Oh, yes, I do know eating disorders. I know them as much as I possibly could: I was battling bulimia and anorexia for ten long years, we were literally best friends. I really felt this was a lifestyle that served me, made me a better person and enabled me to be in control of my life. I, too was “only cautious about healthy food”, “only taking care of myself properly”, “only caring about making myself a better person”. And this close friend nearly killed me.
As far as I can tell, pretty much anybody who hasn’t experienced eating disorders, doesn’t really understand them. Even I had trouble »figuring them out«, despite my own ten-year-long experience. Luckily, I did manage to win the battle. But not only did I win, I learned to understand my disease. After, I started to THRIVE. Nowadays, I use my experience to help young people find their own way of healing themselves.
Why are EATING DISORDERS so difficult to understand?
- They derive from deeply repressed emotional distress
- »Problems with food« are consequences of that distress (food is not the main problem)
- They are a form of addiction (food becomes a means of control, one becomes addicted to the idea of control)
- The diseased seem to hide/deny their disease for a long time (even from themselves)
- Healing can be successful only after the diseased knows why they want to heal
If you want to heal, the first two steps would be to:
- Admit your problem: »I have eating disorders.«
- Decide: either you want to stay sick, or you want to get well.
Take full responsibility for your decision and, consequently, your health. You’re the only one who can heal you.
EATING DISORDERS: my confrontation
Having experience with bulimia and anorexia, I’d recommend doing a thorough, in-deep research on your childhood. I did it too – since then, my life keeps on getting better every day. Usually, childhood is where eating disorders are rooted, at least for me it was. In my case, it all derived from a bunch of negative beliefs that I learned as a child. If you’re willing to dig deep enough, you can learn why the disease occured in the first place. You’ll have to uncover some sad childhood memories: find out who hurt you and how (and forgive everybody, yourself included), understand the role of your parents, grandparents, peers, school workers and some specific events. It’s a lot of work, but I promise you, it’s really worth it!
In my autobiography »Diet. Binge. Puke. Repeat. «, I describe:
- 15 »Iron Chunks« (painful childhood memories, injustices, unfair events) that led to specific negative beliefs
- 5 »Golden Grains« (my talents, some events that silently confirmed my value, my worthiness)
- a Magnet that connected all the Iron Chunks in one heavy lump that made me sink.
Now, if you’re facing eating disorders, I would like to encourage you to find your own Iron Chunks. The questions to ask yourself are:
- Which events, starting from my childhood days, have influenced me? Which can I not overcome? Which still hurt me?
- Which resentments do I hold? Towards whom? Who hurt me? How?
- Why/when did I start believing that I was unworthy of love, worthless, ugly, unwanted? Which negative beliefs do I hold?
- Who affected me in negative ways? How can I forgive them (especially if they are already deceased and can’t apologize)?
- What do I compensate food for? Do I repress some negative feelings? Which?
- Is food intake control a means of controlling my life? Why do I need to be in control? How else can I be in control of my life?
- Who will I be without eating disorders? Why can’t I give it up (just yet)?
Write down your own answers!! Be honest in facing your demons. The more honest you’re willing to be, the more relief (and understanding) you can expect. Wouldn’t that be great?? If you’re wondering how to break the emotional bond to painful memories, events, i’ll soon write an in-depth article just about that.
And yes, I did answer all those answers to myself when the time came for my ultimate healing. I cried a lot, I was in emotional distress but after that, I was relieved. I really am happy I didn’t shy away from the pain. Sometimes pain is a good thing, as it can show you, where you still have work to do.
If you really want to leave eating disorders behind, I urge you to read my book, as the information inside might open your eyes and help you! But ONLY, if you’re willing to change and take full responsibility for your health. The whole process is described in my book. I write about facing myself and forgiving everybody that hurt me. It took me 6 months to do that, as that list was anything but short. But I’ll say it again: it was all worth it!
You can beat EATING DISORDERS!
From painful to pleasant work: Now I’d like to encourage you to find your Golden Grains:
- What activities are you so passionate about, that you forget even about your need to diet/binge/purge? What makes you forget about eating disorders?
- What beloved hobby do you resort to when feeling stressed/sad/angry?
- What are your talents?
- What’s »bigger than your life«? What talents were you blessed with? (For me, that was music and singing)
IMPORTANT: Do not underestimate those questions!!! They are KEY to a successful healing. In the toughest moments, having enormous passion for singing, made me forget about eating disorders, food or diet in general.
Don’t worry about negative comments from your surroundings. Your significant others might imply that your hobbys »won’t pay your bills«, to »get a real job instead«, and »grow up and stop dreaming«.
They couldn’t be more wrong!! HOW and WHY could anyone know what makes YOUR heart sing? It doesn’t really matter whether your hobby will turn into a dream job or not. Its purpose is to make you happier in the here and now. Don’t worry about the future so much. Your job is to feel good here and now. So do more of what makes you happy. That’s all there is to it!
Only you know, what makes you happy. It could really be anything: music, singing, painting, walking a dog, petting a cat, wild berry picking in the nearby forest, ice-skating, roller-skating, kitesurfing, meditating with friends, snowboarding, skiing, hiking, biking, writing poetry or books or lyrics, playing an instrument, dancing…
My love for music (by the way – that’s me on the left picture :)) was the only reason for my decision to overcome bulimia. Being unable to sing at that time and nearly losing my voice made me realise the true cost of my eating disorder. So ask yourself: what did eating disorders already take away from you? Are you willing to just accept that and sacrifice your life purpose? And for what, exactly? You know where you’re headed with this lifestyle, don’t you?
I’d face a sad ending if it wasn’t for music. So, to all you beautiful people (yes, you are beautiful, don’t roll your eyes!), facing eating disorders: find your PURPOSE, your life meaning, your deeply buried desires, dreams, visions! Parents, friends, your mission is to encourage them in doing so! No prejudice, no accusations or unnecessary critique, no judgement – sincere encouragement only – it’s all young people need. Do not underestimate getting professional help (which is very much needed), but still keep on finding your purpose.
I believe in you, and trust me – you can win this battle. I did, so I can tell. If you’d like to read my book on the topic, just click on this button: