Diagnosed but still don't accept it

I received my diagnosis letter from the consultant yesterday. It was strange seeing the words anorexia nervosa in black and white on a page relating to me. I went to the gp in June because I had started purging which scared me. At the time my weight and bmi were within the healthy range so the gp wasn't concerned but referred me to the mental health team because of all the issues going on at the moment. From that pre-assessment I was referred to the eating disorders team but I kind of expected them to say I was overreacting and don't have a problem and maybe I'd be put on a waiting list for some therapy at some point.

I had my pre-assessment with the Ed team in September and was shocked to get the call the following week to say I had been placed on the priority waiting list for one to one therapy and also receiving weekly outreach appointments. The consultant requested to see me rather than just oversee my care, which was a mighty uncomfortable appointment but even hearing the things they were saying I struggled to accept them, kind of don't see these things as relating to me, maybe it's a denial thing, burying my head in the sand or the Ed voices are just stronger than the rational ones, I don't know? My weight and bmi has continued to fall and my behaviours have not changed.

Getting the letter yesterday has left me feeling strange. It's there in black and white but I don't accept it. My bmi is only just under 18 so not that low. I accept I have an unhealthy relationship with food and use it to control and distract from feeling emotions and dealing with issues so therapy will hopefully be beneficial, but I just wondered if this is a normal reaction and what others have experienced and think.


9 Replies

  • In my experience totally normal - anorexia is a very powerful mental illness and it tells you complete lies and distorts reality. From what you say your relationship with food is an issue and needs looking at with professionals. Purging is a serious issue with regards to your long-term health - and the need you have to do this also needs addressing. Facing the truth and giving a label to the problem is only the start - it is a hard journey towards recovery as anorexia definitely does not want to let go of you - but it is a journey that is worth all the effort - do make sure you've supportive people around you - and do be honest with those you see - tell them how it is not how you think they want it to be. Good luck.

  • crazycrossstitcher, you are such an inspiration to those struggling with ED. I always feel better seeing your responses in knowing that they are getting the correct advice and comfort. From one forum member to another, THANK YOU x

  • How lovely of you - thanks so much - has really lifted my spirits as I'm never sure that I'm responding in the best way or with the best words. I do so want to help others stuck in the spiral of an ED as I know what a desperate, sad and lonely place it can be.

  • Thank you so much for your kind reply. I am starting to build a support network now as I'm usually someone who does everything myself and I rarely reach out to anyone so it's a bit alien and I worry about being a burden to anyone. I have been honest with the support worker I've been seeing for the last 4 or 5 weeks but although a plan is in place I keep sabotaging it and giving in to the more unhelpful thoughts. Thank you x

  • I think most of us with EDs are like you - good at reaching out - not so good at accepting we need help ourselves - but remember - just as you feel the benefit of helping others they equally feel the benefit of helping you. Also EDs are very powerful mental illnesses and we all have times when the ED voice is the loudest and over powers all our good intentions - its one small step at a time - keeping hold of the advances and focussing on them - but not beating yourself up when we slip - you are only human!

  • I feel exactly the same . I remember when my therapist told me I was anorexic not bulimic, I was so shocked I cried a year on I still struggle to accept it . Like you I don't feel my weight is low enough and I still purge so in my head I'm bulimic. It sounds like you have a good gp mine weren't interested. I had to go private which has now ended so I have no support at all . Take all the help you can get you need it. Good luck

  • Thank you for your reply. I hope you are able to access the support you need. Although the gp didn't refer me direct, she did refer me to mental health team for other issues and they referred me to Ed services. I feel I am more bulimic at the moment but even that is nowhere near as bad as others so I think they are taking it too serious or I'm in complete denial. Good luck with your journey x

  • You've done such a courageous thing by going to the GP and accepting the support 😊 Anorexia is cruel, it can make people feel like they don't have it at all which can be so confusing and isolating when people try to come to terms with having a condition. You've made such a brilliant step into recovery and I wish you all the best , from one Anorexia recoverer to another 😊 I think it's a widely experienced reaction to diagnosis, I didn't believe I was ill for a long time into the CBT and even thought my blood test results because of being underweight weren't right some how. It's a cruel condition but you're stronger than it and you can do this 😊

  • Thankyou for your words of encouragement, I hope you are doing well with your recovery x

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