Having an eating disorder is hard. It affects the person who has the disorder, along with every person and aspect in the disordered person’s life. I have experienced this first hand. When I was faced with the decision to go to treatment, I had to accept reality. My life, my family, friends, job, and finances would all be affected by my leave of absence when I decided to get help.
With all of the apprehensions and fears that come along with making the profound and brave decision to get better, I felt like a burden and blaming it on my disorder. This misdirected blame can be the reason people do not seek help. Money, time, and feelings- they can make you feel like a burden. But in reality, you are a human.
When you decide to get help- it takes money.
Yes- seeking treatment can be expensive. It can be a burden on a family that does not have the up-front means to pay for the help.
But there is one thing that is more important than the burden of debt- your life.
I am a school teacher and so is my husband. We have bills that come at a cost to our everyday living without a bump in the road. My decision to go to treatment put our family in a financial bind. Before I committed to get the help I needed, I got in the “We can’t afford for me to get help” mindset. It made my ED tell me that I was not worthy of the money it would cost to save my life.
But that was just it- it was my life on the line. When my father-in-law asked me straight up what amount of money my life was worth, I could not give him an answer. He hugged me and said, “I can tell you this, it is worth way more than $20,000.
When you decide to get help, it takes time.
Oh the age old enemy – time. When I was faced with a 45 day minimum inpatient treatment stay, my heart sank. I could not leave my husband, my kids, my job for that amount of time! I had never even left my kids for a weekend, much less 6 weeks!
The ED tried to come up with every excuse in the book on why my life, my job, my family could not make it 6 weeks without me. My husband made a profound and truthful statement. “Brooke, time is going to pass regardless. You have to think of this as 45 days for 45 years of a free and healthy life.”
Living free– that was a foreign concept to me. When I was deep in my disorder, I had no concept of time. My time revolved around my ED thoughts and behaviors.
The time I spent in treatment was worth every second I have gained back in recovery.
I use to be a bystander in my life- unable to connect and enjoy any moment or situation. Now, after giving my all in the recovery process, I will be able to live free and enjoy my time in the present- healthy and free.
When you decide to get help- you have to face your feelings.
Feelings can be a burden, 100%. My feelings about my body, my fitness, my food intake, my self-worth- were for sure a burden for a long time. They plagued my life on every level. Holding me back from connections and relationships, they made me feel I was not good enough to pursue my dreams.
I’d beat myself up on a daily basis for “ruining everything” with my disordered thoughts and feelings. Until one day I received a card. The card simply stated:
You are not a burden, you are a human.
Tears immediately welled up in my eyes because this one statement summed up all the insecurities I had felt for years. Through my childhood, my disorder, my need for treatment. That one statement gave me the grace I needed to move forward and receive help. I am forever grateful for that card. And now I want to give it to you:
You are not a burden. You are a human.
And you deserve to live free, so do what it takes to get that freedom. You are worth it!