I started binging and purging almost two years ago, because of my extreme depression. I also started reducing my food intake so much that I lost a lot of weight very quickly. I’ve never been the correct weight for my size. I’ve always been underweight, so a large amount of weight loss is pretty significant. i went into therapy to treat the depression, but the food issues were never mentioned. Now, I’m still binging and purging. I eat as little as possible, and exercise when I can. I’m purging when I feel I’ve eaten more than I should have, which is every day at least. My friends have noticed my purging. A girl I liked gave me an ultimatum that if I didn’t at least try and get help we couldn’t be together. Stress is my middle name. I have issues at home, school, work, every aspect of my life is difficult. I ruin every relationship i am in, whether with friends or family. My self-esteem is very low, and i hate my body. I’m completely blind, so it’s just a bit more complicated. I am also albino so I’m really pale, and people are always staring at me. My grades are good, and I’m a perfectionist. I don’t think i have a problem. It’s just how I live my life. Do I really need help, or are people just jealous of me?
A: Usually if someone asks, “Should I get help for…,” I typically answer with a yes. If it’s been on your mind and you are struggling with how to handle it on your own, why not get help? In your case, you already have experience with therapy so it won’t seem like such a huge leap to address another concern.
Not all therapists are trained in picking up on an eating disorder, and ultimately it is the client’s responsibility to bring the issues to the therapist that you want (or think you need) help with. Unlike some professional relationships, psychotherapy is a collaborative one.
You state that you purge daily, the binging and purging has been going on long enough to know that it is not just a “phase,” and you have had significant weight loss, so taking all that into consideration, I do recommend that you address these issues in therapy. In my experience, an eating disorder is often an outward sign of an internal struggle such as self-esteem or body image issues. It can be a way to have some control when you feel that much of your life is out of control. The good news is that you can learn many other coping skills that will not harm you and will ultimately lead to feeling much better about yourself.
Thank you for writing in, and I hope that you get some help soon.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts