A starved brain can't think
- Category: Coping Strategies
A vivid recovery story came in last night from Tracy. (See Tracy’s comment.)
Major eating disorder recovery stumbling block In her heroic efforts to be well Tracy brings up a major stumbling block to eating disorder recovery. When the brain is deprived of necessary nutrients, our ability to think reasonably is affected. Our emotions are strong, even excessive. Without nourishing our brains well we aren’t able to think and feel at the same time. What’s worse, we believe we are thinking and feeling at the same time. We believe we are thinking reasonably because we haven’t got access to a clear mind. Our brain simply is not functioning well. We have no way of knowing this because our brain isn’t functioning well. We feel we are behaving rationally when we actually are behaving righteously with no awareness of the distortions that flood our systems. It’s a terrible repetitive circle or infinity loop with no way out except maybe exhaustion or despair. From this position, especially when you are approaching despair, you reach out for help. Yet how can you recognize genuine help when you are in such a disorganized state with such distorted thinking processes?
Examples of Cries for Help that cannot be answered (watch for the "but") I want to make an appointment, but I don’t have time. I want support, but I can’t tell anyone that I have an eating disorder. I want to attend the support group, but I can’t get there. I want to go into therapy, but I will not tell you my real name. I want to get well, but I don’t want to gain any weight. I want to get well, but I don’t want to get my period again. I know I need to eat, but I’m afraid I’ll get fat. I want to understand my eating disorder, but don’t tell me I can’t continue with my cosmetic surgeries. I still hate my body as it is. I want a family, but I’m afraid I’ll look fat if I get pregnant.
I’ll add a but of my own. Correct nourishment that truly nourishes your brain is not a cure for any eating disorder. But, if you put healthful portions of nourishing food into your body at regular intervals you will get access to the fine workings of your nourished brain. This will allow you to recognize and reach for help that makes sense for you and that addresses your deep recovery needs.
Start with a leap of faith Making a leap of faith is not easy because lack of trust or misplacing your trust in untrustworthy people is a prevailing aspect of your usual experiences if you have an eating disorder. Trusting a healthful food plan and disregarding your eating disorder patterns, even for a short time, requires great courage. So rather than taking a leap, you begin with a first step, a calculated risk, an experiment. With fear and hope in your heart you follow a nourishing food plan for one week. See what happens. Your door to recovery that is so solidly closed: why not open it a crack? Let a little light in and see what happens. You may be amazed at the clarity of your perceptions and the glimpse you get of what could be your genuine path to recovery. Just a glimpse can be a spark that ignites your passion to live healthy and long. A sudden, brief encounter with your clear mind and genuine feelings, is often all you need to create a touchstone that guides you, reinforces you on low days and maintains you as you move through your illness into the light of health. You can give your own brain a chance to free your mind and help you recover. Thank you for writing Tracy. Nourishing your brain is an essential aspect of eating disorder recovery. I'm so glad you brought it up in telling your recovery story.
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