SHOULD I GET HELP
People with eating and body concerns often struggle to decide whether or not to get help. Sometimes they think that their problems are not serious enough to deserve help. At ROAR, we know that eating and body concerns are very serious and that help is needed. And we also know that the impact of eating and body concerns goes far beyond the direct effect on eating or body image. As well as distress and discomfort, eating and body concerns are linked to many difficulties in other areas of life. These can cause severe health problems and contribute to the need for eating and body concerns to be taken seriously.
“I DIDN’T WANT HELP OR REALISE HOW SICK I WAS.”
Having eating and body concerns impacts overall quality of life. People report problems with physical and emotional health, difficulties with relationships, and interference with work or study, or getting things done in everyday life.
FOCUSING ON EATING OR TRYING TO CONTROL BODY WEIGHT, SHAPE OR SIZE CAN TAKE UP TOO MUCH TIME AND ENERGY. IT CAN FEEL LIKE EATING AND BODY CONCERNS ARE TAKING OVER.
THE START OF THE JOURNEY TO REACH OUT AND RECOVER HAS THREE KEY STEPS.
- Recognising that behaviours and thoughts around eating and body image have become problematic
- Understanding the serious impact of these problems on other areas of life, and
- Working through things that get in the way of seeking help
Although it can be a painful process, it is vital that people carefully and honestly recognise their problems and how much they impact their lives. Often this provides a strong push towards seeking help. This “Should I Get Help” page of ROAR will help you see your situation in more depth and prepare you for taking action towards getting help. The “I Want & Need Help” page of ROAR will focus on working through concerns about getting help.
EATING AND BODY CONCERNS ARE SERIOUS;
PROFESSIONAL HELP IS CRUCIAL.
PEOPLE WITH EATING AND BODY CONCERNS:-
- NEED facts, information, and the right help; these problems don’t get fixed on their own
- DESERVE to receive help, support, and understanding
- GET TRAPPED in eating and body image worries; they are not to blame for these problems
- DO NOT CHOOSE to have eating and body concerns and become unwell
- CAN BE HELPED: treatment does work for eating and body concerns
HOW DO EATING AND BODY CONCERNS IMPACT YOUR LIFE?
Thinking about the impact of eating and body concerns can be daunting. It might make you want to try and forget your problems. Or, you might want to try to avoid thinking about how serious they are. It is natural to try and avoid feelings of discomfort, but unfortunately, avoidance is not a solution. Understanding the impact of your eating and body concerns in other parts of your life can help you to find the type of help that will be best suited to your needs.
TAKE SOME TIME TO THINK ABOUT HOW EATING AND BODY CONCERNS AFFECT YOU.
- Have you noticed any physical symptoms, like feeling weak, dizzy, or faint?
- What about your emotional health? Have you felt distressed, guilty, or ashamed by your eating and body concerns. Have you felt “stuck” in your problems? Or maybe you have felt like you needed alcohol or drugs to cope?
- How has your social life and enjoyment of activities been affected? Have you noticed that you feel isolated from friends or family, or find yourself being secretive about what you do to try to control your weight, shape or size? Or are you struggling to be involved with or enjoy important activities and events – like your life is limited by your concerns?
HOW CAN MAKING CHANGES BE HELPFUL?
Support and treatment aims to help people reduce or let go of their eating and body concerns to improve quality of life. Treatment involves working with a health professional to address dieting and restriction, binge eating and overeating, and exercise and other behaviours used to control weight, shape, and size. Help for body image aims to help people accept their body without changing their weight, shape, size, or appearance. It is also important to try to work towards a sense of self-worth that is not caught up in weight, shape, or size, or by the ability to control eating.
Making these changes can make an enormous difference in people’s lives. Many people talk about feeling valuable as a person again, rather than just being identified by their eating and body concerns. They may also experience a sense of freedom in being able to leave their concerns behind, and notice that their concerns no longer dominate their lives.
Positive changes in eating and body concerns tend to flow on to other areas of life. Although support and treatment is usually initially focused directly on eating and body concerns, getting help is also about overall health, wellbeing, and sense of self. Professional help can assist with other issues that are related to, or have been caused by, eating and body concerns. These are things like low self-worth, feelings of depression and anxiety, isolation or difficulties in relationships, and physical health problems. Another benefit of help seeking is gaining new skills and enhancing existing skills to cope with life’s challenges without needing to turn back to eating and body image related behaviours to feel secure or in control.
“I FELT THAT I DIDN’T DESERVE HELP, BUT I KNEW I COULDN’T CHANGE WHAT I WAS DOING BY MYSELF.”
LET GO OF YOUR STRUGGLES TO CREATE SPACE IN YOUR LIFE AWAY FROM EATING AND BODY CONCERNS
WHAT HELP IS AVAILABLE?
There are many different forms of help available. These include online information and resources, self-help books, support groups, and individual therapy. There are important things that you need to do when seeking help, no matter which type of help you choose. This will mean you will get the most from the help you choose. Try to be as honest as you can with yourself, and with the health professionals you are seeing. This will help both parties to work out the best approach to help you get well. Part of being honest also involves asking questions if you are unsure of what the health professional is recommending. Asking questions helps clear up any misunderstandings and ensures you get the help that fits best for you.
It is also important to commit yourself to the help process. Seeking and accepting help is a very big challenge and you will be able to get the most out of the process if you are willing to really work at it, even if at times it feels uncomfortable or like progress is slow. Having a belief in recovery will go a long way to freeing yourself from eating and body concerns.
“BELIEVE IN RECOVERING BEING 100% POSSIBLE.”
IS IT TOO EARLY TO NEED HELP? MAYBE I’M NOT SICK ENOUGH?
Some people with eating and body concerns delay seeking help because they think they are not sick enough. They may also think they do not deserve help. These worries mean that people who really need support and treatment miss out. Don’t let these worries hold you back from seeking help. Everyone with eating and body concerns deserves help. No problem is too small.
Recovery from eating and body concerns is possible at any stage, no matter how long people have been affected. But, we also know that seeking help early gives people the best chance of making positive changes. ROAR strongly encourages you to reach out and seek information, support, and treatment – no matter how long you have been struggling with eating and body concerns. There is a level of support that’s right for you.