How Do I Share My EDNOS with Friends and Family?

By February 20, 2013

How do I share my EDNOS with friends and family? I am not sure technically what my diagnosis is, but my therapist says I am a compulsive overeater. Not to glamorize anorexia or bulimia (which I know can be fatal), but compulsive overeating sounds like I made it up. The few people I have told haven’t seemed to take it very seriously. Also, some I have told act as if I should change my behavior overnight. They look at me funny if I have a cookie or a glass of wine. No one wants to really talk about, including my husband. I am sorry I mentioned it. The whole experience has made me want to head straight for the food, only now I have to eat in secret because I “outed” myself. Help! – Therese

Dear Therese,

I am struck by your letter because it sounded like you had some “hope,” and it decreased based on your experience with people close to you. I am sorry that it felt that way. Apparently, you decided it was time for some kind of change because you initiated a relationship with a therapist. And it sounds as if someone was able to give you a structure, label, or name for what you were experiencing. Perhaps you quickly thought others would join you in relief that there was some diagnosis, label, name. And, it reads, that you have ended up feeling shame about the diagnosis and about the perceptions others have about the diagnosis, and you have socially and emotionally retreated.

I read your disappointment in reactions and your sadness that it is not safe to be open. I encourage you to continue to process this experience and others with a professional. There are therapeutic options that can help you understand how to obtain wholeness and health and freedom from shame. Additionally, the two of you can determine how much others need to know, if others knowing is necessary for your healing, and how you can have your truth (disordered eating) while others struggle to understand.

Your healing is not dependent on them “getting it.” Your healing and freedom is tied to YOU getting it.

Your energy is best spent focusing on the relationship with your counselor/treatment provider. The data is clear from over fifty years of studies that persons in therapy do better then 80% of people who get no help. Notice the relationship you have with the professional and determine if you two have similar views of change, hope and healing.

Blessings to you!