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Trying to get help for an eating disorder.

TW. Details about eating disorder behaviours.


Hi there,

I am a 19 year old female from Sydney but I am currently working as a professional dancer in Japan.

I have been struggling with what I think to be an eating disorder for the past year. I have spoken to countless eating disorder online chats asking for help but each time I am told their programs and resources can't help me because I am not currently in AUS.


I think it would be difficult to find help in Japan as I have very very basic Japanese language skills as I've only been here for less than a year. If I need to make any kind of medical appointment, I must do so through my workplace and I fear if they know I am struggling mentally, It may jeopardise my employment


I began to restrict my food intake in hopes of losing weight. I haven’t had a period in over a year and In this time I also began having what I think were panic attacks if someone at work said something weight/food related or if I was spontaneously invited to go out for dinner and didn’t have time to plan in advance for it.


I also started having binge episodes at night, which is also making me anxious, as I'm concerned that these episodes will cause me to gain weight, which is a thought that triggers my ED.


I fear that it’ll be hard to find help because I don't think I really fit an eating disorder diagnosis, I'm not underweight and I worry people won’t take me seriously as they won’t think I have a problem. I still go out to eat with people, I’m at a healthy weight, I eat proper meals but food is still the only thing ever on my mind.


I'm really not sure where to find any online support as I've contacted so many helplines and chats and they all either give me a link to another organisation/forum or tell me they can't help me as I'm temporarily overseas.

Re: Trying to get help for an eating disorder.

Hi @Aussieinjapan 


Struggling with disordered eating can be really hard when you have a "healthy" weight. But people of all sizes can struggle with it.

I can't say wether or not you do fit the criteria of an eating disorder, but if it's causing you problems then it doesn't really matter so long as you get help.


Anyway..  I'm taking you seriously.


Can I ask a few questions?

How long will you be in Japan?

Is money a problem for you at the moment?

What sort of help do you think would be most useful to you?


Also, one site that might be useful is a US organisation called the National Eating Disorder Association, it has a lot of information on it and doesn't seem to be limited to US citizens.

Re: Trying to get help for an eating disorder.

Hey @Aussieinjapan


I can totally understand if you'd be feeling frustrated and exhausted about how hard it has been for you to get help for your eating disorder. It can be incredibly annoying when we see that the world is so interconnected, but that it's still hard to get help when you are overseas. 


From what I've read in your post, it sounds like your current priority is getting support for your eating disorder right now. I've found some resources which might be useful so I'll try and group them together Smiley Happy


The first place for support I'd recommend looking is in Japan. Eating disorders can be really hard to grapple with -especially on your own - so it would be ideal if you could get in person support right now 💖 I found that the Smart Traveller Australia website lists that they can help you find English speaking mental health practitioners, which might be a good place to start. I'd also really think otigt be a good idea to speak with someone you work with about potentially getting help. Because the dance industry is so rigourous and demanding, I believe that eating disorders can often be a prevalent mental health condition that can develop for dancers. Your boss or supervisor may have dealt with a similar issue in the past, so it could be worth speaking to them for advice. 


The second thing I can suggest is some online support groups and forums. From the sounds of it, you have tried accessing a lot of different chat services, so I'll try my best to include ones that you will definitely be able to access Smiley Happy The Butterfly Foundation runs online support groups for those with eating disorders every week on a Sunday. This is a peer support group with a focus on recovery, so you might be able to find people going through a similar journey, and might be able to share some of the things they've learnt or experienced. EDV also has a section on their website here which provides a number of fact sheets, which might also have some useful information for supporting yourself right now. The only other thing that you could try, is perhaps using a VPN service to access Australian online chat supports, as this might prevent the site from automatically locking you out.


You're also welcome to keep sharing your story on RO 😊✨🌻 we are always happy to support you as best we can 

Re: Trying to get help for an eating disorder.

I really appreciate that you're taking me seriously Smiley Happy


My contract has me in Japan until March 2022.

Money is not a problem for me at the moment.

Help wise I'm not entirely sure what would be more useful to me as I've never experienced anything like this before and I'm not sure where to start.

Re: Trying to get help for an eating disorder.

Thank you so much for taking the time to list some things that may help.

The butterfly foundation was actually the first website that essentially "turned me away" but I think looking into their online support groups might be a good idea! Thank you xx


Re: Trying to get help for an eating disorder.

I am glad to hear that you have been able to look through some of the resources that have been suggested @Aussieinjapan. I hope that you are able to look further into their online support groups and that you find it to be a helpful and supportive. It is understandable that you aren't quite sure what would be most helpful for you right now. Sometimes different techniques work at different stages of our lives too, so I hope that the first few strategies that you try are helpful. It might be worthwhile looking into talking to a professional as it they would be able to support you through this. Have you had a chance to think about talking to your boss or someone that you would feel comfortable talking to about what you are going through?

Re: Trying to get help for an eating disorder.

Hey @Aussieinjapan, besides these online support group mentioned by @Andrea-RO, I just wanna remind that there are many psychological clinic in AU having online appointing now because of covid, so it will be available for you even you are in Japan. And I suggest you to find a psychologist to check whether it is eating disorder. Even though it might not be an eating problem in a clinical way, it can still highly influences your psychological and physical wellbeing.