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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.


Dear Tracy,

Please know that your feelings, while real, are not reality.  They are coming up from your eating disordered way of life.

I remember, for many years before my recovery I could not see living beyond six months from the present moment.  I wasn't frightened or sad or worried about anyone else.  Beyond six m

onths was a void.  I couldn't see myself or anyone or anything else beyond that point.

When I got a glimpse into the possibility of living longer I began to look at what I might do to create a better future.  The future I imagined unfolding if I kept living the same way was horrible to me - grim and meaningless.

This was the beginning of my recovery, although I didn't know it.  I planned to get a career which meant I needed to go back to school and finish my degree. And, I planned to bring my bulimia with me since I couldn't imagine being alive without it.

But, as I made constructive moves in my life I had to drop destructive patterns or at least some of them.  When I think back now I'm amazed at just how many destructie behaviors and patterns I had to drop, did drop and stil binged and purged several or many times a day all through my years at UCLA.

But I was growing, developing, learning.  I met people who opened my mind and encouraged me. I found my way to clinical work, trainings and eventually my own treatment.

It wasn't easy.  I cried a lot. I felt despair.  I felt anger at people who tried to sabatoge my goals. I felt lonely that people didn't understand or criticized me or laughed at me, certain I would fail and "be normal" again.

Eventually I learned that I wasn't supposed to drop my plans, course work and studies to please the people.  I was supposed to drop the people to continue on my path. I did.  I found new people who did understand and who inspired me to move beyond the threshold of my own imagination.

Just think of anything you want, Tracy.  I mean anything. Would you like to see the sun rise over Stonehenge? Would you like to dance with your children in a magical Irish forest with delightful laughing people playing the pipes and drums?  Would you like to make a scientific discovery that changes our perception of the stars? or the sea? or the moon? or the earth itself?

Let your imagination soar.  Then look at what is a necessary first step.  Maybe you have to get more sleep so your mind is more clear. Maybe you have to be certain that no matter what you eat or don't eat you need one meal that nourishes your body well.

Maybe you need to read a book or take a class or audit a class.  Maybe you need to hone in on the exercises in Healing Your Hungry Heart and pick up Julia Cameron's Artists Way and do those exercises too.

When you've done everything you think you can, everything that you know about and you can't think of anything else to do you are not lost.  You are at the beginning of new territory.  You've run out of map and now are really exploring the unknown.  The unknown is where you are going.  

What it's like to live a life in recovery is unknown to you.  You don't get a map. But you do get guides that help you find your way.

You may feel that you are in the worst place.  That's because you are on the edge of the beginning of the new.  And that's the best place.

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