Saturday, August 9, 2008


Very interesting, yet again, how things align in life to show me what I need to be working on. My last post, Insecurity, was just the tip of the iceberg.

I bought a book well over a year ago. I read the preface shortly after I bought it and never went any further. It's been sitting around since then and it just happened to strike me last night to start reading it again. The book is called Free At Last! Subtitled: The Power of Relationships in Overcoming Trauma, Abuse and Eating Disorders. It's on the recommended reading list of The Renfrew Center which is the countrys first residential treatment center for eating disorders. Basic premise of the book is that positive, healthy relationships are key to overcoming a traumatic past and eating disorders.

In any case, for reasons unknown, I felt compelled to begin reading it again last night. Here was an interesting statistic on the first page. 80% of women with eating disorders have been abused or traumatized. Following is an excerpt that led to my realization:

"Some women describe their eating disorder as a survival mechanism. Some of my patients describe their eating disorder as "My only friend," "It made me feel comforted," or, "It gave me something to look forward to." The eating disorder becomes the only safe way to express one's feelings when leaving an unsafe environment. Another challenge for women in recovery is to venture out of the self destruction and create safety for themselves in their relationships. Surviving is the first step towards healing. The next challenge is to learn how to be in relationships with people and to trust. "

Food = friend.
Food = comfort.
Food = safety.
Putting all of this together in context with my recent feelings of isolation, the realization that trying to reach out and make friends terrifies all hit me. Food IS my relationship. It is constant, predictable, plentiful, safe. It doesn't talk back, it doesn't judge, it has no expectations. It also doesn't give anything back. It gives me nothing to attach to. Hence the reason I always need more....because I'm never satisfied, never full emotionally. Physically, I am almost always full but that's not what I'm truly longing for. My stomach is not the void that needs filling. It's my soul that is starving.

I have this Catch 22 going where I say I want to be close to people yet I put up my walls and I drive them away. In fact, the compulsive eating literally builds a "barrier" around me of extra weight. It makes me want to stay in the house, ashamed of my appearance. It makes me too ashamed to reach out to anyone. I create a self fulfilling prophecy where I withdraw or keep people at arms length only so I can then say "Aha!!! I knew they would leave me or reject me!" When in reality, I've left them no other choice. Really, I am perpetuating the victim role.

I was listening to a radio broadcast talking about the website Second Life where people create an avatar and live out a virtual existence from buying a house, opening a business, making friends, relationships, even getting married. The DJ's were questioning how people get SO involved in such a game. I can totally understand it. Long before the website, I basically did it and lived a fantasy life online. I can understand any form people get attached to in order to escape their reality. And this is one of the reasons I so love chat groups, my blog and online friendships. Limited risk. Socialization in isolation.

I went to T this morning and she asked me "How does your judgment of yourself play into this?" and I was struck immediately with an intense headache across my forehead, like the brow area. So painful, it made my stomach turn. I sat there in silence, thoughts flying through my mind so fast I couldn't even verbalize them. T asked me what I was feeling and I whispered "I hate myself." I told T about the headache and she said how interesting that was, because the spot I described is the frontal lobe, which is the seat of judgment. I simply could not even proceed in the session, it was too intense. She sat me in a chair and did some of what I jokingly call her "voodoo magic" which really is this energy healing work. It amazes me every time she does it. She uses her hands closely around my head and neck, very rarely even having to touch a key spot. As she does it, I can begin to feel the energy moving in my body. It feels somewhat tingly and I can feel it being drawn to certain spots. The last time she did this, I remember feeling as if my body was a zigzag shape and she said that was the broken flow of energy in my body. This time, I felt the energy flowing up the left side of my neck and head. It felt like my head was laying down on my left shoulder. Next my shoulders felt like stone, so heavy, and then I felt "buzzing" (for lack of a better word) in my left shoulder, chest, shoulderblade, neck & head. I felt as if I was tipping to the left and about to fall off the chair when in fact, I was still sitting perfectly straight. It's bizarre. But the headache was gone when she was done. I told her the experience I had and she remarked that the left side is the receptive side....almost like I was "reaching" for the positive energy.

She ended by giving me a homework assignment to just notice my self-judgments; don't attach to them. Funny, I said....the only thing I *can* attach to lately seems to be my self criticism. I normally see T every 2 weeks but she strongly suggested I come back in a couple days. It makes me nervous when she does that. But I go back on Weds.

1 comment:

Strong and determined said...

P - I totally feel your pain. I have been binging for the last few days, and then wish I would just STOP! I have made such a large protective layer around myself,(if you know what I mean) that it is getting ridiculous. Let me know what you think of the book when you finish it.