5 reasons you're not getting help

So, your struggle is real and you're still not able to reach out and get that help you need. Here are 5 things that may be getting in your way:

It’s working for you

Sometimes this one is hard to face, but the fact of the matter is, humans rarely do something that does not benefit them in some way. More than likely, your behaviors (eating, restricting, purging, drinking, cutting, using, etc.) are helping you in some way.

Maybe you feel calmer after you cut, more confident after the drink, or in control after restricting. Whatever it is that you gain from this, it’s probably hard to imagine doing life without it.

You can’t live without it

So, this is one where people either completely relate to the fear of not being able to live without it, or they balk and state that it’s ruining their lives and they absolutely must get rid of it. Which side are you?

Whether you can’t live without it or can’t live with it, the truth is that you are out of control and the disorder/addiction/behavior has taken over.

You actually can live without it, but it’s going to be tough in the beginning. Whoever says, "recovery is easy" is delusional or lying. Recovery is tough, but it’s worth it and the majority of people report a better quality of life when recovered. I know I do!

It’s important to note that detoxing from drugs or alcohol, and refeeding after anorexia, can be dangerous and life-threatening. Please make sure you have a physician monitoring you.

You think it’s hopeless

Sure, you’ve seen the Lifetime movies and heard the success stories, but you don’t think recovery is for you. Maybe you’ve tried to quit 1,000 times already and it feels totally hopeless. I have had clients who, in the beginning, do not think they will ever have a “normal” relationship with food. They believe they are destined to have out-of-control binge episodes followed by prolonged periods of shame and guilt. They believe they will then binge again, starting the cycle anew.

It might feel hopeless, but that doesn’t actually mean it is hopeless. In counseling you can uncover the underlying conditions that support the behaviors and discover new methods of coping that don’t include food, alcohol, or self-harm. It’ll take time, and there will probably be bumps in the road, but it’s doable. You are not hopeless!


Perhaps you're avoiding getting help while engaging in your disorder, for fear of facing all of the things you have done, or the people you have hurt. Maybe it’s the shame of having to admit your disorder to people from whom you’ve kept it hidden.

These are very real fears. They are also fears to be explored and discussed in counseling. Not everything has to come out all at once, and not every person has to know every dirty detail. With the right counselor, you will come to trust that he/she will keep your confidences. In that safe environment, you may decide to share some shameful experiences in order to work through them, but you are not required to bare everything. I would encourage you to start the healing process and trust your counselor to help you deal safely with the deeper issues, in time. 

You’re scared

Shit yeah, you’re scared! Scared of life without your coping mechanism, scared of who you will be in recovery, scared of what will happen in your relationships, scared of what life will look like on the other side, scared if it’ll be worth it.

That’s okay, be scared! Don’t try to shove it away or escape. Allow yourself to be scared, because fear is a totally natural response to this huge step of recovery that you are contemplating. Think of a 5-year-old kid and imagine that he/she is terrified. How would you comfort him/her? Would you give a hug, wrap him/her up in a blanket, maybe talk to him/her and say that you’re sorry he/she is scared? Now allow yourself to be scared and allow yourself to do one or more of those things for yourself. You deserve a hug, a warm, safe snuggle, and words of encouragement and support. Give them to yourself now and when you’re ready…reach out for help.

If you are near Vancouver, WA and looking for a counselor to help you, please fill out this form and I will contact you to schedule a FREE 15-minute phone consultation.

Providing a safe, nonjudgmental environment where women can heal. www.getcenteredcounseling.com

Providing a safe, nonjudgmental environment where women can heal. www.getcenteredcounseling.com


Tamara Werner

Tamara Werner is a counselor, author, speaker, and activist. Her private practice, Get Centered Counseling in Vancouver WA, helps women with food and body issues learn to love themselves, their body, their life, and their relationships. Her life’s work is steeped in personal experience, having fifteen years in recovery for anorexia, in addition to being a breast cancer survivor. An up and coming force in the counseling community, Tamara has been published in a textbook called Treatment Strategies for Substance and Process Addictions, and has sat on a panel at the American Counseling Association Conference, where she spoke to her peers on strategies and tools to use with clients struggling with eating disorders. Having a deep, personal understanding of what it takes to recover from this condition, she seeks to be an example to those she treats, to let them know that recovery is possible.