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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.

What follows are questions that can help determine if you have secrets from yourself. Inner secrets play a powerful role in beginning and maintaining many eating disorders.

Question 1: How well do you remember your childhood?

  • Do you keep remembering the same experiences and gloss over major absences of memory?
  • Do you think you remember events because others have described them to you? Are your memories yours or are they images and stories given to you by others?
  • Do you remember details from some years and little from others?
  • Are even clear memories spotty? An example of this is when a person can remember the yard around their childhood home well, but has trouble remembering specific rooms or parts of rooms in the house.

Question 2: Do you lose track of conversation?

  • Do you often get bored or distracted during conversation?
  • Do you go blank for a moment or two?
  • Do you find yourself trying to pick up what's going on, as if you had been "gone" for a moment?
  • Are these familiar experiences that you consider just part of your nature?

Question 3: Do you lose track while watching a movie or hearing a lecture?

  • Are there simple paragraphs or sentences in books that you have to reread and yet still have difficulty registering in your mind?
  • Did that happen while you were reading this cyber-guide, Triumphant Journey? If it did, go back and see if you can find those sections and hold them in your mind. If you can find them but still can't hold them, write them down. Sometimes, even writing them down doesn't work. It's as if the words go through your eyes to your hands, fingers and pen, typewriter or keyboard, completely bypassing your mind. That's okay. Just record them and keep them in the notebook you'll find out about in the Secret Discovering Exercises.
  • Do you miss small sections of a film's continuity and have to fill in the meaning from your imagination?
  • Are you certain that your small misses while watching films are okay because you are skilled in making sense out of the parts you have seen?
  • Have you ever watched a video of a film you've seen before and been surprised at whole sections of events and meanings that you didn't know existed from your first viewing?

Question 4: Are there small, mundane events which can reliably arouse your anger or fear?

  • Examples of such events include:
    • You or someone else spills something.
    • Someone moves an object out of its usual place.
    • A simple food is unavailable.
    • You are to go up stairs or through a doorway first, immediately ahead of one or more people.
    • A household item or appliance breaks down and requires repair or replacement.

Question 5: Do you feel you have to pretend to be someone better than you are?

  • Do you feel that if people knew who you really were they would turn away from you?
  • Do you feel that if people knew who you really were they would laugh at you, belittle you, or punish you in some way?

Question 6: Do you feel nervous when you feel someone sees who you really are?

  • Can you tell from a moment's glance when someone is seeing your real self?
  • Do you keep away from such people?

Question 7: Do you often feel you have to leave situations because you feel too nervous or confined to stay?

  • Examples of such situations include:
    • meetings
    • relationships
    • brief encounters in social gatherings
    • classrooms
    • waiting rooms
  • If you remain do you feel resentful and angry or afraid?

Question 8: Do you have personal private rituals?

  • Will you feel anxiety or anger if you cannot do them?
  • Examples of such rituals can include:
    • Chewing a certain number of times or in a particular way.
    • Relying on telephone conversations at a particular time of day.
    • Exercising in a certain way at a certain time.
    • Eating special foods in a specific way or at a specific time or both.
    • Using particular eating utensils.
    • Watching particular TV programs while eating particular foods.
    • Cutting, chopping or arranging food to lengthen your time with the food. An example of this might be after peeling and eating an orange, spending time meticulously cutting the orange peel into tiny pieces.

Question 9: Do you forget your sexual experiences?

  • In an actual sexual experience, do you feel you are once again in a physical and emotional experience you forget about completely in your daily life?
  • Do you often feel vulnerable and naive about sex in daily life despite numerous and varied sexual experiences?
  • Do you also feel, more than occasionally, that you have special, secret knowledge about sex?
  • Do you often lose feeling during a sexual experience and find yourself observing your partner or your own sensations from an objective point of view?
  • Do you often have private sexual fantasies in which you are helpless and the center of dramatic attentions?
  • Do you often have fantasies where someone is helpless and either honored and/or afraid to receive your dramatic attentions?

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Written by Joanna Poppink, MFT. Joanna is a psychotherapist in private practice specializing in eating disorder recovery, stress, PTSD, and adult development.

She is licensed in CA, AZ, OR, FL, and UT. Author of the Book: Healing Your Hungry Heart: Recovering from Your Eating Disorder

Appointments are virtual.

For a free telephone consultation, e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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