Facing Unseen Physical Problems caused by Eating Disorders
- Category: Coping Strategies
* "Obviously, my body doesn't believe a word my brain is saying."
Calvin in Calvin and Hobbes Collection
The osteoporosis aspect of eating disorders doesn't seem to be a concern to people in the throes of their eating disorder. Osteoporosis doesn't hurt and doesn't show. Tooth enamel loss, hair loss, weight gain or loss, skin eruptions all show. The visual is what gets a woman's attention. Unfortunately she tries to correct the visual without addressing the deep cause of her troubles, her eating disorder. The unseen damage remains out of awareness for a while: osteoporosis, esophagus tearing, electrolyte imbalance, risk to heart, dizziness from blood sugar imbalance, organ damage, hormonal disruption and the impairment of judgment based on lack of sleep and lack of proper nourishment. The unpleasant reality is that reality won't go away. Any acting out of any eating disorder serves to numb a person's feelings and dim her awareness of what is going on around her. But turning off awareness does not mean turning off the fact. Living in a state of oblivion doesn't halt the damage being done. Oblivion needs to fail as soon as possible. That failure and the vision of what is actually happening to her body is a terrible shock and brings up terrific anxiety. The challenge is to not use that anxiety as a trigger to binge or purge or starve or exercise to bone breaking lengths. The challenge is to use that fear and anxiety, that glimpse of reality, to address the eating disorder realistically and start working with a mental health professional who specializes in eating disorder treatment. The challenge is to get even more awareness and get her healing work underway. * quote from Calvin and Hobbes, p. 7 Scientific Progress Goes "Boink", by Bill Watterson, Andrews and McMeel Press, 1991. https://www.amazon.com/Scientific-Progress-Goes-Boink-Collection/dp/0836218787 Joanna Poppink, MFT, psychotherapist eating disorder specialist, Los Angeles, CA bulimia, anorexia, compulsive overeating recovery, www.poppink.com