Eating disorders block emotions and create distorted thinking. If you read recovery books, are in therapy or go to support groups or 12-step meetings you've heard this.
But what does this actually mean in your experience? You can't feel what you don't feel. You can't think clearly and realistically if your thinking is distorted.
You also know that control issues play a big role in the life of a person with an eating disorder. But if your emotions are limited and your thinking is distorted then your control issues may be unknown to you. You may feel your need to be in charge is not because you want power but because you believe your position is accurate and the best of all possible choices.
This situation is creates the foundation for cascading personal disasters. How can you give up your position based on lack of emotion and lack of good judgment if you don't know that's what's going on?
You have a constant, ever-present friend who can help you accurately sort out this dilemma. Your body is always there and always tells the truth. You can deny fire with your feelings and your mind, but put your hand in the fire and your skin will blister regardless of what you think or feel.
Distorted thinking and blocked emotions can lead you to believe that your body is an "it" separate from who you are. But that thinking doesn't make what you think true.
You can block emotional responses and realistic thinking to convince yourself that a dangerous person is your friend. But you will have anxiety attacks (heart palpitations and shortness of breath) when you are in danger. The hairs on the back of your neck with stand up. Your body is talking to you and telling you a truth your mind and emotions cannot detect.
You've heard that it's important to love your body. This is why. If you treat your body with care and respect your body senses your body will guide you to an honest appreciation of your experience.
Your eating disorder is in place to stop that education and personal empowerment. If you block your body's experience, punish it, push it into unnatural states and ignore your body's physical protest then you miss the communications from your body that tell you the truth of your life.
If you feel what you think you can't feel and see the reality of your experience, you might not like it. If you stay aware of your emotions and stay aware of your clear thinking you might have to take disruptive action that changes your life, your relationships and what you believe supports your existence.
Life Changes in Recovery
- People leave abusive relationships.
- People go back to school.
- They get degrees and jobs that give them a better life.
- They move to places where they can afford to live and find honest ways to improve their income.
- They befriend their children.
- They tend to their own health.
- They use their hearts and minds to bring joy to their lives.
- They stop allowing others to drain personal energy.
- They use their own energy to build what is valuable and important to them.
- They recognize and embrace love.
You can't do this if you don't feel what you feel or see reality or if you punish your body.
Can you stop punishing your body and allow yourself to be born into your authentic self where you feel what you feel and see what you see?
If you can you are on your way to discovering what you really do think and what your genuine choices are to give you a better life.
Give your friend a chance.
21 May 2013
Artists: Dale Schoonover and Kim Schoonover
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License.
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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