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Thank you for visiting. Content MAY BE TRIGGERING ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED ABUSE, STRUGGLE WITH SELF-INJURY, SUICIDE, DEPRESSION OR AN EATING DISORDER. Contains graphic descriptions of suicidal thoughts, self-injury and emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Do not read further if you are not in a safe place. If you are triggered, please reach out to your support system, a mental health professional or call 911.

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Disclaimer: Although I have worked with persons with mental illness for twenty years, I do not have a Master's Degree or a license. This is not meant to be a substitute for mental health care or treatment. Please obtain professional assistance from the resources listed on the right of the page, if needed. And call 911 if you or someone is in immediate danger.

A key word that you will see:

Fragmentation: a mental process where a person becomes intensely emotionally focused on one aspect of themselves, such as “I am angry” or “no one loves me,” to the point where all thoughts, feelings and behavior demonstrate this emotional state, in which, the person does not or is unable to take into account the reality of their environment, others or themselves and their resources. This is a term that my therapist and I use and is on the continuum of dissociation.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Eating Disorders: How to Help

Most families and friends are anxious of doing or saying the wrong thing to help someone with an eating disorder.  Some, in an effort, to help reinforce eating disorder thinking and behavior.  Also, there are very specific tips that have helped me with my eating disorder of 25 years.

During the 25 year period, it hasn't been active. But, it is like any addiction, you are always in recovery and the slightest thing can throw you off.  I've had a six year with no symptoms of an eating disorder.  But, the stress of a death in my family threw me into a tailspin and back into therapy.

Eating disorders are an addiction and a mental illness.  It is highly difficult to treat and takes much time with a patient therapist and with yourself.  This really is the case of you are only as sick as are your NON-VEBALIZED secrets.  The following chart is an example of the addiction cycle:

For Friends and Family Members:
  • Avoid power struggles over food
  • Accept your limitations
  • Accept the other person's right to an independent life
  • Do not cater to the person's diet, such as, making special food other than what the family eats.
  • Allow each household member to make his or her own food choices
  • Hold the person responsible for behavior that affects others
  • Avoid power struggles (remember it is about control)
  • Don't monitor someone else's behavior for them (even if you are invited to)
  • Don't try to play therapist
  • DO NOT comment about someone's weight and looks
  • Obtain professional help, sometimes it requires inpatient or outpatient hospitalization
  • Educate yourself about eating disorders
  • Be patient.  They will probably reject your help and react with anger and denial.  Having an eating disorder feels painful and shameful.
  • Be compassionate.  Eating disorders are complex and are symptoms of much deeper issues.  It is an unheathly way to deal with emotions.
  • Talk about other things than their eating disorder.
  • Affirm their strengths and other interests that having nothing to do with food or their appearance.
  • Express your own needs, without blaming or shaming the person. It is important for them to take their own time. However, if medical intervention is necessary do not wait!!
  • Keep calm, focused and respectful during difficult conversations.
•Examine your own attitudes about food, weight, body image and body size. Think about the way you personally are affected by body-image pressures, and share these with the person.
  • Think about your own attitudes and prejudices about body image, weight and desire to be thinner.
  • Take care of yourself. Take care of your own physical, emotional, social and spritual needs.
If you have an eating disorder you can help yourself:
  • Read self-help books.
  • Write in a journal or blog.  Try to focus on feelings.  Feeling "fat" is not a feeling. It is a judgement.
  • Express yourself in writing, fingerpainting, painting, and other types of art.  Be creative...there is not write and wrong.
  • Try to stay in touch with your feeling and thoughts especially if you binge.
  • Your eating disorder may be your best friend.  I found/find it very comforting, but I am learning to find other ways, such as, talking with a friend about other things than food or body image, a hug, listen to music, practice mindfulness or meditatation, etc...
  • Accept the way you are and start to love yourself and appreciate yourself.  This is quite difficult at first as we are used to being critical and judgemental about ourself.
  • Listen to your body...I am I hungry?
  • Eat something at normal meal times.
  • Don't focus on your weight. Hide or get rid of the scale.
  • Don't count calories.
  • Don't categorize foods into "good" and "bad."
  • Don't try to hide your behavior.  At least, speak with your therapist about your difficulties.  For me, it helps me to keep accountable and more aware of what I am doing.
  • Don't tell others that you have eaten when that "really" isn't the case. 
  • Purchase clothing that fit you and make you feel good.  Don't focus on the size!!
  • Develop a good support system.
There are many excellent resources available by doing a search on the Internet. It would be too long to list in this post.  Remember, take care of yourself...something that I have to remind myself everyday...somedays are better than others...Be kind to yourself because it takes time.


Wanda's Wings said...

Great post! Very informative.

Clueless said...


Thank you!!

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