see ‘anorexia nervosa’ plastered on your notes, it makes it real, you can’t hide behind a mask and pretend you’re well because it’s written there in black and white but it is an illness. There is no shame in seeing it written on your notes, the same as seeing ‘asthma’ on your notes. Never be ashamed of being unwell.
Where can you go to get help?
- Your GP should be your first port of call, they will be able to make referrals, monitor your physical health and offer you appointments to support you.
- You could contact a counsellor to support you whilst you wait for NHS treatment. There may be a fee but some are means tested and offer discounted sessions to those on benefits or in education. If you are under 25 then there may be a youth counselling service in your area providing free counselling. You can find out on google.
- B-eat have a helpfinder on their website, you can find out details of b-eat support groups and other forms of support in your area here: http://helpfinder.b-eat.co.uk/
- Mind provide some information on their website, you may find attending some of their groups and centres help you to feel less isolated. http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/eating-problems/#.VNyDHvmsVFw
- NICE guidelines are the national institute for health and care excellence guidelines and they can help you make sure you are getting the right care and are being treated appropriately. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg9
- Anorexia and Bulimia care provide helplines for sufferers and carers. http://www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk/
- You may find online support helpful but make sure this is done in a safe way as there can be a lot of pro-eating disorder stuff out there which will keep you stuck in your eating disorder. Try forums like http://www.recoveryourlife.com or http://www.elefriends.org.uk
Most importantly remember to hold onto hope because eating disorders can be beaten.
Here is today’s sock it to eating disorders silly socks photo:
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