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I am frightened to talk to my counsellor about this

(132 Posts)
twoisplenty Tue 01-Sep-09 00:39:26

I have been seeing a counsellor for 5 sessions. It has been ok so far, but last week I finally blurted out that I have a problem with anxiety around food. I didn't say much more.

But I had anorexia years ago, and never talked about it to anyone (even my mum) except for a counsellor who helped me out of the mire.

It feels so frightening to talk about this. It is such a private thing.

And it is a shock to me that, now I have been honest with myself, that I do have a problem. Not the same as before, but still have issues around food and eating enough etc.

How am I going to get through the next session? I am just in shock and so scared.

The counsellor did ask me if my avoiding eating had anything to do with control. Well, no it doesn't (it definitely used to) but it does have a lot to do with coping.

It is past midnight and I am wide awake. So worried. I am not seeing her until Thursday.

Thanks for reading.

ruffletheanimal Tue 01-Sep-09 00:43:09

being scared is natural.
if shes any good she'll undestand and it'll be a FAR smaller deal to her than it feels to you right now.
besides, if you dont give her the truth, how can she help you?
youve been v brave. you will continue to be. have faith in yourself, you deserve it.

GreensleevesFlouncedLikeAKnob Tue 01-Sep-09 00:45:06

This is a normal reaction, you know - having counselling is bloody frightening, and intrusive, and you are right to feel the way you do

but the fact that you are feeling like this means that you are really engaging with the counselling and that it is getting through to the root of your problems

it IS frightening, I know (honestly, I do know how you feel) but it is also evidence that you are starting to get down to the essential work that you need to do

You are standing on the edge of a precipice and it's scary and you want to run away and say "Actually no, I'm fine here on this little ledge I've found, I don't need to do this after all"

but do it - do it, do it - talk about the anorexia, talk about the food issues - do it as slowly and as gingerly as you want to, the counsellor will follow your lead. Nothing terrible is going to happen to you if you talk about this - nobody is going to force you into anything you are not ready for or take away your coping strategies. It will be a much gentler process than you think, and you will feel so much better when you have dealt with this stuff - even started to deal with it - you won't recognise yourself

I can't recommend strongly enough that you keep going to the counsellor, trust yourself and let it out into the open, let the counselling do its work

someone said "feel the fear and do it anyway"

sorry, rambling and probably patronising, but..... xx

choosyfloosy Tue 01-Sep-09 00:45:33

Could you tell her about the fear, perhaps, even if not the issue itself?

She is there to help you - I hope she does.

You do not HAVE to talk about this.

twoisplenty Tue 01-Sep-09 00:52:36

Thank you so so much. I never actually expected any replies.

I DO have to talk about this. It is destructive. It needs to be sorted out. But I don't want to. I really don't want to.

Yes, I think I will start by talking about my state of anxiety, and go gently from there.

Standing on the edge of a precipice is such a good example. Greensleeves - did you have counselling, did it work? If so, how did you learn to cope without the "crutch" of an ed. You don't have to answer of course. Sorry to intrude.

I only really thought about my unusual daily habits the last few days. I was firmly in denial until then. So crushingly disappointing that I am not free from this, as I thought.

Rambling now...

You know, I am so grateful to mumsnet. So grateful there are lots of you to understand...thank you.

GreensleevesFlouncedLikeAKnob Tue 01-Sep-09 00:56:43

I have had lots of counselling grin

Like you, there was one central painful issue that I just couldn't talk about - my throat closed up at the thought of talking about it

and because I had messed up so many things in my life and accreted so many secondary problems, there was always plenty to talk about without me actually having to tackle the main horror

I did, eventually, talk about it with a lovely counsellor whom I trusted and who knew me fairly well by then

I had nightmares and disturbed sleep and felt as though I was being spun around in a washing machine for a while

but I am now totally pain-free on that issue, and although life is still not perfect by any means (I have long-term depression and anxiety, I still have very bad days etc) the blockage caused by that one awful big psychological issue has gone and I am more able to talk about things when they go wrong, to get help and to identify what I need when I need it

It wasn't until I finally dealt with that one thing that I realised just how much it had been disabling me

does that make sense? I do ramble grin

twoisplenty Tue 01-Sep-09 01:04:05

I like rambling! I do it myself!

thank you for being honest and open with me. I too have had oodles of counselling. Until recently I thought I was a strong capable wife/mother. But I was (am) forgetting about myself. I have totally ignored my needs.

I don't actually know if I have an ed or not. My whole thinking on the subject is warped. I know I used to have an ed, it was obvious. But now I am lost.

THe thing is, I didn't go for counselling over this issue. I went because I am not coping at home with a disabled child and all that entails. I am still struggling with many issues surrounding this.

So to really have to think about what I am doing to myself is such a shock.

You see, I am rambling!

GreensleevesFlouncedLikeAKnob Tue 01-Sep-09 17:04:36

hoping OP won't mind me bumping this, as I am sure there are other MNers with relevant experience/advice to give...

GreensleevesFlouncedLikeAKnob Tue 01-Sep-09 17:19:35


MANATEEequineOHARA Tue 01-Sep-09 17:24:38

Hmm, I have had experience with an ED counsellor and non ED counsellor, unfortunately there is a bit of a general lack of knowledge around food issues which means they can be addressed wrongly/badly.

I'm not doing very well here, I am meaning to be more positive, thing is, the best help by far IMO comes from support sites where I have met great people.
Webiteback, is a fave of mine, BUT it could seem a bit too 'in deep with EDs', and therefore triggering.
B-eat sets up support groups.
There is also somethingfishy, which can also be a bit deep.

Otherwise, obvioulsy DO talk to your counsellor more, you have done really well, it can be so scary, but if you find that is not helping, or creating issues that you need support with from people who have been there, then please do use some kind of support, CAT me if you like

twoisplenty Tue 01-Sep-09 17:25:16

Greensleeves, I have read your post (about the precipice) a few times today to try to feel a bit better. Such a good post, thank you, and it does help.

Unfortunately today, I have struggled to cope and have got back into old patterns of coping (ie not eating etc) and I feel calmer, but surreal. It's not a good thing to be doing, but it's familiar.

I am 39 years old, surely I should have found a better way of coping by now? I think it is temporary. It's hard to explain, but the counselling has whipped up some emotions from long ago and they are so real atm. And comforting as well.

MANATEEequineOHARA Tue 01-Sep-09 17:26:46

I mean ED specific support btw. Also, just have a google of EDNOS so you feel less alone!

twoisplenty Tue 01-Sep-09 17:28:54

Oh Manatee, I was putting a message together the same time as you! Thank you for your thoughts. Yes, I am not sure what my counsellor's experience is with ed, but I shall monitor her responses, and my general mental health at the same time. Thank you for the CAT idea, but I don't know what it is (alhtough I have seen loads of people say about CAT).

Thanks for the bumping Greensleeves. I would like to discuss this more.

MANATEEequineOHARA Tue 01-Sep-09 17:35:28

CAT is contacting someone on send them a message and mn send it on as an emaila, or something like that, and then you can talk by email, or whatever thereafter!

I sometimes go into old habits, often when having an identity crisis, or when anything stressful happens. Its so hard when it is the default comfort.

I know what you mean about the age thing, I have met loadds of older ED people though. However a friend of a friend recently died of her ED age can catch up with you.

Feierabend Tue 01-Sep-09 20:14:19

I think it's good that the counselling has stirred up issues that you have previously 'hidden' from yourself - that's the whole point of it, isn't it, understanding yourself better. Maybe you need a little more time before you trust your counsellor enough to talk about this, but if you feel you'll never be able to then maybe he/she isn't the right match for you and you need to find someone else? Maybe even go back to the one who helped you out in the first place, or is that not an option?

sherby Tue 01-Sep-09 20:18:26

brilliant post by greensleeves

twoisplenty Tue 01-Sep-09 21:31:03

I do like the counsellor I am seeing. She is very gentle with me, but does help me to see a few "home truths" and always helps me to be centred and calm before going home.

I don't want to go back to the counsellor who helped me get over anorexia years ago. I think she finished the counselling too early. Whilst I learned to have a better relationship with my mum, and for her to have respect for me, so I could be free of her emotional tie, I never learned any other coping mechanisms, so instead of got severely depressed.

It has taken years to learn how to like myself and enjoy being around other people. BUT life throws allsorts at you, and ten years ago I had my ds who was brain damaged at birth and now has cerebral palsy, epilepsy and severe learning problems. . The last two years has left me reeling, and I can only cope with so much! I have had enough but I cannot take a rest, both my dc need me, especially my ds who will never grow up.

Understandably I have such a range of emotions regarding all of this. I have ran out of coping strategies.

I must not be drawn in by an ed. I cannot afford to be ill or feel weak. I must be well. I am so worried about losing control.

I am hoping to see things more clearly tomorrow. I just can't believe I am here in this place (ed) again.

MANATEEequineOHARA Wed 02-Sep-09 07:42:46

I would really recomend because their is such a good attitude there about not getting sucked back in, and facing things, and loads more 'ideas' and wonderful positive people.
Also, although I have some issues with the somethingfishy forum, the 'glub games' are fabulous, and they have some brilliant ideas there for alternative coping strategies.

twoisplenty Wed 02-Sep-09 08:13:04

Thank you, I'll look into that. I am worried that if I look into the subject, I am encouraging things.

I want to explain what has happened to get me into this position, and I really need urgent advice on what to do next.

Last week with the counsellor, I mentioned that I avoided eating, because I was too busy, and that when I went to the kitchen, nothing appealed and so I found things to busy me, and the cycle would continue. I never thought much about it, so I was happy to tell her that much.

However, when I got home I thought honestly about my relationship with food, and was so shocked to realise that I avoid food a lot. And other things. I have very strong views on what is a "good" and "bad" food to an absessive level, and experiment with raw diet, but secretly. I feel constantly hungry, and that is a normal feeling.

But when I had thought all of this through, I got incredibly anxious, so so scared of going back to the counsellor. I feel that I hit a raw nerve, and I said too much. It has sent me in a tailspin, and now I am so anxious about tomorrow (appointment day).

For the last few days I have been in full anorexic mode, and I can't believe I have put myself in this position. I haven't had this behaviour for years.

What should I do? I can't talk about this to the cousellor, I feel it would actually force me back into more destructive behaviour.

I feel such a failure. And at the same time, my mature voice is saying, "I am making this up for attention, I am just exaggerating everything".

I would never never have foreseen this. I thought counselling would give me strength to deal with my life, I never even realised food was an issue.

Please help, I am hating this.

twoisplenty Wed 02-Sep-09 08:17:22

One idea I had earlier, was to write an email to my counsellor explaining things, because it's easier to write.

I am ok here on mumsnet, because it's safe. No-one knows me (I hope). But to face someone in person is impossible. I am shaking now with the thought of "confessing" to her. I don't know why.

I just keep repeating to myself that I can't believe this is happening, I can't believe I am doing this after all these years. I have to look after my dc, I have to be responsible, I am not a child anymore.

BonsoirAnna Wed 02-Sep-09 08:18:18

Is your current problem with anorexia due to moving in on the crux of your issues with your counsellor, feeling anxious about it, and therefore falling back on anorexia as your inappropriate coping mechanism?

As Greensleeves said, you really need to get the core issues out in the open (with yourself). That will prevent you from falling back on anorexia to deal with them. And then you need some more help to deal with your issues with food.

Good luck.

BonsoirAnna Wed 02-Sep-09 08:19:21

Writing an email to your counsellor is fine, if that is easier for you. Can you write things down here on MN?

twoisplenty Wed 02-Sep-09 08:21:30

What would you like me to write down? Writing to the counsellor is ok, except I have then got to face her, and she will have full knowledge. And she will want to discuss it.

BonsoirAnna Wed 02-Sep-09 08:22:59

I don't want you to write anything - I'm just saying that you are in a safe place to formulate your thoughts and feelings if you want to and that no-one will be anything but supportive smile

MANATEEequineOHARA Wed 02-Sep-09 08:32:57

I think you need to face it. It is too easy to think that by not facing it you are avoiding sinking in further, when you have admitted you are using ed behaviours anyway.

I first started going to an ed counsellor after I began to recover, and it actually set me back a bit because I wanted to have something to 'report' each week, some hideous slip up to talk about! But she was not a good counsellor (terminally ill anorexic herself!).

I think that talking about it with your counsellor wont make it worse, but by not facing it, you could just live forever with EDNOS always being there as a 'bad friend', but by facing it you can accept it's existence and challenge it.

I have to say, I need a kick up the backside about this too, I am kind of giving it to myself by posting here and saying this where some people know me irl. I suppose I can't hide behind an ed if everyone knows it is there...if I make any sense!?

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