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Lost Period: Time to Seek Help?

By May 23, 2012

I have a history of struggling with anorexia through my high school and college years and was actually hospitalized twice. I am now in my mid-thirties and am seeing some signs in that lead me to believe that I might be struggling again. I am 5’0 and weigh *** pounds. I am small-framed and low *** is a good (and natural) weight for me. I eat three smallish meals a day (no snacks) and exercise most every day for 30 minutes. I have been weighing myself every day but have been able to recognize that those lower numbers are very compelling, leading me to want to see even LOWER numbers…so I am trying to only weigh myself twice a week. I have not had a period in six months, and sometimes feel a little weak between meals, but otherwise feel OK. My question is: at what point should I seek help? I feel like I’m on the edge of either turning back from this disorder (again), or stepping right back into it. With a husband and children, there’s so much at stake in my NOT getting back into this terrible problem. Should I give myself a period of time, say a month, to see if I can get a handle on this myself? Or should I seek help from a counselor or my doctor now? – WG

Dear WG,

I am so glad you wrote! Yes! Please listen to the voice that tells you to seek help as soon as possible. I believe that is your voice of wisdom and logic. The lower one’s weight becomes, the more easily that voice of reason is drowned out.

Just as you said, continued weight loss can be SO COMPELLING. Losing your ability to think clearly can happen at any time now. With patients, I see this happening so dramatically. One day someone can be rational and aware of what they may be risking and the next day all logic can be gone and the twisted thinking related to the starvation response and disordered eating is firmly in place. And once someone loses that link to what is really important, it is very difficult to change. As we know, unfortunately some people never regain their ability to make very sound choices.

You are so right about having a lot at stake. Your children and husband deserve you to be healthy in mind and body. And you deserve to enjoy your precious family. Disordered eating can destroy a family.

Losing your period is a loud message from your body that things are very wrong. I’m glad you’ve decreased your weighing. Weighing just tends to fuel the compulsion when we are struggling.

Yes, please seek help now. See the link to therapists, nutritionists and treatment facilities and make calls right away: Finding Treatment.

Warmly,
Fb Team