This post is part of my blog series about attending therapy for disordered eating. See other posts in the series: Finding A Therapist, The First Session, Being In Control and Binge Eating, Suffering, I’m Stronger Than That, Skipping The First Bite.
I spent several months visiting my therapist a couple times a month. In the end the process helped me tremendously as the binge eating episodes I struggled to control in the beginning soon became less frequent and then stopped.
At the end of therapy I was preparing to get married and despite being busy and stressed my eating was under control. I had worked through a lot of my core issues by that point and was not inclined to use food to solve my problems.
I wasn’t sure how I would feel about ending therapy. For me there was a set timeline on it because I was moving away from my therapist and could no longer attend sessions with her. I was worried in the beginning that it wouldn’t be enough time. I was worried when the end came I would still be so messed up that I would schedule more sessions than normal. In the end that did not happen. I actually felt like I was in such a good place in our very last session that I simply didn’t need the therapy sessions anymore.
Thankfully my therapist agreed. She felt that I had made a lot of progress and had a good path set in front of me. She helped me through some dark times and problems that kept popping up in my life that sent me back to binge eating. She validated that some really bad shit did happen to me but I’ve grown up and am strong enough to move on and be better for it. I needed that assurance that though I used food to cope before I don’t have to continue doing that. She helped me get through some hurtful things and then gave me tools to keep helping myself in the future.
Figuring out when therapy needs to end is a personal decision to be made with you and your therapist. It could happen for a number of reasons, usually positive like mine but sometimes you might need to end therapy for a negative reason like you don’t like your therapist or feel something has changed negatively. I think when you go to a professional for help with disordered eating or any emotional or mental issue you will know when it’s time to end therapy. (Make sure you discuss this with your therapist… don’t just stop going!) That time will come when you have stopped the dangerous or negative eating behaviors and have a healthier relationship with food. That might happen sooner or later than you expect but you both will know when the time comes.
For me I left my therapist with a healthier relationship with eating than I’ve had in a while. I haven’t binged since and I haven’t thought much about it either. I don’t use food in the same ways I did when I started seeing my therapist.
I have made the decision that therapy for binge eating or my anxiety is not off the table forever. If I find myself in a situation where I’m slipping back into old habits and unable to correct my path on my own then I will seek professional help again. A lot of the thought patterns and habits I’ve worked to overcome are deeply ingrained – they are things I’ve been doing and thinking since I was ten or eleven. I know that I might slip back into some of these things and if I find I can’t handle things on my own I will reach out again. There is no shame in getting help when you can’t do something on your own and I know that. I don’t see the need for therapy in the foreseeable future but I’m not ruling it out.
Overall finding and attending therapy for this issue was a very positive experience for me. I would recommend it to anyone who continually struggles with disordered eating or emotional eating and using food for something other than it’s really meant for. Sometimes you need someone outside your own head to help you sort through things going on in your mind. It can be really helpful and can even save your life and health. Don’t be afraid to seek out help. If you ever have questions or just want some encouragement, feel free to contact me!