What do you mean, coping mechanism?


PTC wrote this comment on my blog:


Everyone always says the ED is a coping mechanism, but I don’t feel like there’s anything that I can’t cope with or that I haven’t been able to cope with. I don’t really know what I’m trying to say. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t feel like I restrict, workout, weigh myself to deal with something, I feel like it’s just something that I do. Again, I’m not explaining myself too well here so I’ll just stop writing.


When you live with an eating disorder, you block knowledge and self awareness you don’t know you have. When you think you are not explaining yourself well what is happening is that you can’t articulate some kind of knowing. Your conscious mind doesn’t have access to your unconscious mind.


Just keep writing. By all means keep writing. Conscious material is what you know about. Unconscious material is....unconscious. It's in you and quite real, but you don't know about it. You can't think it up or recognize it with your conscious mind.


When you stop restricting, working out, weighing yourself, something happens to you that pushes you to start your eating disorder routines again. If you don't start again you will feel something...probably anxiety or frustration or anger or all three. Those feelings are coming from what's unconscious.


Other ways exist to get a hint about what's going on in your unconscious that makes the eating disorder so necessary. Writing out your experience can help. Journaling on a regular basis can help. Writing down your dreams or painting or drawing images from your dreams can help.


Your unconscious doesn't explain very well via logic, but that doesn't mean you don't know. Unconscious knowing is a different kind of knowing.


So please, regardless of whether you think (conscious) that what you are saying or writing makes sense or not, please keep at it. The wisdom and knowledge in your unconscious will slip through the cracks and you'll develop more appreciation and understanding about why you live as you do. That’s a powerful step toward giving yourself some positive and healthy life choices.

Sites of interest

Mindfulness exercises (inviting the unconscious to relax and reveal something.  This blog has wonderful meditative photographs. I suggest you look at them and write or draw what you feel or what images naturally occur to you without judgment.)

The Unconscious in clinical practice (section within A guide to psychology and its practice)  This is a masterful and detailed description of the unconscious and how it affects our lives without us knowing it.  It's written pretty much jargon free by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. and, in my opinion, could be extremely helpful in appreciating unconscious forces that govern eating disorders.

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