I am sorry this blog is coming out later than usual. If you live in Vancouver you will have experienced just how crazy the wind storms were that left me without power for 36 hours. As a result I couldn’t post until today!
Sometimes, even years later, I can learn things about my eating disorder and the purpose it had in my life at that time. In a conversation with a colleague this week we were discussing defences and my eating disorder came up. If you remember from my post a few months back, defences are in place in order to decrease the anxiety you are experiencing as a result of trying to suppress an emotion. For me that emotion is anger. I am not entirely sure where I learnt that anger wasn’t a safe feeling. I grew up in a home where I can literally only remember witnessing it on two occasions and neither of those instances were anything big or traumatic. Perhaps never really witnessing it caused me to interpret that anger isn’t safe.
In my conversation with my colleague he pointed out how one of my defences is to always be okay and prioritize other people’s needs over my own. Because I struggled to admit to not being okay (and/or to express my anger) my eating disorder became the way I could express my feelings without having to verbalize it. If I couldn’t speak my feelings I could physically wear them. To me, this exemplifies how eating disorders present as being about food but really they are so much deeper than that.
I frequently see clients who aren’t able to give themselves permission to feel their feelings and each time something triggers a difficult emotion they retreat into their eating disorder.
It is funny how I can see these things in my clients but couldn’t see them in myself. My colleague helped me see myself differently and I hope by sharing this it will do the same for you.