this post is all about eating disorders, and may be very triggering if you have or have had an eating disorder. Please read with caution
I’m curled up, knees to my chest, head down. It’s Thursday, and Bea is talking about Eating Disorders.
“That conference I went to, really focused viewing eating disorders a little differently. It’s what we were talking about a little in our email. With the eating disorder behaviors never really healing completely until the trauma is processed.”
I don’t say anything, but I’m thinking. I’m thinking back to all the years of eating disorder therapy; all the cognitive behavior therapy combined with talk therapy, therapists who specialized in eating disorders, group therapies, weigh-ins with nurses at my doctors office, diagnosis of bulimia, anorexia, eating disorder not otherwise specified, I’m thinking of pretending to get better but never really stopping my behaviors.
“This is why my behaviors never stopped?” I ask, quietly, tentatively. I’m unsure I want to go here, to do this.
“That’s my theory,” Bea says, “Since the trauma wasn’t addressed there was no real way to get better, right? I mean, the healthy part of you kept getting healthier and developing into a competent adult, but the frozen in time parts of you remained untouched. It’s sort of like having a ball of kryptonite in your gut exerting influence over you no matter how hard you try to live your life and pretend it’s not there.”
I nod my head, it makes sense. It’s why I got better, but not. It’s why I was able to function, but continuer my behaviors in a very secret, hidden way. I
“I think you have to make a choice, here,” Bea tells me, “You made one, when you kept working so hard to get your message to me that you weren’t okay, that you aren’t eating and cutting everyday. You decided that wasn’t okay to be doing.”
I’m silent, but she’s right. When I told her, I has decided this wasn’t okay, that I needed help before I fell all the way down the rabbit hole of this eating disorder. Now that it’s out, though, I don’t really know if I want to be pulled out of this rabbit hole.
“I think you have to decide if you want to stop, you have to really be ready. There were a lot of good ideas at this conference, and I met a great eating disorder therapist that we can talk to if we need to—-”
“No. I’m not talking to someone else,” I say quickly, interrupting before she can even finish the thought. That is not happening.
“Alice. I’m not an expert in eating disorders. I know some, I can work with you, I can help, I can get you back to your standard of safety, I believe that as your trauma is processed, you won’t need your behaviors, but if and when you are ready to give this up, and reach for the dream, the goal for your life you told me about, then we made need to collaborate with someone who is an expert.”
I don’t say anything, I’m ignoring this. I don’t want to hear it. No experts, no nurtrionists, no meal plans. Nope. I don’t have a “real” eating disorder anyway, I tell myself.
“Well, when you’re ready, we can make a list of all the things the eating disorder gives you, or has given you, and all the things it has taken away from you. You could write a letter to the eating disorder, and say goodbye. I don’t think you’re ready to do that yet.”
“Not yet. I don’t know. Maybe a list. Not today,” I say. My thoughts are all confused, I having trouble thinking straight.
Bea and I talk a little more about eating disorders, my fear of Kat inheriting my issues, but also how Kat is my reason for being almost ready to stop.
As I leave, I think that on my list of negatives would be tiredness and not being able to think clearly.