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If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.


Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.

The Paradox in Binge as Rescue You know what you want. You want to be solid and alive. You want to capable of being seen and heard without going into anxiety. You want to be real and have a real life. But experiencing an emotional crisis drives you to save yourself from intense and immediate pain. You plunge into your eating disorder repertoire.

Eating Disorder Rescues
The eating disorder rescue looks like this: You crawl under the covers trembling on the inside and afraid to come out. Or you sink into the television, binge and do not answer the phone. Or you binge in restaurants wearing what feels like your invisibility cloak or phony persona. Or you binge in your car, alone and unseen.

 You want to be safe and alive yet consider suicide. Your goal is not to die, although some people die when they attempt suicide. Your goal in moving toward the suicide act is to get away from the sense of being completely alone, rejected, abandoned, invisible, frightened and in imminent danger. You may cut. Slicing your body, watching and feeling the blood flow feels like a relief from all the inner pressure and pain. Your experience of life is too intense to tolerate so you drain out some of your life by bloodletting.
Magnificent Promise
These emotional and behavioral binges offer the opposite of what you want and need to live a full, rich and satisfying life. But, the eating disorder behavior offers one magnificent promise. It will stop you from feeling the horror of the descending energy wave that quickly erodes your mind, body and soul. In such a moment you are certain you would disappear, unseen and unknown, under the force of that wave unless the eating disorder behaviors save you.
Endless Anxiety Experience
This is the endless, lonely, and frightening experience of a person with an eating disorder. This is what you feel when you have not yet found your healing path or are in the early stages of recovery. If this is you, then you may be under even more stress now as the people and systems you’ve counted on to care for you are being strained by the current economic turbulence.

Rush for Quick and Easy Solutions
Answers to your emergency questions are unsatisfactory. Effective ways of caring for yourself require time, healing and focus on developing relevant resources. You don’t want to hear about a seminar or psychotherapist or resume writing class. You jump at the chance to “talk to someone” in a meeting a friend may arrange. But you are horrified and thrown into despair when a well meaning person exploring an opportunity with you asks you about your credentials and experience. You struggle to maintain a calm persona while you are screaming inside. The would be helpful person describes study programs where you can get a certificate or a degree. Or he or she gives you a thick packet consisting of an application form that requires samples of your work. Or he or she describes the qualifications you need to gather together to enter a training program or gain membership in a relevant organization.
“No” to solution and “Yes” to deeper troubles (paradox)
You don’t want to hear these long range solutions. Anything longer than a few hours is too long a wait. You want to be rescued fast, right now. You want the money or the husband or the recognition or the car or the apartment or the job or the answer to all your troubles and peace of mind right now. The unhappy paradox you face is that the binge response will give you fast relief, but only for a moment. You will quickly return yet again to your anxiety.

The eating disorder rescue path leads to despair. Your only real choice that will lead you to what you truly want is the choice that gets you on your recovery path. Many people make that choice with committment, dedication and courage. They get well. They get a life. You could be one of them.

More to Come
I’ll be exploring these questions around crises, what they are, how they are perceived, how and why a person with an eating disorder responds and what a person can do to respond with more health and skill in this six part post, “Eating Disorder Response to Crisis.”

Eating Disorders:  Response to Crisis

part 1  Overview 

part 2 

part 3 

part 4 

part  5 

part  6 

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