From the title you can probably tell I am new to this forum. I'm not really sure what I am looking for by being here, I guess just guidance (a little confused in regards the place I am in my life) and support. I don't want to bore you guys with a huge life history, but I suppose some info would be helpful.
First off, I am a graduate student (1st year actually!) and I am currently working towards my M.A. in Clinical Psychology. In a nut shell, I have battled with mental illness since middle school and it has been something I've struggled with ever since... The trauma I have experienced (family dynamic is not the best, among other things...) lead me to some rather unhealthy coping mechanisms my freshman year of high school, those being self harm and the development of an ED. It came down to me not feeling worth anything, having a very skewed image of myself, and a lot of guilt and hate (probably mixed in with some other things). I battled depression and various anxiety issues, along with the ED and self harm, for about a 3 1/2 years when I managed to get things together (for the most part). The self harm got much more out of hand than the ED did, but I basically restricted my food intake and (when I needed to eat so people would not ask questions) I would purge. At my worst I was doing this 3-4 times a day, so quite a few times a week. I was in therapy at the time, but only for the self harm and depression/anxiety. My therapist never knew about my issues with food, nor did my family (and they still don't).
Went to college, where I was diagnosed my freshman year with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and some social phobia. I was in therapy off and on in college (which is very much how my track record has been with therapy), and relapsed with both my ED and self harm my sophomore year. After a couple months I was able to get things together, but did relapse once my junior year with both. From then on, I always had my moments (small urges here and there, but nothing I wasn't able to manage). The issue hasn't really gotten bad until about 3 months ago, right around when I moved and entered graduate school.
After having intense urges to purge after every meal, I decided (after 3 weeks of going back and forth with the idea), to go into therapy. I did not want to go back to how I was in high school and college, I didn't want to be in the place again (most of all, I knew how detrimental giving into these urges could be on my studies). I have stuck with my therapy, even though I often go back and forth on if I need to be there. I recognize I have a lot of unhealthy thoughts, and the fact that I am very hard on myself and a perfectionist does not help. Three weeks ago, I gave into my urge and felt incredibly guilty afterwards. I told my therapist the next time I saw her, I do not want to keep any secrets... However, the urge to purge has been replaced by the urge to restrict (which I have begun to do). I have begun to keep track of everything I have been eating, but I do eat. The fact that I do eat is what makes me go back and forth on if this is really a problem, but I do recognize that I do not eat anywhere close to the caloric amount a person needs (and can't remember the last time I did). My therapist is aware that I only eat a couple meals a day, and has stated to me on multiple occasions that she in concerned with my restricting habits and possible damage it could be doing. She suggested I put some thought into seeing a dietitian, as well as going to get a physical to make sure everything is up to par. It was until she made these suggestions that I started wondering if my habits are really that odd, because I have had these eating habits for some time. I agreed to both, although I am very anxious about the dietitian...
That was more than I intended on writing, so I apologize for the length. I guess I am really just at a stand still as to if there is really something wrong with me though... I recognize that I have a very self-defeating attitude, and I know my eating habits and thoughts about food (it is on my mind 90% of the day) are odd compared to others out there in the general public. It is not rare for me to not eat something until later in the afternoon or evening, or even go out with friends for a night without having dinner. It just isn't a priority for me... However, I get stuck at times on the fact that I do eat (even though it is not close to what an individual, like myself, should eat). My therapist told me last week, when we went into more depth on the subject, that I do not fit the criteria for anorexia right now (which is not surprising to me, because I do not meet all the required fields). What is wrong with me then? Do I have an issue, is this something I am going to deal with for the rest of my life, or am I just wasting my time in therapy?
I also came her for support, I suppose... Like I stated before, this is the first time I have ever opened up about these issues in therapy and my family has no idea. My mom knows I am in therapy, but I just told her it is for self-esteem issues and such. The only people who know are a couple close girl friends, whom I have only vaguely talked to about the subject. The only person I really have to talk to is my therapist, which is once a week. I feel bad, like I am a burden, calling my friends to talk to them about this (I've never been good at talking out my emotions). I also do not want them to worry, so I kinda keep it to myself and try and get through my day and studies. I have considered telling my mom, someone I am very close to, but I just cannot bring myself to do so...
I know that was kinda winded, sorry again. Thank you though, for reading. This seems like a nice place, which is good