January 2009 Archive
I read this quote by Aimee Liu many months ago. It is something I have saved and reflect upon time and again. It is a great way to explain how eating disorders are symptoms expressing larger, underlying emotions.
“…keep in mind that all eating disorders, on one level anyway, function as pantomimes. We are acting out through our bodies the feelings of emptiness, being fed up, stuffed with so much shame or anger we have to get rid of it, or just being so hungry for something that we can never be filled up. I strongly suspect that you don’t hate your body but what your body has come to represent.”
In treatment I encourage my patients time and time again to identify what they are feeling. When someone comes in and says “I could not stop looking in the mirror this week. I felt so fat.” Or, ” I could not stop thinking about food. I was really preoccupied the last couple of days.” I always ask “What else has been going on?”
When you see your preoccupations, binge/purge or body dissatisfaction behaviors intensify try to think of it as a RED FLAG for other things bothering you. Ask yourself, “What else is really going on?”Like Aimee says, it is not your body you really hate. Same goes for feelings about food, weight, and other ed related preoccupations. It is not about the food but about the representations and meanings these things have developed for you over time.
Does anyone esle have other strategies that help cut through the ED behaviors and allow you to address some underlying issues?
I will be running a new Eating Disorder Recovery Group in Rochester Hills, Michigan beginning 2-11-09. The group will meet at 7:00. The fee for each session will be $25.00. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information. An interview prior to joining the group is required.
I look forward to hearing from you!
I just returned home from the American Psychoanalytic Association Winter Meeting in New York City. Despite the cold and windy weather in the city, the conference was warm with rich conversation and invigorating clinical material from mental health professionals around the world.
Wednesday morning I was thrilled to attend a session led by Katherine Zerbe, author of many works on eating disorders and a well known psychoanalyst. Dr. Zerbe acknowledged the little understanding the field of eating disorders and psychoanalysis have paid to obesity and clients who binge eat. As she discussed clinical material she illustrated several intriguing points. She encouraged clinicians and clients alike to pay attention to their thoughts, beliefs and feelings associated with food. She illustrated the multiple roles and unconscious meanings food has to those who suffer from an eating disorder.
Understanding the many meanings (likely out of your awareness) food plays in the development and maintenance of your eating disorder may be key to unlocking recovery.
A member of the Mindfullness community details her journey from anorexia to health.
I’m standing in the middle of the street in downtown Detroit. It’s dark. It’s cold. Adrenaline is pulsing through my body. I’m nervous and excited. Am I really going to do this?
I hear a shot-gun blast.
Thousands of people around me start walking…then jogging…then running. I can’t help but smile as I look through the throngs of people. I join them, gradually accelerating to a run myself. There’s no turning back now.
I’ve started running my first marathon.
People often compare long, arduous tasks to a 26.2 mile race. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” they say. I guess that means it doesn’t matter how fast you get to the finish, it just matters that you get there, and enjoy some of the scenery along the way.
That’s life, really, isn’t it?
As I make my way past the first mile marker, I begin to contemplate how I ever got there in the first place. (Not to the first mile marker, I know how I got there—one foot in front of the other.) But here, at the Detroit Marathon; not only as a spectator, but as a runner. I’m a runner. I could start when I began my training eight months earlier, but that’s not far enough back. I could start a year and a half ago when I ran my first 5K, but that’s not far enough back either. No, I have to go back 17 years. That’s really when it all started.
I was 12 years old, just beginning seventh grade. In that awkward, pre-teen stage of life. I still carried my “baby fat” with round cheeks and a plump belly. It never really bothered me before. Okay, maybe occasionally, but never to the point where I thought I had to do something about it.