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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.

 joanna@poppink.com

Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.

Over the last few days I've been reading and thinking about a process work (process oriented psychology) project related to disordered eating, by Annie Blair, and I'm really finding it helpful.

She introduces in there a shamanistic concept that we are all created with a special gift or pathway in life, and that the first we will get to know of this is when it manifests itself as a problem or difficulty. But we should not be so quick to resent this problem, as it is what connects us to our ally, that is our special gift in life that we can share with the world.

Process work believes that the solution is always contained within the problem itself, and if we follow the processes we will find the solutions.

And encompassing these two concepts, I have been taken on a journey that showed me that my allyis being brought into a world where my mother could not love me or attend to my needs adequately, that has given me a very strong sensitivity to signs and signals given out by others in a similar situation, and a gut feeling for how to respond and be with them (which has after 40 yrs started to become my career and I believe my calling in life).

In this limited caring, love and caring became associated with food, especially sweet & junk treats, my mother showed her care through these treats, but when I was given these treats I had to be instantly grateful, eat the entire amount, full packets of things, even if I was full, even if I'd eaten so much I felt sick, even if I didn't really lke it or wasn't enjoying it. I wasn't allowed to leave any, share it, or save some for later, if I didn't eat every morsel and say how wonderful it was and how I wished there was more - the caring attitude was withdrawn and replaced by anger and fury at how selfish and ungrateful I was. The only time I can recollect her being happy with me, was when I complied with this...and so I guess that is how I formed my association that bingeing beyond full, beyond feeling sick, just keeping going until there's nothing left with feeling worthy and cared for, rather than my usual feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness.

And this is where addiction theory in process work comes into play, to catapult us over the edge from our primary identity into our secondary identity - in this case for me my primary identity is one of being an inadequate worthless being (this is what I believe to be true, because of an set of edges created by the way my mother raised me as a child),my secondary identity is based upon my needs, the need to believe I have some worth and value, and am worth loving/caring about. And so for me, my ED, consuming large quantities of food, is my addiction that enables me to feel the essence of my secondary indentity.

PW also says that when we develop an addiction, that we attribute power to the addictive substance to be the thing that provides for us a route from the primary to secondary identity, when actually we have the power ourselves to create that connection by other means.

It is not as simple as saying i am going to take back that power - gradually over a long period we can claw back that power by starting to find ways to create the essence and feelings of the secondary identity ourselves.

And this is where my work for the New Year begins, or is rekindled with renewed enthusiasm...

I realised that when I want to eat junk or binge that I need to stop and question myself about what it is that I'm feeling inadequate about, that is driving that need to eat. I also need to find way of reinforcing to myself why I am not worthless, why I am worth caring about, why I'm perfectly okay and adequate etc

I have said on here many times that I have always struggled with affirmations - but I am starting to value their importance, so tonight I have been pulling out quotes from my journal, things that T said, especially things that were said during the termination process - that I can use to counter my feelings of inadequacy. 

I know that in conclusion, a lot of what I've written about Process Work and Shamanism, brings me to a similar place that Joanna and HHH advocate, but I think I need to see it through fresh eyes, from a slightly different angle, to renew my enthusiasm and re-energise me, ready to keep pushing on and growing this New Year.

(I'm not sure any of it will make much sense to anyone as it's difficult to summarise, so apologies if it doesn't, but it has re-invigorated my spirit of recovery)

 

 

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