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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.


vangogh600px-Ernte in der ProvénceTake heart. You may be stuck in the routine of doing a job that is done. If so, it's time for you to say, "Enough is enough," and move to what's next in your life. *

If you struggle against oppression, especially if it comes from within, like the oppression of an eating disorder, you can exhaust yourself and feel sad, stuck, even hopeless and despairing.  You tell yourself, "nothing I say or do helps or works or gets me beyond this miserable place."  Maybe the hay is harvested, and you need to explore what your needs are now.  Doing what you did to satisfy old needs may have worked. Now that those needs are satisfied, new needs emerge. The old routines that led you to success don't apply to your goals now. You may not even know what your goals are. 

At this juncture you know that what you are doing doesn't create the life you want. This is good knowledge to have.  If you're sure the path you're on is headed the wrong way for you there's no point in continuing in that direction.  It's time to change course or introduce a new complication in your life that will force you to change course.  

This does not mean you've done anything wrong.  The path you've taken might be right for someone else.  Or it may have been right for you in the past, even the recent past.  Now your pep talks don't help you. Your fall back guides seem meaningless. You are frustrated and can't seem to develop enough momentum to:

  • meet with people
  • limit or increase your exercise
  • read
  • control your temper or your tears
  • be productive in your projects
  • gain or lose weight
  • stop negative thinking
  • keep up with the news
  • get out of bed in the morning
  • stay on your food plan

If everything you are doing in your life results in your being in this condition, then you've got a clear signal that you are off course.

By off course, I mean that you are not letting the goals and desires of your authentic self lead you.  You are going the wrong way for you, and you don't know the right way. Your frustration is getting profound and leading to near or actual depression. Your eating disorder symptoms are probably more intense too.

This is the time to admit that you need something different (and healthy) to shake up your system. You need to move in a different direction and accommodate to a new routine that direction demands.

Even if you don't know what you want, if you disrupt a rigid and non working system you give yourself opportunity to discover and develop new interests and skills. What emerges in you from the disruption takes you away from your boring and mind numbing old ways that trapped you into a dead end.

Sometimes we call what we need inspiration. So we wait for it or look for it.  What we need is inspiration with a push. :) That comes from giving ourselves a new and impossible to avoid component to our lives.

You choose what is a daring move for you that is compatible with your deep values.  Here are some examples.  Please add more to this list.

Once a week:
  • walk someone's dog
  • pick up a shut in's groceries
  • read to children at the library
  • take a class in a subject you like but never studied
  • volunteer and actively participate in an organization that is dedicated to something you care about. (e.g. politics, environment, health, child, women, men, parent, student, teacher issues)
  • visit and read to a shut in neighbor
Or bigger changes:
  • apply for a new job
  • enroll in a certificate or degree granting program
  • rescue and take in an animal
  • adopt a child
  • begin a major project with your spouse or partner
  • begin a new relationship
  • commit to a current relationship

These suggestions are not to make changes in your life simply for the sake of change.  You are getting off a road that leads to a dead end. 
You are creating new roads that lead to unexpected destinations. Along the way parts of your mind, heart, body and soul that have been
numbed from neglect and time in prison will awaken.  You'll feel alive again and on your right road.

What is a change you can make that will disrupt your dead end road and give you a chance to feel alive again?

* Ernte in der Provence, painted by Vincent van Gogh. (Wikimedia Commons)

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