ME: Someone remind me to get that avocado out of my purse.
I’ve been traveling. I put an avocado in my purse on the way out the door. The other day I found a moldy bag of carrots in my computer bag. I didn’t want the avocado succumbing to the same fate.
After reading Life Without Ed How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too by Jenni Schafer, I’ve come to realize how that story could be a trigger—setting in motion a train of thought that would be hard to derail for someone with an eating disorder. Hard in the beginning stages of recovery. Not impossible. And definitely easier as time passes.
JS found a way to distance herself from her disorder by giving negative thoughts associated with her self-esteem the name Ed. These negative thoughts spurred an unhealthy relationship with food, as a method of coping. The brilliant thing JS did was seeing the low self-esteem thoughts as a negative relationship instead of her connection to food. This allowed her to reform healthy associations with eating and treat the low self-esteem thoughts as an abusive relationship that she could end.
I couldn’t help but wonder how this method of coping with the core issue—self esteem (I waver with this word a little, but I don’t have a better term for it at the moment.)—would be useful in other disorders as well. The key, in my mind, was the obsessive thinking component of the disorder. The idea that body image or weight may always be on one’s mind, even when food is not present. I wonder if this is the same pattern of thinking for gamblers, alcohol dependency, drug addiction, depression, social anxiety, and maybe even mania. How do we treat the thoughts associated with the negative behavior before it turns into a negative behavior? Can we start screening for early detection and add treatment programs early on before these disorders progress?
The important thing to remember is that no matter how terrible, feelings do pass. It takes patience and trust—not food . . .
This is the best advice in the whole book, and it came from JS not Ed.
* For more help and support you can contact NEDA