December 26, 2012

Eating disorders as “solutions”

Nobody has an eating disorder for the fun of it. If you’ve developed an eating disorder, it’s because something hasn’t been working in your life. You’ve turned to your eating disorder because it seems to help; never mind the terrible price you’re paying for it.

Sadly, your eating disorder is a vote of no-confidence in your personal ability to solve problems, manage feelings, or create a life to be proud of. Depending on your disorder, you’ve discovered that weight loss brings admiration, dieting gives you a sense of control, bingeing provides temporary comfort, or purging offers a sense of release and relief. Each makes the eating disorder seem like a powerful and readily available ally.

The tricky thing about eating disorder symptoms is that the more they appear to solve for you, the more you ask them to solve — and the more you believe in them as problem-solvers. When a symptom seems to fix so much, it can achieve a very “dug-in” place in your life.

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