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The Path to Life Beyond Eating Disorders

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Carrie Arnold wrote a warm and beautiful blog post about living through and beyond eating disorders.  She calls for and hopes for essays about eating disorder treatment that are filled with hope.  She also implies that it’s hard to hold on to hope when the news spreads gloom and doom stories about eating disorders.

Challenges to effective recovery treatment

Carrie raises the two great challenges that face the person who needs effective treatment and the clinician who offers it.

If you are the person with the eating disorder then

  1. You may feel there is no hope for recovery and go deeper into your eating disorder to support your life and function as best you can.
  2. Between you and the effective clinician is a wall of media content (I can’t bring myself to call it news) that talks about the epidemic of eating disorders, how horrible and dangerous they are and how relapse is inevitable. In other words, they seem to say that it’s a miracle if anyone gets better.

People do recover

But people do get better. And they go on, beyond the eating disorder, to live satisfying, productive, functional lives with love, healthy companionship and challenges that are satisfying to meet and overcome. I’m one of them. 

Many eating disorder clinicians (including me) worked their way through their own eating disorders and bring their learning and deep personal knowledge to the treatment room (regardless of whether they discuss their personal journey.)

Scare tactics

The helpless and frustrated person faced with an eating disorder in a loved one often tries to scare that person into recovery.

Here are a few familiar questions. “Don’t you know what you are doing to your body?” “Don’t you want children?” “Don’t you want to live?” “Do you know what you are doing to your heart and all your body organs?”

Scare tactics do scare, but they don’t help bring you to treatment.  They just scare you, maybe into retreating more into the comfort zone of our eating disorder.

And, we have to remember that high drama, high stakes, life and death risky behavior, details of extreme behaviors all attract readers in a competitive world where various communication media are fighting hard for an audience.

Path to hope and successful recovery

Hope is real.  Success is real.  Recovery is real.  Recovery work is not dramatic and will not sell newspapers, create an exciting TV show or drastically raise numbers in a site’s visitor analytics. 

That’s why sites like E.D. Bites are so valuable.  People who want recovery can find people who want recovery and will do the everyday deep and thoughtful work necessary on the recovery path.  It’s sometimes painful  and sometimes joyful, but it always is leading you into your authentic, natural, healthy and honest life.  And that is what solidifies recovery – being truly alive as the woman you truly are. 

Yes, Carrie, in warm, deep, sturdy and informed treatment people can and do recover from their eating disorders.  I see recovery in my own life.  I see recovery in my patients. Each person who recovers from an eating disorder is a unique person living her own unique life.  Yet there are some similarities among them:  joy, confidence while under stress and courage to live their authentic lives.

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JoannaPoppink Mobile forests could help cities cope with climate change https://t.co/Xa58iE4PCb by @HorizonMagEU
10hreplyretweetfavorite
JoannaPoppink Latest Sustainable World online now. https://t.co/Hg0bEI5R6Y #climate #natgeocertified
10hreplyretweetfavorite
JoannaPoppink Nominations open for the 2019 Molecular Ecology Prize https://t.co/gpzccJkDkd by @molecologist
22hreplyretweetfavorite
JoannaPoppink Latest Sustainable World online now. https://t.co/qW6hHzvphD Thanks to @molecologist #endangeredspeciesact #habitat
22hreplyretweetfavorite
JoannaPoppink World Photography Day: Reflecting back on 2019 so far - Greenpeace International https://t.co/fOjtA89xRJ

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