Last year I got influenced by an anorexic friend and I started experiencing eating disorder symptoms. I binged & starved & eventually ended up purging as well. I went to therapy for 6 months & got over all of it. I was eating fine for 3 months, and then I finished therapy. Now I’m having thoughts about eating disorders, calories, all my problem areas, etc. I don’t eat more than 1200 calories, & there’s lots of days where I eat way less. I don’t know what to do, because my parents and everyone else think I got over it already. I can’t tell them that it started again. I also can’t go back to therapy because I can’t afford it. I really don’t want to have this again, especially because I’m only restricting this time around and not binging, and I don’t want to end up in the hospital. I just can’t seem to eat normally though. My head is definitely playing games with me, and I don’t know how to stop it. I don’t have most of the symptoms for anorexia either, besides for restricting. I’m not underweight or feeling cold, etc. So it’s not dangerous, yet. I am totally normal besides for this. I hang out with friends, go to school, work, etc. I am pretty happy with myself, which is also why I don’t understand why I’m doing this to myself.
You had previously gone to therapy and it was successful. Try to think back to what about the therapy helped you. Perhaps what you learned in those sessions can assist you now.
Part of why you are not returning to therapy is because you can’t afford it but you also don’t want to go. You also don’t believe that your eating disorder is “dangerous [enough] yet” and thus therapy, in your mind, isn’t required yet. I would disagree. Any time you deprive your body of its proper nutrients, it’s being damaged. It’s always dangerous.
If you’re a college student, then you can utilize the college counseling center for free. Many college counseling centers provide high-quality services. Utilize those services, if they are available to you.
If your parents have health insurance and you’re under 25, then you may be covered under their policies.
Community mental health centers are also an option. They offer low-cost or sliding-scale fee psychological services. Sometimes, services are free depending on your level of income.
Finally, another idea is to contact your previous therapist and ask for his or her advice. The therapist might be willing to see you temporarily, free of charge, or refer you to a clinic that provides low-cost or free services.
Therapy worked well for you in the past. If the problem has returned, then it would be wise to repeat what has proven to be successful in the past. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. They are very serious disorders which require treatment. The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner you can eliminate these symptoms and minimize the damage to your body. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog