I was scared to try counselling. What if it didn’t work? What would I do then? What would they say to me? What would they think of me? What would they make me do? What would they make me say? What would my classmates, friends, and family think of me if they found out? What if it made my binging worse?
The idea of bringing up the past and facing how much I’ve managed to screw up my life made me want to curl up into the fetal position and cry. Where would I even start? My issues with eating date back to the 5th grade. It felt like opening up the most horrible, ugly, maddening, why-won’t-it-go-away-and-why-does-it-smell-so-bad can of worms.
Just remember that your life is worth it. Your life is worth saving.
I was fairly comfortable with the idea of opening up to a stranger though. It helped that my counsellor Karen was very gentle, very kind, and very compassionate. You have to be ready to change. You have to be ready to be honest. You have to be ready to try and try and try, over and over again.
To speed along my recovery, I attended group counselling for my depression and one-on-one counselling for my BED. I used the free counselling services available at my university. Part of my skepticism about seeking counselling was due to the fact that there wasn’t a counsellor at my university who specialized in treating eating disorders, but going there made the most sense for my schedule and my budget. There were times when I thought that Karen was trying to fit me into a different disorder that she had more experience in treating, but in the end, what I received was sufficient to get my life back on track.
For those wondering, I attended counselling every two weeks for two and a half months before I felt that I had enough tools to go forth with my recovery on my own. However, you should stay in counselling for as little or as long as you need. I felt ready to end counselling when I felt that there was nothing more it could really offer me – it was now just a matter of being persistent, staying positive, and sticking to the right strategies for me. Don’t confuse this with “I don’t think counselling is working for me” after only one or two sessions. It will take time before things start to improve because you and your counsellor need time to get to know each other better and figure out what strategies work best for you.
It still crosses my mind every day that I wish I had gotten help sooner.
Sure, I can try to justify my decision to seek counselling later with bullcrap like “by starting from rock bottom, I’m showing myself how strong I can really be”, but the truth is that I will regret not seeking help at the early signs of my eating disorder for the rest of my life.