Obstacles to Eating Disorder Recovery
- Category: Psychotherapy and Recovery Work
I believe in what I'm doing - providing genuine methods to heal from eating disorders that honor the individual. As I do my psychotherapy work, and outreach to let others know of my work, I discover new obstacles to recovery.
My challenge is to break free from my traditional ways of speaking and writing. I need to go more to the core - not the core of the eating disorder - but the core of the obstacles that prevent people from getting on their recovery path.
Once a woman enters my practice, committed to her recovery, I am confident that whatever challenges arise, we can weather the storms and keep heading toward full recovery. This may seem grandiose, but I have 25 years of experience behind me that shores up my confidence.
Entering my practice with commitment to heal is beset with new obstacles today. Communication with others across space and time is wonderfully easy with our technology. You can access information of all sorts, and misinformation too. You can receive support for your recovery. You can receive support for maintaining your illness.
Pro ana and Pro mia sites are notorious for supporting illness. Their destructive message is blatant. But other forms of group support are also destructive. They disguise themselves as supporting recovery when, in fact, unknowingly and with love, they too support illness.
Living with an eating disorder means living with pain, fear, terror, rage, indignation and an inability to sort through the stimuli that comes from living in a complex world. Support that attacks the complex world and seeks to make the individual comfortable and safe does not support recovery. It may contribute to creating an environment necessary for healing work to begin. But too often I see people seeking the safe haven as the goal without understanding that once in a safe or more safe environment the healing work must begin.
This means to me that I need to present information that seemingly has little to do with eating disorders directly, but has everything to do with understanding and honoring self and development in the world as it is.
What do you think your obstacles to recovery really are? Do you run to safe havens and fast answers? Are you impatient or feel like failure if you don't experience immediate relief?
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...finding it hard to accept that there is no "cure", that this is a lifelong battle & committment
...desperately wanting to fool yourself that you're in recovery, even when you're not
...finding the self belief and self worth to be able to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel
...being honest with yourself when you are so used to living a life of lies
...trusting yourself to bear the hurt, pain, tears and anguish that are part of the journey
- being ok with not knowing if I have gained or lost when RD weighs me
- sitting with big feelings like fear & disappointment
- trusting my team when they say I can feel better if I keep working at this
I always feel my obstacles are lack of support - someone to talk to when am struggling - also notice that everything can be going well then suddenly if I get tired or stressed I start to think about if I have gained weight, like I need to be in control of something again and this is one area have always been in control of - I then have an area where I can put the panick stress and tiredness into I guess- !!!The good thing is I am aware of this and just like tonight am very tired but am relaxing and allowing my body to rest and give it some nutritious food....
Thank you for these wonderful sharings. Just pulling them out of your psyche and putting them into words is helpful for you and me.
You want recovery. I want to help you find your recovery. At this point I believe we need to be explorers and "discover" earlier recovery steps that are neglected, ignored or invisible now. Then my job and eventually yours, is to create the right conditions so we can take those steps.
The metaphor doesn't hold well because often the step you need to take has to do with being still, quiet and patient rather than taking action.
If more or different obstacles to your recovery occur to you, please let me know.
Thank you so much.
are the exact and very same feelings that I experienced during the 3 months before my grandfather died. I could not cope with all of the feelings that were welling up inside me.
You see, he took away my childhood, my innocence. Those months before he died, I was so emotionally sick. I was desperate..I thought I was "bad". I asked God to just take me..I felt that no one could ever know how bad I felt. I felt embarrassed to ask for help, embarrassed that I was so "crazy".
No one ever acknowledged the abuse..maybe they didn't know, maybe they refused to acknowledge it, I don't know. The day we buried my grandfather, the very same day, I felt a huge burden fall off my small back.
I have spent time in therapy crying over this little 12 year old girl, I see her face, I see her empty eyes in most of her childhood pictures...I mourn for her. Tonight, I realize that I feel that same way...the way I felt before he died. I am obsessed, crazy, and miserable. I see no way out.
My realization tonight is that I don't think that litte girl ever grew up, she is still in there, she is just carrying a different burden (or maybe it's still the same one)? I feel as clueless as I did then to help myself. But I think tonight I really connected with these two parts of myself..I really need to work very hard (and compassionately) with this in therapy.
I am still fragile. I am not a bad person. I got thru that time (alone) with no therapy, with no one who knew why I was so messed up. I need to reach that little girl. She needs to be hugged. She needs to feel like she is worth something. She needs to know that living is not just the filling between being born and dying. That there is life within that living. She needs to know she did nothing wrong. She is not marked for all to see.
I am glad to have had this thought come to me tonight. I don't know if this post sounds negative and as if I am feeling sorry for myself. That is not the intent at all. I truly feel I had a breakthrough tonight. I know I rambled, I don't care. I also feel a little better.
You feel what you felt as a child and bring your adult sensibilities to the experience. You vow to help a vulnerable aspect of yourself.
This is a positive post, an inspiring post, a teaching post. I didn't read any rambling. I read courage and determination to heal.
I just want to say that a lot of the positive recovery work comes fron negative past experiences, and even things like sitting in tears grieving for a childhood that was taken from you, although it is of course tears and grief, is by no means negative, if we don't grieve, we never really move on properly.
I'm so proud of you! xx
So recovery is about gradually developing the inner strength to bear feelings you couldn't bear before. It's not about good or bad feelings. It's about any feeling. So feeling mad, bad, glad, sad are all wins in recovery work. You are feeling rather than acting out your eating disorder.
Many people don't understand this and get caught in thinking about good feelings or bad feelings, pleasant or unpleasant, painful or happy. Recovery is about feeling any feeling at all.
Mmm. I better put this in a blog post.
I just put up a blog post elaborating a bit on this essential point.
Feeling sorry for yourself counts as feeling. So does envy, jealousy, rage, etc. Human beings are capable of feeling many powerful emotions. We don't have to suppress them and we don't have to act them out. We let them play themselves through and learn what they teach us.