In my book, called “Eat Your Heart Out: A Journey to the Abyss and Back”, I describe the links between traumatic events and the onset of eating disorders. That in assessing an individual with an eating disorder’s traumatic story, a more detailed understanding of the healing process can be gained.
The book also chronicles my own troubled past with food. Though by definition I did not have an eating disorder, I was over eating at an unhealthy rate in my late 30’s due to the increased amount of pain I was feeling. I was using food as a way to hide from the pain after the death of my father. He was killed very unexpectedly in an ultralight crash, and the shock of the accident was something that took me a long time to overcome.
While I was in the midst of my binge eating though, I could recognize what was going on with me. I was using food just as a drug addict uses a drug: to hide from my problems and the fact that I couldn’t accept my father’s death.
After seeking out the assistance of a fellow psychologist, I was able to address my father’s death in a healthy manner and in turn, was able to control my eating habits.
My book discusses that people with anorexia or any eating disorder can never completely heal, just as tragic events in our past can never completely disappear. It’s a matter of coping and overcoming pain without using food or other negative mechanisms. I would say I now have a normal relationship with food, though I have to watch what I eat. I have learned how to stop using food as a crutch.
The “crutch” I speak of is one of the common threads throughout eating disorders as well as other mental illnesses. People who suffer from AN in particular are considered to be perfectionists that control every detail of their lives down to the smallest piece.
The need to control coupled with what I refers to in my book as “the chaos of tragedy” compounds the illness. Many times sufferers of eating disorders are desperately grasping for some factor in their life that they can easily manipulate since often they have just had something either taken away, or changed dramatically. Therefore, through starvation, unhealthy amounts of exercise, calorie counting, binging and purging, they can regain some sense of control in their lives.
You can find “Eat Your Heart Out: A Journey to the Abyss and Back” on Amazon and in most book stores across Brazil.
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