National Eating Disorders Association

5 posts / 0 new
Last post
Possible health issues bc of ED

(Tw: mention of previous suicide attempt via starvation, covid, physical problems caused by ED, relapsing, and police brutality) So I've been dealing with disordered eating since I was 8 and sporadically restricted enough for it to be an actual disorder. Two years ago, though, it got bad. Like, lose-a-lot-of-weight-going-bald-sleeping-too-much kind of bad. The Bad Period lasted about 8 months, but I've had small relapses (lasted a couple weeks at most) since then. I see a therapist every week, but I rarely talk to him about my ED. I've never been to a dietitian or doctor or anything for it. But ever since I started my recovery after those Bad 8 Months, I've been having issues with my digestive system. At the very beginning, I would puke and get diarrhea often. That petered off after 3 months or so, but I still have issues with my digestive system and bouts of extreme pain. I feel like the pain has been getting worse, and want to go to the doctor, but bc my last doctor was an awful person, I need to get a new one. And now, with the pandemic and impending American civil war, I'm stressed and the urge to restrict is getting worse and worse. Any time I accidentally miss a meal time, I find myself not eating for the rest of the day. I still feel hunger, which is good, but nothing looks or tastes good anymore. How do I even explain this to a doctor so she'll understand? I don't want a dietitian; I feel like it would be counterproductive for me. The Bad Period was caused by someone briefly trying to control my diet and me reacting disproportionately to it. I think I would have a similar reaction to a dietitian. But maybe that's the ED talking, idk. I just want the doctor to fix the fucking pain. I just want the doctor to tell me that I didn't destroy myself. I'm so afraid of everything constantly bc of the pandemic, bc of the political climate. Tanks rolled down the street next to my work today. I'm so terrified and I'm tired of being terrified that I'm dying bc of what I've done to my body, but I'm also terrified that I'll go through my trauma-induced fear of doctors, only to be told that I can't be trusted with my diet either. I think I'm afraid a doctor will take away my choice and right now I feel like a lot of my choices have been stolen already. I don't trust doctors, I can't. Idk. I'm so tired and I'm so scared. When my eating disorder was bad two years ago, it only got so bad bc it quickly became a way to hurt myself. It was just an 8 long month suicide attempt. And now that I've finally learned to want to live, everything is trying to kill me. Covid could kill me. Cops could kill me. Feds could kill me. My partner goes to the protests and if she dies there, that would kill me. And I'm so terrified that I've killed me too, that my desperate attempt two years ago is a time-delayed success. I don't want the doctor to give me a dietitian to fix me, but I think I'm more terrified that they wont be able to fix me at all. I know I'm probably overreacting. I don't actually think this will kill me, which is why I haven't gone to the doctor before now. But now, I'm so goddamn scared of everything that I can't stop catastrophizing bc with covid and the police, my worst fears turned out to be underestimations of what our reality would become. And even if this doesn't kill me, what if there's still permanent damage? I'm schrodinger's ailment and I'm afraid of finding out what's there. I can't take being told this pain will last forever. I can't take being told I'm going to die. I'm not strong enough for that, not anymore, but I'm not strong enough for this limbo to last forever either.

I hear you; I see you

I can relate to so much of what you’re saying. It feels like the world is trying to strip away what little “control” and choice we have. But the reality is, we are not in control. And I think you’re not giving yourself enough credit for how amazing and strong you are. You have been through so much, and now the world seems to be falling apart.
If there is one thing I know for sure, it’s that you are worthy. And you are enough. You are deserving of the care you need, whatever that may be. I understand the fear and trauma around doctors - once when I was inpatient, doctors were actively starving me. But know that there are so many more out there that understand and can help you. Maybe try by opening up to your therapist about ED and your fears. They can help direct you to places and people who understand and can get you what you need. So many just don’t get EDs; it’s important to find the professionals that do.
On that note, the NEDA website also has a directory of resources and can connect you with people in your area.
I know it feels terrifying to give up control. But if your fear around your behaviors is this great, is it really you controlling your diet, or the ED controlling you?
I think I’m everyone’s recovery, giving up that control is the most difficult step and process. Just know that as you allow yourself to relax more around that, you’ll find that you’ll be able to trust your body again to signal you about its needs. Rediscovering your relationship with your body will help you better understand not only what you need, but maybe why you are experiencing pain.
One of my biggest issues was denial - I’ve had a few health problems in the past related to ED, but I’d deny that they had anything to do with it. I was so desperate to find another answer so I didn’t have to give up that control. Only when I finally allowed myself to admit to my behaviors and open myself up to change was I able to heal.
Do I still struggle? Absolutely. Especially now. Please know you are so not alone in your fears. COVID and the fight against systemic oppression is taking its toll on everyone. One hope I try to hold is that this may finally lead to change. I hope this is a revolution, and I will continue to fight until it is.
This fight needs you too. Just to be. You are enough, no matter what. Taking care of yourself and getting the help you need is an act of revolution. And an act you are worthy of. You deserve love, care, and healing. Please try to reach out; find someone who specializes in EDs so you can continue to fight the good fight. You are a warrior. And you are so much stronger than you know.


Thank you

I don't know how to tell you how much this response means to me. Just... thank you for this. It means so much


Hi citrusfriend, We’re glad that you reached out to the forums and we hope you find all the support that you are looking for here. I see that you have some concerns about finding new healthcare providers due to your experiences with past doctors. We want to provide you with some resources to reach out to as needed.

 The following are just some of the signs of a serious problem that demands immediate medical attention:

  • accidentally or deliberately caused themselves a physical injury
  • become suicidal
  • confused thinking and is not making any sense
  • delusions (false beliefs) or hallucinations (experiencing things that aren’t there)
  • disoriented; doesn’t know what day it is, where they are or who they are
  • vomiting several times a day or has uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea
  • experiencing dizziness or fainting spells
  • too weak to walk or collapses
  • painful muscle spasms
  • experience pain in the lower legs
  • complaining of chest pain or having trouble breathing
  • blood in their bowel movements, urine or vomit
  • a body mass index (BMI) of less than 16
  • an irregular heartbeat, and fast heartbeat, or very low heart beat (less than 50 beats per minute)
  • cold or clammy skin indicating a low body temperature or has a body temperature of less than 35 degrees Celsius/95 degrees Fahrenheit
  • experience dizziness, nausea, fever
  • wounds/cuts heal slowly
  • feel tingling in the hands or feet
  • blurred vision

If you experience anything above, we highly recommend seeking help from a medical professional as soon as possible. Seek medical help soon on an outpatient basis if you:

  • have significant heartburn and/or a burning sensation after eating
  • have other gastrointestinal concerns
  • have high blood pressure
  • struggle with significant joint or muscle pain
  • have difficulty sleeping (falling and/or remaining asleep)
  • struggle with fatigue, sudden weight gain, and/or hair loss
  • have frequent urination or unquenchable thirst
  • have gained and lost significant weight repeatedly
  • have gained significant weight in a short period of time
  • struggle with chronic diarrhea or constipation

   I’d like to encourage you to reach out to the NEDA helpline—it has trained volunteers that are able to assist you in finding available support and treatment options suitable for you. The helpline phone hours are Monday-Thursday 11am-9pm ET, Friday 11am-5pm ET and helpline chat hours are Monday-Thursday 9am-9pm ET, Friday 9am-5pm ET. Please stay safe and take care. 


Sending you hugs, hope you are ok.

NEDA is here to support you during the evolving COVID-19 outbreak. The health of our community, especially those who are most vulnerable to the virus' serious complications, remains paramount. To access resources that can provide free and low-cost support, please click here.