In The Moment With Mindy

5 Fears That Prevented Me From Seeking Eating Disorder Treatment

I remember the first time my friend asked me if I was ok. The eating disorder was becoming obvious as I went from an outgoing, fun person to hiding and isolating. I don’t know how to exactly explain the tone, but it was more of the feeling I got when my friend asked if I was ok? The feeling in my stomach was, “I know you know I’m not ok, even though I’m telling you I am.” I felt like someone knew the secret I desperately wanted to keep and at the same time was longing for someone to help me. A month or so later, that same friend wrote me a note (that I still have) sharing she herself had struggled with an eating disorder and I needed to seek help. Unfortunately, by then, I was in complete denial. I assumed she was freaking out for no reason.

During the second year of my eating disorder, I did an assessment over the phone at a treatment center due to a concerned co-worker asking me to just call and get information. A mentor in my life pleaded with me to go to therapy. So, I went occasionally but had no real motivation for change.  Four years later I sought treatment for my eating disorder at EDCare. My eating disorder produced an overwhelming fear about seeking help. Here are 5 fears that prevented me from seeking treatment sooner:

  • I’m not sick enough – I assumed since I wasn’t in the hospital, could go to work, hang out with friends and do activities I enjoyed, a treatment center would not accept me.

  • I don’t have a problem – It seemed suddenly in my life, my friends, therapists, supports, and co-workers were suggesting I get treatment. I was angry and felt like I was being picked on because I thought I wasn’t sick. Looking back, I wish I could have been curious why multiple acquaintances and friends, who did not know one another, were all recommending I get more help.

  • I can’t take a leave from my job (or school) – I feared I would lose my job if I left to get treatment at EDCare. How would I pay my bills? However, I worked with the Human Resources department and found there were ways to get help and keep my job. Every company is different so be sure to check with HR or if you are a student, your local administration office.

  • I can’t afford treatment – Treatment is expensive and it is worth every cent. I paid for my own treatment with the help of my insurance. I took out a medical loan to cover expenses while I was not working. At the end of the day, I knew I might die if I didn’t get help and realized my life was more important than money. Additionally, knowing I was paying for it myself, gave me extra motivation to engage in recovery.

  • I don’t deserve treatment – For the longest time, I used the fears listed above to keep me from getting the help I needed. Once those fears were alleviated, I realized I didn’t think I was worthy enough to get help. I was convinced my story was too much and I wasn’t enough. My eating disordered behaviors caused me great regret and I was embarrassed to tell anyone what was going on. At the core of my eating disorder was shame. This shame convinced me I deserved to be miserable for the rest of my life. It fueled thoughts that I didn’t deserve to have health, a full life, or recovery.

Do you share some of the same fears I did? I want you to know they are REAL. If you don’t think you are sick enough and your supports are recommending treatment, call a center, do an assessment, and let the professionals recommend what level of care is most appropriate for you. I realize school, work, and money are different for everyone. Our stories will look different. In my case, I was able to work things out. I know this isn’t true for all of us. Find a trusted friend, family member, or mentor that can help you with the financial pieces and taking a leave from school or work to seek treatment.

Please believe me when I tell you that YOU ARE WORTHY! You DESERVE recovery, joy, happiness, health, and freedom. You DESERVE help! Treatment required commitment, hard work, and trusting my team. It has never been predictable or perfect. However, it has led to more joy and fullness in my life. I do believe I deserve this life and will live it to the fullest!

If you or a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, call (866) 771-0861 today or submit a free, confidential inquiry form online. Don’t lose hope, help is just a call/click away.


Author: Mindy

EDCare Recovery Advocate