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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.


I sometimes feel that I am the secret. That no one knows who I really am. I have been the competent one, the strong one, the wise one, the educated one, the nice one, the hardworking one, the listening one, the good one. It takes so much energy to put on this appearance. To feel one way about myself, and to present to others in a whole other way, because you see, I am the responsible one. I have bills to pay, I have children to raise, I have respect to earn. I can't fall apart or ask for help (outside of my therapist).

You see, I was also the molested one, the emotionally abused one, the raped one, the alcoholic one, the cocaine abusing one, the pill popping one, the bulimic one, and now, the restricting one. No one in my family, and very few friends know of most of these things. Talk about extraordinary effort on my part to appear normal. I am tired.

I don't feel the need to disclose many of these things to these people at this time in my life, but I think it is important to connect these things with myself and where I am with my eating disorder. I think that being touched by my grandfather at 5 (and for years to come) and hearing the disgusting sounds he would make was the catalyst for everything that has come since.

I struggled with OCD as a young child, but no one helped me. I was miserable, I wanted to die because I was a "bad" person. I begged God to kill me. My parents just bought me books on God and praying and kept me busy with cleaning to "keep my mind occupied".

I struggle with being touched now. I hesitate to be in relationships. I am scared of men and I am 42 years old. My most recent relapse occured several months ago when my best friend became involved with a man who truly loves her and treats her well. This on the heels of a failed relationship on my part which ended badly. So you see,my secret has been trying to appear "normal" and competent, despite the fact that all of these things have not been resolved.

So now, I just want to be the disappearing one. I would rather fade then explain. What has driven me to this attempt to recover (yet again), were recent thoughts that scared me. I caught myself thinking on several occasions that I would never, ever do anything to hurt myself and leave my kids with that memory, but that somehow it would be different if I just slowly vanished away.

I am determined to get better for them, and in the process am trying to do this for me. I am tired of the secrets, but I know that I am the only one who can confront them, and finally put them to rest. I don't know if I am doing better, but I know I have never written anything out like this before. It feels good to share my secrets even if it's with people who don't know me.

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