Community Magazine

Therapy Value

By Survivingana @survivingana

I have reprinted the post from Libero Network this week about therapy. Far too many think they can beat an eating disorder by themselves, hiding away in a corner. It really cannot be done. The ED is so complex, is so interwoven into your mind and life that you need professional help. You need someone to teach you how to challenge the ED thinking. Also the ED isolates you – therapy introduces you to normal, social life and reaching out to others.


therapy for eating disorders
Most of us need professional help to find freedom and there is no weakness in this, only courage. Courage because accepting help is scary. It means admitting to yourself that something is wrong. It means acknowledging your pain and your struggle to cope with this.

You might feel alone, but I can promise you you are not. I feel your pain. I feel your fear of therapy. Still, I encourage you to open up and reach out.

Throughout my recovery from anorexia, I’ve been in touch with several therapists. All of them have contributed to my healing process by helping me challenge the disordered thoughts and behaviors. Destructive thoughts tend to be normalized, meaning we are no longer able to visualize an alternative way of thinking and being. By opening up about your experiences with a therapist he or she can help you change your perspective.

For me this meant learning to no longer believe in the thoughts that told me I was worthless. What more, I came to understand that underneath the eating disorder behavior was a deep and painful void. There were feelings of loneliness and despair, as well as a sense of inner chaos and lack of belonging.

Only by realizing the complexity of our struggles can we truly begin the road to healing.

What we carry within differs, but therapy can provide you with a safe place for exploring your thoughts, feelings and experiences. A good therapist meets your story with compassion and respect, and validates your feelings. People with a mental illness and/ or addictions often struggle to believe in themselves and tend to undermine their feelings. Through therapy you will learn to see yourself as worthy of respect, and as someone whose feelings and words are to be taken seriously.

For me this was a huge relief. For years I had struggled in silence, believing no one would ever understand how I felt. Entering therapy was like entering a world of love and compassion. It felt comforting to finally interact with someone who would be with me in my darkness, listen to me and reach out to the part of me who wanted to live. The different therapists I’ve worked with have all managed to connect with my desire to live, which again have helped me change my behavior.

Realizing I actually had dreams and hopes for the future motivated me to choose acting in ways that enhanced my recovery, and not the eating disorder.

While feeling understood and acknowledged provided me with a sense of comfort, therapy is not and should not be all about being comfortable. A therapist offers support but he or she will also challenge you. This is not done to be mean, but to help you make progress and empower you. By facing your fears you will discover your strength. You are capable of doing so much more than you think, but to realize this strength require of you to challenge your limits and confront what you are trying to avoid.

For me this meant having to eat more than anorexia accepted and sit down when the anorexic voice told me to exercise. It also meant confronting the void within, as well as my painful memories. This was not fun at all, but at the end of the day it helped save my life. I stopped doing damage to my body and mind in order to cope, and instead began using my voice. I learned healthy coping mechanisms and every time I managed to disobey anorexia my belief in myself increased.

We cannot talk our way through recovery; healing requires action and a therapist will help you find the courage to do what you have to do in order to get better. He or she will support you as you go through your challenges and encourage you to hold on when things get scary and tough (which they do!). Taking it one step at a time can lead to powerful change and recovery. It took me a while to actually trust the therapists and follow the advice they gave me, but once I started to do this I could feel how treatment helped strengthen me and weaken anorexia.

With a therapist you connect with and a treatment tailored to your needs, therapy can become an important part of your recovery. A therapist can not do the hard work for you, but he or she will offer you encouragement and valuable tools and techniques.

There is both freedom and healing to be found in opening up. Daring to be vulnerable and say ” This is me. I struggle.” could be your first step towards recovery. Therapy can help you get to the root of your problems, overcome challenges, and make positive changes in your life.

It is hard and at times painful work, but what you can gain makes therapy worth it.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog