Visual Cliff Video & Eating Disorder Recovery: Challenge Your Distorted Perceptions
- Category: Coping Strategies
Brain malnourishment causes bizarre thinking and is a fundamental obstacle to recovery. When your brain does not get adequate nourishment your perceptions are distorted. You can't make sound and reasonable judgments. You can't take on realistic responsibility for your own responsible self care.
In the video, created as part of Joseph Campo's work in infant research at UC Berkeley you'll see a baby negotiating something similar to your situation. He knows where he is safe. His perceptions tell him where danger exists. He won't go there. But with encouragement from a trusted and loving figure he will ignore his fears and move through what he considered dangerous to get to a worth while prize. For him, the prize is a toy. For you, the prize is your life.
Any eating disorder can create this condition. Obviously anorexia creates starvation conditions and deprives the entire body, including the brain, of necessary nourishment. But bulimia and binge eating can contribute to a starving brain as well. In bulimia and binge eating you eat. But you eat so much your body is overwhelmed and can't digest and process food properly. You eat high fat, high sugar, high salt foods that fill your body and dull your mind but don't provide adequate nourishment.
If you have an eating disorder your eyes see a distorted view of yourself and the world. Your thoughts, which seem reasonable to you, can be illogical and self defeating. You want help, but you can't ask for it. You want relief, but you need your suffering to be a secret. You become skeletal and are afraid you will get fat. You get obese and hope people will notice your jewelry and not your body.
Moving toward recovery takes trust and courage. What you see is not what is. The judgments you make based on your distorted perceptions are not sound. You need to move through what you dread (change in eating patterns, giving up secrets) to reach a different way of living that you can't see or believe from where you are now.
When you are afraid and reluctant to move toward your recovery, imagine a smiling, loving and encouraging face urging you on.
Put people who have these qualities in your life. Hang pictures and place figures or sculptures in your environment that have such faces. Seek these faces out in museum, art galleries and in your day to day encounters with real people. If you look you will find them.
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