Healing Question: Are you using your eating disorder as your center?
You developed an eating disorder to hold your emotional and psychological life together. Something interfered with your developing a solid self core that could sustain you through the trials and challenges of living. Developing an eating disorder is a creative act. You created a core center that you can support by controlling how you eat (or don’t eat), how you exercise, how you isolate and how you limit your life to specific habits and routines.
A common coping mechanism when confronted with challenging emotions is the tendency to push them away. This is often seen as a defense mechanism, a way to avoid discomfort. However, it's essential to realize that suppressing your feelings does not make them disappear.
Instead, they tend to fester beneath the surface, causing more significant pain over time. It’s possible to behave harshly without appreciating why because what sets you off are denied feelings. You can push feelings out of your awareness but not out of your psyche.
Friendship plays an important part of continued eating disorder recovery. Isolation can be familiar and life-draining.
Wandering through grocery store aisles in a state where you feel invisible, just looking for foods that will be good for a binge, is practice for continued isolation. You feel invisible, but what's happening is that the people in the store seem almost ghostlike. It's not that they don't see you. It's that you don't see them.
When you are on the path to recovery your eating or not eating may be more in harmony with your body's needs. But without friendship you may still be wandering through your days, looking for stimulation, not seeing people. You may believe you are as invisible as ever.
Smiles of encouragement are essential in building self-respect, self-worth and self-confidence. Eating disorder thinking sets up a cascade of self-doubts, insecurities and anxieties. You feel worthless despite what others may say to support you.
You know in your heart you have tricked others into believing you are competent, confident and have value. You need compliments so you know your false facade of worth is intact while you feel worthless to yourself.
After her emergency six-week hospitalization for eating disorder recovery, Bethany asked me if bringing her home living space into order would help her stabilize. To me, it sounds as if her emergency escort to the hospital was a rescue mission and that she is lucky the medical team saved her life.
Now it's time for her to take over and rescue her own life. That's true for everyone with an eating disorder. The big questions are: When to start? What to do? How to start?
The Time to Start Home Self-care is Now.
How to start? This question relates uniquely to each person. However, the answer at home is usually right before your eyes. As old school, 12-step says, "Do what is in front of you to do."
Anxiety, whether it comes rarely, is ever-present or seems to loom on the edge of your experience ready to strike, is a full body and emotional experience. When you are In it you just want out of it. That desire to get immediate relief can leave people in a desperate situation where they will reach for food, alcohol, drugs, isolate at home and under the covers, emotional venting on others and even violence.
In my psychotherapy practice my first goal is to gain trust so that the individual can have an anxiety attack in my presence. Knowing I can bear it helps the person know it’s bearable. She knows she can talk through it, think while it’s happening and not act out. The first requirement in coping with anxiety and then relieving it is to be able to bear it while it’s happening.
Once that is achieved we can unravel causes and triggers. We can develop the insight, strength and stamina to face and resolve the issues that cause our anxiety reaction.
Psychotherapy is a powerful process in the journey towards healing and mental wellness. Seeking help and support from this process is a sign of strength, not weakness. Here I explore with you the transformative power of psychotherapy, highlighting its potential to provide relief from spiraling thought processes, negative self-talk, and deep-rooted issues like eating disorders and body dysmorphia.
Effective psychotherapy, is a collaborative process between an empathic psychotherapist therapist and an individual seeking help. Its aim is to provide a safe and supportive environment for individuals to explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Through this exploration,