How to Tell Your Parents You are Struggling with an Eating Disorder

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

The struggle with an eating disorder can be an isolating journey.  Unless someone has experienced what it is like to battle this mental illness, it can be difficult to convey what you are feeling or going through with another person.  As a college student, battling an eating disorder can be particularly lonely and isolating, especially if you are away from your family and the people you are closes to.

Talking About it Is the First Step

As a college student, it is also easy to get wrapped up in a busy schedule.  There are typically many things to keep up with at once, including academics, a job and finances, a social life, and more.  If you are dealing with an eating disorder in the midst of an overloaded schedule, it may seem as though it is easier to hide under a busy lifestyle.  This can give a false perception to others that you are okay, when in reality, you may be facing a raging eating disorder.

Sharing your struggle with loved ones is an important step towards getting the help you need for recovery.  While it can be hard to explain what you are going through to the people closest to you, such as your parents, siblings, or close friends, it is needed in order to release the shame you are experiencing and to break away from isolation.

You Aren’t Alone

pinky-swear-329329_1280One of the most helpful things to know is that you are not alone.  While you might not be able to help your family understand fully what you are experiencing, you will have unconditional love and support through your journey.   Consider having a conversation with them during a time you both set aside and in a safe environment.  If you have been meeting with a counselor, consider preparing with a professional ahead of time or inviting your parents in to a session if appropriate.  If you feel better communicating with additional support, such as a sibling or friend, consider inviting them in to your conversation as well.

Your parents and family will likely have many questions of their own, and that is okay too.  Consider gathering a few resources for them that might be helpful, such as articles or support groups for families of those with eating disorders.  You will all get through this journey together, step by step.


Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What encouragement might you offer to an individual who is struggling to share a struggle with an eating disorder with those they love?  If you have been in this situation, what was helpful to you in expressing your struggles with others?

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He is responsible for the operations of Eating Disorder Hope and ensuring that the website is functioning smoothly.