Eating Disorders symptoms Counselling and Therapy
Personal experiences of suffering from an eating disorder are unique and vary widely from person to person. One person writes:
“The view of life through the prism of anorexia was distorting, but I needed that distorted world when the ‘real’ world—the world of boys and dating and cliques and schoolwork— was more than my body and psyche could handle in a healthy way. When I got into the anorexic headspace, I was in a self-constructed, rational world where I didn’t have to feel embarrassment, social failure, isolation, or self-hate. When I was thinking about weight control, I could wipe away emotion and go straight to cognition—to the hardness and reliability of calories, fat grams, and numbers on a scale. “My dieting, along with my schoolwork, gave me a measure of comfort, an island of safety where I could rest when I was drowning in the social and emotional sea of ninth grade. On that island, my social and sexual development regressed. In more and more situations, I couldn’t relate to my peers in their world because they were learning what it felt like to explore adolescence, while I was learning what it felt like to explore anorexia.” That’s when I knew the bingeing didn’t free me, when I knew the only thing I [screwed] by bingeing was myself.”
After a lot of hard work and great support the same person writes:
“As I look back over those years of anorexia and bulimia, my body does not feel sharp with anger; instead it feels full and calm, holding a fading but powerful sadness.
Despite the sadness, despite the wish that someone had helped me sooner, I know that this was my path; that I could not have gotten here without my eating disorder. I would not be this woman with this insight, this perception, and this compassion if I had not struggled through anorexia and bulimia.
I will do everything in my power to prevent other people from developing eating disorders, and to help them find their own path out. But I can’t bemoan my path, and I can’t berate myself for having traveled it. I deserve more. We all do!
You Are Not Alone!
Bayridge Components For A Healing Path
- Work with a knowledgeable, empathetic therapist
- Process the emotional and relational unfinished business of life
- Develop a medical, therapeutic and family support network
- Journal your thoughts and feelings
- Connect more with friends
- Learn to let go, but not lose control (ie, Lose yourself in long, slow walks or a good book)
- Keeping a food journal
- Laugh lots
Families Need Help Too!
Families and Eating Disorders
It was thought by some that the role of the family was the cause of the development and perpetuation of eating disorders. Historically, mothers, fathers, or both together have often been blamed. The eating disorder was viewed as being a symptom of underlying family problems.
In more recent years a more balanced approach has surfaced where family researchers do not view parenting and family as being responsible for anorexia and bulimia nervosa, but as players in the drama of a complex disorder. Parents and family members often feel helpless as they do not understand the disorder nor know how to help. Often, without militant, they aggravate and sometimes perpetuate the eating disorder.
It goes without saying that significant family events such as death, divorce, alcoholism, depression and abuse increase the risk for developing eating disorders; however, how the family interacts with individuals within the family also contributes to helping or hindering the person struggling with the disorder. It is for this reason that at Bayridge we believe in treating not just the individual but also the family system.
How to help a family member suffering from an eating disorder
- Educate yourself about eating disorders
- Be patient. This is a marathon not a sprint
- Encourage the person to seek professional help.
- Seek outside help for yourself. Find a family/friend support group, a counsellor.
- Don’t be surprised if the reaction is one of denial or anger.
- Don’t lay blame. This only reinforces the person’s feelings of failure.
- Don’t dwell on food
- Encourage an active balanced life style