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  • Eating Disorders - Freedom from Suffering through Recovery

    Freedom from Suffering through Recovery
    Blossom Counselling, Tauri Hall – Ottawa ON

    What does recovery mean to the professional?
    Recovery means helping individuals who suffer recognize their value. It means helping them stop the eating disorder symptoms (binging, purging, restricting) by introducing healthy ways to cope with anxiety, fear, depression, and other strong emotions. Recovery to the professional means introducing strategies to help fight the voice of the eating disorder and learn to listen to the voice within that desperately needs nurturing. It means providing a safe place to express feelings that have been denied or stuffed away for so long, a safe place to take risks and begin to heal from past trauma, abuse and/or damaged self-esteem.

    Recovery means freedom.

    Recovery means freedom from the symptoms of the eating disorder that hurt you so badly. The costs are high.
    Eating disorders are associated with the highest rate of physical and psychological complications compared to any other psychological disorder. Approximately ten percent of individuals with an eating disorder will die from complications as a result of their eating disorder. Recovery means improved health both physically and emotionally.
    Recovery means life.

    Recovery means self-discovery and self-acceptance.
    The eating disorder robs the individual of their ability to stay connected to their true self. Those who battle an eating disorder frequently end up battling themselves. They tend to be extremely self-critical and have unrealistic expectations for themselves. If you are suffering with an eating disorder ask yourself “What kind of a friend am I to me? Do I treat myself the same way I treat my friends, my child, even strangers I meet in public?” You need you to beat this illness … without you, you cannot win this battle. Recovery means you become your very best ally. It means you first become aware of your relationship with yourself and then with help and support you begin to heal that relationship through self-acceptance, self-nurturance, self-respect and self-love.

    Recovery means renewed and improved self-esteem.
    Self-esteem is damaged by the eating disorder. Restricting, binging and purging behaviours are all self-abuse. Recovery means freedom to end the abuse, stop the pain and move towards peace and happiness. It means living the life you desire and you deserve.

    Recovery means freedom from shame and guilt associated with the eating disorder.
    Individuals who have an eating disorder often suffer in silence because of the shame and the guilt. This illness is not your fault … it is an illness, a disorder. The eating disorder is fueled by fear … fear of rejection, of judgment … worry that others will not approve. Recovery means accepting that you are so much more than the disorder. Recovery means being responsible for doing what it takes to reclaim your life, while recognizing that it is not about strength or willpower. Recovery means letting go of guilt and shame that do not belong to you.

    Recovery means the courage to express feelings.
    It means taking off the mask and being real. An eating disorder is not really about food or body image … it is an attempt to cope with feelings. People who suffer with disordered eating are people who are highly sensitive. They are people who become overwhelmed by strong emotions such as anxiety and depression. Anger is often repressed, stuffed away and conflict with others often avoided. The eating disorder is a symptom of a perceived inability to sit with and express feelings. Recovery means having a voice and asserting your needs.

    Recovery means replacing maladaptive coping strategies with healthy coping strategies.
    An eating disorder is a symptom of suffering.
    It initially starts as an attempt to feel better. An eating disorder serves as a distraction, thinking about food, body image, and other associated eating disorder thoughts takes a lot of mental energy. It is difficult to think about the feelings underneath with such a powerful distraction. However, an eating disorder will cause feelings of anxiety and depression to increase, consequently making it more difficult to challenge distorted thinking that will only fuel the eating disorder and increase the fear. The distraction creates a disconnect from self.

    An eating disorder often restores a feeling of control that had been missing in the individual’s life. The feelings of regained control are actually an illusion. Life quickly spins out of control as the eating disorder destroys freedom to eat normally, socialize comfortably, have healthy intimate relationships, think clearly, be happy.

    Recovery means freedom from the paralyzing fear that haunts each individual who suffers with anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder.
    Those of you who are suffering or who have suffered know what I am referring to: the persistent, cunning and merciless voice of the eating disorder. The voice that rings in your head convincing you that you are not good enough; that you have little or no value unless you meet the approval of others or meet the standard the fashion industry deems acceptable. The voice that refuses to give you a moments rest from the obsessive, fear inducing eating disorder thoughts surrounding body image and food restriction or consumption.

    Why is treatment so crucial?
    You cannot fight this battle alone.

    Treatment provides: support, education, medical aid and psycho-therapy through a team of health professionals who either work together within the community or within an institution. Professionals offer their expertise, experience and compassion, to those who suffer with an eating disorder, in their journey to recovery. There are various options for treatment with our city, such as hospital programs (inpatient and outpatient programs), there are private practitioners who specialize in working with individuals and their families who battle an eating disorder, and there are also support groups. Family doctors are also an important resource. Unfortunately, resources are limited …programs are limited and wait lists too long. Write to your MP and to ask for what is needed. People are suffering and need help.

    If you are someone who is suffering with an eating disorder break free from fear, end your suffering and your silence and cry out for help. Don’t be a prisoner to fear … I promise that the rewards you will gain through recovery are worth the journey.

    You are not alone.

    See Blossom Counselling for more information.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Eating Disorders - Freedom from Suffering through Recovery started by Tauri View original post