Afraid to Get Help

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m turning 18 in a couple weeks. I’m a female that has been dealing with Bipolar-like symptoms, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts since an event in my family at the age of 12. It has been a long, tiring road, and around January of this year I developed an eating disorder.

Some days I accept that I need help, but am too afraid to seek it, while other days, I am in complete denial and insist that I’m “not that sick”. While I have only lost about 12 pounds, my methods of getting there have completely taken over my life.

I can’t remember how it feels to truly be “free”, and although I know recovery will never end, I was wondering what would be the easiest way to look for treatment? I honestly believe that if I go to a therapist, I will clam up and never go back again. Or.it’ll just make me crack even more.

I have researched inpatient facilities, but due to cost and the fact that my parents know nothing about any of this (and that I’m on their insurance), they are counted out.

I guess I don’t have a flat out question – I guess I just need some advice. Sorry for taking so much time.

Thanks,

A: First, you are not taking my time. In fact, it was important that you asked for help. You found out that the earth didn’t open up and swallow you for doing so. Nothing bad happened. That’s an important lesson for you to take in.

You are right to seek out treatment. The place to start is with a therapist who has some expertise in eating disorders and probably trauma. Although you live in a tiny town, there is good help within an easy drive. Click on the “Find help” tab on our homepage as a place to start. You might also ask your primary care physician for some names of local therapists.

Since you are on their insurance, I do encourage you to ask your parents to support you in seeking treatment. They don’t need to know the details of why. You can tell them that you need some privacy and when you are ready, you will share what they need to know. Most parents of someone who is 19 are able to respect that. Don’t expect them not to be concerned. That’s what parents do. Ask for their patience and support as you figure something out for yourself.

Once you have an appointment, take your letter and this response with you to the first session and ask the therapist to read it. That will help you open up.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Jul 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Afraid to Get Help. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/07/18/afraid-to-get-help/

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