Over the years, we have found that those supporting someone with an eating disorder or disordered eating can often feel left out or unsupported themselves as they watch their loved one experience this illness. Even when the individual is on the road to recovery, the supporter, too, can find this a difficult process and be unsure where to seek support or know who to talk to . We have discovered that, supporters are often ‘unsupported’ themselves and this can lead to stress, depression and mental health difficulties for supporters too.
Eating disorders don’t just affect the person experiencing the eating disorder/disordered eating. Anyone who has some form of relationship with the individual can also be affected. Parents, friends, other family members, colleagues and many others are also affected by the eating disorder experience. It can be a difficult time for others too - especially those who are close to the person experiencing an eating disorder or disordered eating. Those supporting the person, such as parents, may be known as ‘carers’ or ‘supporters’ (depending on what term you prefer to use).
We prefer the term ‘supporter' as it considers the wide range of people who may be affected by the eating disorder experience.
Our Support Service for Supporters and Carers is for anyone who is 'supporting' a friend, family member, partner, colleague, or anyone else with an eating disorder or disordered eating.
Supporting someone with eating disorders and disordered eating/eating distress can be difficult and stressful in many ways. It can be painful, frustrating, worrying and upsetting to watch someone we care about experience problems with eating and food.
You may really want to do everything you can to help your loved one get 'better’. However, it’s important that supporters remain strong and cared for too. It’s difficult to support someone if we are feeling stressed or anxious; are constantly worrying; don't take time away from the ‘eating disorder’; or abandon looking after ourselves.. It makes sense, doesn’t it?
Our Supporters and Carers Support Service provides a time and space to care for yourself and share some of your thoughts and feelings with a patient, understanding and non-judgemental therapist or counsellor. We can offer one-to-one therapy, counselling, guided CBT self-help, stress management therapy, coaching and more. We hope to re-start our Supporters and Carers Support Groups in the near future too, so watch out for updates about that.
Please note: therapy and counselling offers a time and space to focus on you, your experiences and your thoughts and feelings. While sessions may involve exploring the impact of the person’s eating disorder on you, we will not provide advice or tips on how to support or care for the person with the eating disorder. The role of therapy or counselling is not to provide advice or an information service. Rather, it’s a time and space to explore your own thoughts, feelings and experience with a qualified, skilled professional clinician. We would recommend contacting an advice or information service, such as a charity, if you are specifically seeking information or advice about how to support someone with an eating disorder.
We understand and recognise how difficult and distressing It can be to witness someone you care about experience an eating disorder. It’s hard-going at times, isn’t it? However, you are not alone and the Talking EDs team are here to offer emotional, psychological and mental health support that is tailored to you and at your pace. Please feel to get in Contact with us if you need any more information, have any questions or would like to book an appointment.