When was the last time that you asked someone for help with something? Were you putting together Ikea furniture and using those gosh-darned complicated instructions? Maybe it was asking for help with getting a jar off of the top shelf. Did you ask someone to help you with a project at work? As humans, we are not meant to do everything on our own! We are meant to work together and help one another out in times of need.
This same logic goes for eating disorder recovery. This is a tough process. Period. And is it not one that you have to do alone - it is okay to ask for support. By now, you might have a treatment team (if not, check out this resource for more help with assembling one). Or maybe you have even found our Eating Disorder Recovery Support Community and connected to others who have a similar story. Wherever you are in your journey, having support beyond your treatment team is key. This, however, means opening up and being vulnerable with this person, which we totally understand can be scary. Luckily, we have some tips that might make asking for help easier.
Find the person you trust
This could be a family member, a guardian, teacher, or just a close friend. Regardless of who it is, it should be someone that you feel comfortable around! Preferably, this should be someone who you have known for a significant amount of time, and who knows you beneath the surface level. Perhaps it is someone who has been there for you in the past in other life events.
While it can be scary to think about opening up to someone about what you’re going through, think about it this way: How would you react if someone came to you asking for help with the same thing? You probably wouldn’t judge them or turn them away in their time of need. Chances are, it will make them feel honored that you trust them enough to share this with them.
Have the conversation in a safe, comfortable environment
Starting this conversation in the middle of a busy shift, on the crowded train, or during a social gathering may not be ideal - it may be distracting, or your conversation may be cut short. Instead, try to approach this person in an environment in which there are no distractions, and there is a small chance of interruption.
You may invite this person to coffee or tea in a quaint cafe. If being in public feels uncomfortable, maybe it’s better to invite them over to your place. A good moment could even be a car ride in between belting your favorite tunes.
Be specific about your needs
You can be as concise as you want in this step! There is no need to over-explain or give an in-depth backstory if you are not comfortable doing so. It can be as simple as 1, 2, 3!
- State what you are experiencing
- Describe the impact it is having on you
- How you would like this person to show up for you in recovery
It can be helpful to even make some notes for yourself before going into the conversation. That way, you know exactly what you want to tell this person, and exactly what they can do to help you. Maybe it’s having them check in with you once per week, or it could be making plans to have a meal together. If you’re not sure what would be the most helpful for you, talk to your treatment team or members of our Eating Disorder Recovery Community! They can help you make a list of things that could be helpful for you.
Conveying the ways in which this person has positively impacted your recovery will let your support person know how much you appreciate them!
Eating disorder recovery is a process, and you deserve every bit of support that you can get! It all starts here. Whether you are looking for some one-on-one help, or are looking for a community of others who are going through recovery, we are here to support you!