Sunday, April 29, 2012

The First Step

In my opinion the first step in recovery from bulimia is making yourself see a counselor. It is not: admitting you have a problem, swearing to yourself that you’ll stop, or wanting to get better. Admitting you have a problem is very good, but it doesn’t get you anywhere. I knew I had a problem the first time I stuck my fingers down my throat. That wasn’t enough to make me stop. I was too ashamed of myself to tell anyone and even though I knew I had a problem I didn’t want to bring it to light. I thought I could handle it on my own.
Of course I was wrong, and I don’t think anyone has ever been right about that. Trying to control the urge to throw up and binge on your own doesn’t work because the disease is like an addiction. It might work for a while, but eventually there will be a relapse.
Wanting the illness to be gone is not enough on its own either. It doesn’t give you the tools to stop throwing up.
All these things added together might make you seek help, which is what I think catalyzes the recovery process. Telling someone you have a problem makes you feel less along, or at least it did for me. It also gave me the responsibility of throwing up. Before, I could engage in whatever behaviors I wanted and no one would judge me or think less of me. When I had to tell someone about what I was doing, I had much more incentive to stop myself from throwing up. Also, just having someone know made me want to prove to that person that I could get better. So I tried harder to stop myself from binging and throwing up.
The person I told about my problem was a counselor who I’d never met before in my life. None of my friends knew, my parents didn’t know, so in my regular life I wasn’t really being held accountable for my actions. However, even though I knew the counselor didn’t judge me, I still had more incentive to stop throwing up. If for no other reason than this, I urge anyone with this disease to seek help.
The best way to do this is probably to just force yourself to do it. When I called the counseling office, I was shaking and I almost hung up. But I reminded myself that I could always back out at a later date- which made me feel less anxious about continuing during that moment.
No one has to know you saw a counselor. No one has to know why you saw a counselor. No one has to know when you saw a counselor.
The secret can still be contained. No damage.
Just get help. 

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