Here you will find articles that address various emotional, physical, behavioral and spiritual symptoms that are often part of the eating disorder experience.


To contact Joanna, to make a psychotherapy appointment in Los Angeles or to arrange a video Skype consultation, write: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone (310) 474-4165.

Drop Your Veil and Let Your Light Shine

400px-The Veiled Lady - Alexander Roslin

"Don’t let someone dim your light, simply because it’s shining in their eyes."  
*quote source below

Drop your veil, and let your light shine.

More About Dread: Signals

The Emotion Thesaurus: a writer's guide to character expression, arrived in my mailbox today. I unwrapped the package over my desk. The book fell out and opened to the Dread page.  Mmm. We've been talking about this emotion since I published a Dread article on this blog.  

So, I thought it might be helpful for you to discover see how some of these dread descriptions might relate to you.  

Lots of passionate words but nobody's there: Understanding irritation and fury in relationships

Rangda COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Rangda tijdens een barong- en krisdans TMnr 20017895You've been in a conversation that speeds into brief passionate discourse and hurtles on to furious speech, familiar emotional agony, indignation and hurtful stalemate.  Right?  You've been in several or maybe many.  Here's what may be happening.  * info re picture below.

If you have or had an eating disorder, the eating disorder behavior and thinking distracts you or blocks you from emotional knowledge you can't bear. Whatever that may be, it's below your awareness.  It's unconscious.

But, just because it's unconscious doesn't mean you don't know it.  The information is in you. You know it, but you are not aware of it.  

Sometimes something or someone will trigger that information, and out it all comes in a passion.  But it's still out of your awareness.  You start speaking, reacting and acting like yourself or someone else from another time in your life... and you don't know it.  You hurtle on without control.  This is what "acting out" means.  You are acting out your unconscious without conscious awareness.

If you do this almost routinely with another person, it's possible that you trigger something similar in them. They "act out" a section of their inner life that is a match for yours.  

If that happens neither you nor the other person is fully in the room, aware of the meaning and ramifications of the exchange or capable of making any adjustments or accommodations to reality.  You are both locked in your own histories and battling out a repetitive scenario that has no solution in this form.

It can happen between parent and child, between siblings, between husband and wife. It can happen between friends and acquaintances whose unresolved issues are a "match" for each other.

You can't make progress or come to a resolution when you are caught in this scenario.  A powerful wave is carrying you on.  You feel righteous. You feel, in a strange way, that you are in a familiar place where you know what you must say and do to prevail while, at the same time, knowing that the response you get from the other person is predictable and familiar too.

An important part of your recovery work is to make your unconscious conscious.  Without that you will be vulnerable to this kind of interaction and repeat it when the triggers are present. You can make destructive decisions, be attracted to people who serve to give you an outlet for this acting out, drain your energy and contribute to your unhappiness.

To deal with these traps you need to know they exist, recognize them, and help yourself heal your way out.  

Many approaches exist for helping you recognize and learn from your unconscious rather than act it out.

  1. How do these traps show up in your life?
  2. Do you know what triggers them?
  3. What methods do you use to learn from them?
  4. What methods do you use to catch yourself before such interactions go too far?

*  I've seen this dance several times in Bali. The main character is Rangda, uncontrollable evil.  The dancers try to drive her away. It's a dance of great passion. What's key here is that it is a trance dance.  The warriors and Rangda and later the Barong, are all in trance, as are you when you are caught inthe acting out of your unconscious.  The dance is repeated endlessly with no resolution.  It's an incredibly gripping experience to see this just as it is an incredibly gripping experience to be in it.  The dancers need to be carried off at the end and revived by shamans.

Rangda in a barong- and kris dance performance
Tropenmuseum of the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT)

Joanna Poppink, MFT is a psychotherapist in private practice. All appointments are virtual. To schedule a free telephone consultation email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Eating Disorders, Climate Change and Vulnerability to Illness

Wisdom-Reid-HighsmithEating Disorders and climate change can have a powerful impact on your health.

If you have an eating disorder active or not, please pay attention to trends in illnesses. Eating disorders weaken your organs and your immune system.  Plus, mental obsessions that are symptoms of an eating disorder can block your awareness of the personal danger you may face because of illnesses like the flu or various illnesses more prevalent because of climate change.

*Picture is Wisdom. We need wisdom now.

People whose health is compromised for any reason are more likely to be susceptible to disease and can have more severe symptoms than a healthy and robust person. 

A body ravaged by an eating disorder may be an ideal place for viruses or bacteria to take root and thrive.
A mind ravaged by an eating disorder may be incapable of understanding the necessity for stepped up personal health care.

For example, the flu is dangerous, even lethal to people with existing illnesses and your eating disorder is an illness. Please look at these two articles and connect the dots. 

Flu Outbreak In 2013 Earliest, One Of The Worst In A Decade

Medical consequences of eating disorders

Remember your basic healthy care to help you be sturdy and resilient in the face of health challenges.  Do your best to subdue eating disorder thinking and behaviors so you can either prevent yourself from
getting ill or, if you become ill, have a mild experience and a speedy recovery.

  • Eat nourishing food throughout the day at regular intervals.
  • Drink eight glasses of water a day to keep yourself hydrated.
  • Sleep eight to nine hours at night.
  • Nap in the day if you are tired. 
  • Rest, i.e. take it easy.
  • Do your best to reduce stress. Laugh. Watch relaxing videos. Enjoy nature if weather permits. Create gentle fun experiences for you and your family. Pet your dog or cat.
  • Find a way to think and feel nice things about yourself.
  • And most of all, keep your awareness up.

If you have an eating disorder you are vulnerable. Take your self care seriously.

See what the Center for Disease Control has to say about flu prevention.  

Are you taking particular care of yourself?  
What can you do to help yourself be more sturdy in the face of new global health challenges?

Information Resources

Climate Change Bites

Climate Change and Infectious Disease

Climate Effects on Health

How Climate Change Could Spread Diseases Like Zika

*Wisdom, mural by Robert Lewis Reid. Second Floor, North Corridor. Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C. Caption underneath reads "KNOWLEDGE COMES BVT WISDOM LINGERS". 1896

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