National Eating Disorders Association

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A newbie who is lost and needing support!

I am a 23 year old who suffered seriously from bulimia for about 7 years before I was diagnosed by a doctor aged 20 and taken to rehab where I started recovery... Since then I have had several relapses but I have kept telling myself that slip ups don't count because I no longer do it every day. I know that I have been lying to myself as I have been obsessing for months over whether I can get away with going back to my old ways. I now live with my boyfriend who knows that I suffered from this problem but has no experience of it and very little understanding of how it affected my life then and how the obsession still eats away at me pretty much every minute of every day. I can't go back to my doctor as although he is incredibly understanding he just refers me back to my psychiatrist who seems to think that just because I am not a size zero that my problem that isn't serious and instead just patronises me and treats me as if I am a silly little girl who only makes herself sick for attention. He wouldn't even put me in the same groups as the other ED patients in rehab as I was' not at the same stage as them, 'which made me feel like I even failed at having bulimia because the others were much thinner and I was somehow a relatively normal size. I am too embarrassed to turn to my friends because I do not look ill and they see me eating lunch etc so I am worried that they would not believe me and not take me seriously and laugh at me behind my back. My Dad never believed I had a problem in the first place because of these same reasons even though he knew that I was throwing up all the time he used to find the wrappers from my binges after I had hidden them and tell me that I had no right to claim I needed help because if I wasn't 'such a pig' then I wouldn't need to be sick. I just feel totally lost and I have absolutely no-one to turn to.
I feel like I should be past this and I feel like the only way for someone to really help me is to let myself get back to my old ways until I look skeletal enough for someone to physically see I have a problem, but obviously this is the last thing I want to actually do.
I'm sorry this is such a long post, but I am so desperate for support of some kind through this because at the moment I don't know how I can keep going through my life feeling like this!

You've come to the right place

Hi Squee -

I'm sorry to hear you are having such a difficult time with both your recovery and your support team. I am so glad you came here for support. It's important to know that relapses are a normal part of recovery, so you are not alone in your fight to recovery! It sounds like you can definitely benefit from a new treatment team, one that understands that eating disorders aren't always about looking a certain way and being a certain weight. Unfortunately, you are not alone in that fight either. I encourage you to find new doctors in your area that specialize in eating disorders here:

Is that something you feel comfortable doing? I think it's important, especially because you have no one in your circle you can really talk to.

As for your boyfriend, it's hard for our loved ones to understand what we are going through when they haven't suffered from an eating disorder. I would love for him to read these links to learn what you are going through. Bring him right on the NEDA website to read for himself or print them up and give them to him yourself. I also encourage him to call the Helpline to talk with someone so he can get a better grasp on eating disorders. 1-800-931-2237 (M-F 9am-5pm EST). He can also find support groups under the Find Help & Support tab. You can do the same for your father if you feel he would be receptive to learning.

Some reading for you as well that I hope you will find inspiring:

Please don't give up on yourself! There are plenty of doctors out there that understand eating disorders are not about size. I can tell you are stronger than your eating disorder and I know you can live an ED-free life. I believe in you!

Thank you :)

Thank you for getting back to me :) it's comforting that someone out there is willing to listen and offer actual support. I will have a browse through the links! Hopefully my boyfriend will have a read, my Dad is a lost cause but that's okay now I no longer live with him. Will I be able to receive help even of I am not doing it all the time at the moment or do I have to wait for it to get worse again?

We are always here for you

Squee -

You absolutely can still get help! And you deserve recovery! It sounds like the doctors you are currently working with don't fully understand eating disorders, so they may not get that it's not all about size and engaging in behaviors consistently. You are suffering and you can find the right treatment team for you.

I'm sorry your dad is a lost cause, but happy to hear that your boyfriend is open to educating himself. And we are always here to support you!

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.