(1) Dear Alice,
I am a freshman. I have an eating disorder, and I was wondering if there were any support groups online that you knew of. Please tell me. I would like to get support, but there are no groups on campus or close to me.
Someone who needs help
I know that I have an eating disorder...I starve myself for weeks eating as little as possible, then stuff myself to the point where I am sick. I want to know where I can go, through e-mail or over the internet, to talk to someone anonymously. I am too embarrassed to tell anyone around me. I realize how bad this is because of how it is affecting my life and happiness. I am trying to reach out... So who can I e-mail?
Dear Someone who needs help and Reader #2,
Bravo to the two of you for making the decision to reach out and seek support and assistance for your eating disorders, whether or not you have already. It takes courage to ask for help. It's an important step in the recovery and healing journey to regaining your optimal health and well-being. Although it can be a long and bumpy road, the first step is usually the hardest.
As you likely know, there are many websites specifically aimed at individuals with eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and compulsive overeating. Most of the worthy websites are comprehensive, providing not only general information about eating disorders, but also information for getting help, for friends and family, and links to on-line support resources (i.e., other websites, newsgroups, and e-mail discussion groups), just to name a few.
While health care providers will tell you that seeking support in person is both normal and recommended, the most important part is reaching out. If you are uncomfortable seeking in person support (at least right now), perhaps some of these sites can help get things going. To start you off, below is a short list of some online eating disorder resources. Of possible interest to you, some of them will give you the opportunity to interact with others dealing with eating disorders, either directly or indirectly.
If you are a student at Columbia, there are a good number of resources available to you. Columbia Health has an Eating Disorders Team on the Morningside Campus that is interdisciplinary and focused on providing support. These highly trained professionals offer individual consultation, medical evaluations, counseling, nutrition support and more. Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) also has groups for students. You can check out the updated counseling gropus list for more information. On the CUMC campus students can contact Mental Health Services for support with eating disorders. If you are not at Columbia, consider making an appointment with a therapist who specializes in eating disorders, either at your school's counseling service or by a referral from your primary health care provider. You’re not the first to ask and you won’t be the last.
Kudos again for reaching out! All the best as you take the first step toward a healthier approach to eating.Alice!