People with eating disorders don’t necessarily have lower immunity but, per Government guidance, you should limit your contact with other people anyway. It’s also worth speaking to a healthcare professional if you’re worried about your immunity – they can give you more tailored advice and things like recent blood test results may provide more information.
Eating disorders often work to downplay your worries, or make you feel as though your experiences aren’t as serious as other people’s. Feelings like this may be magnified by the huge focus on coronavirus, especially if you’re finding it harder to access regular treatment services. You may also have heard a lot about the pressure on healthcare services at the moment, and be worried about adding to this. But other health issues are no less important than coronavirus, and those experiencing them still deserve treatment and support. The NHS website stresses that it’s still important to get medical help if you need it.
Many organisations are advising that people consider their mental health at this time, even if they don’t have a specific mental health issue. It is very understandable that your eating disorder might feel even more difficult to manage right now. It’s essential now as much as it ever has been to be kind to and take care of yourself. It may be helpful to think of ways that you can practice self-care, and you always contact the Beat Helpline if you need some extra support.
Your therapist may offer telephone- or video-based appointments even if you can’t see them in person. If this hasn’t yet come up, ask them about what plans they have in place. We know it isn’t a replacement for therapy, but please remember Beat’s Helpline is also available if you need someone to talk to – visit our support services page to see what we can offer you.
If you need help urgently, get in touch with your local crisis team, or a service like the Samaritans.
Many services have changed how they work during the pandemic – for example, changing face-to-face appointments to phone calls. Some services considered “non-urgent” may be reduced, and we know this is really concerning. If you’re worried about any of the changes around GP appointments or treatment, get in touch with your GP or a relevant member of your healthcare team as soon as possible to ask them about what they have put in place to accommodate patients’ needs. It’s also worth checking their websites for up-to-date information.
If you have anxieties about using the phone, you could send an email asking if there are other ways they can support you – they may be able to offer a video appointment, for example.
If you’re having to stay in the house and can’t get out to pick up prescriptions, see if someone can do this for you, or ask whether your pharmacy has a delivery service. Remember that if someone picks it up for you they will need to confirm details such as your address.
The NHS offers further advice on how to access healthcare services at this time.
We don’t know exactly what things are going to look like once restrictions lift and in-person treatment is possible again, and where you are in recovery and how you feel about treatment may have changed over the past few months. No matter what your situation, you still deserve the right support once lockdown is over.
Setbacks under the difficult circumstances of lockdown are understandable and nothing to be ashamed about. The most important thing is getting help to get back on track with your recovery. If, on the other hand, you’ve been getting better, you still deserve to have the support you need to keep going as things continue to change, so you can maintain your recovery and keep taking positive steps once lockdown is over.
If you haven’t been able to stay in touch with your treatment team, or you’ve stayed in touch with them via phone, video or email and are preparing to return to face-to-face contact, you might feel anxious about this. You could consider sharing these worries with a healthcare professional you trust. Especially now, your concerns are important and valid, as services adjust after an unprecedented event and try to bring people back into regular treatment as smoothly as possible. Any feedback you feel able to give about how they can best help you make that change should be something they take into consideration. They should also be able to tell you what to expect from treatment going forward, which may help you feel more at ease.
If you don’t feel able to share your concerns with people directly involved in your treatment, perhaps you could discuss them with a trusted friend or family member? It may help to talk about what’s worrying you so they can reassure you, or help you communicate your concerns with those treating you.