Posted by Rebecca Cooper
Early recovery is difficult. When we stopped the eating disorder, feelings start to surface. Many times you do not even know what the feeling is. So one of the first new skills in recovery is to be able to identify your feelings. You cannot take care of yourself if you don’t even know what you are feeling. What makes this even more difficult is that the feelings you have been suppressing with the eating disorder now start to surface.
The next new coping skills you need in early recovery is how to deal with the stress and anxiety of everyday living. You need to be comfortable around other people and implement new ways of taking care of yourself. It can be hard not having your usual coping mechanism and feeling so raw. You need to be able to identify your stressors and deal with them in a healthy manner.
One of the most important new skill is in eating disorder recovery is learning to identify your negative self-talk. Again, some people are not even aware of the messages they are telling themselves. This can be one reason why you are using the eating disorder to just stop that negativity going on in your head. If the negative self-talk is not addressed to it can lead you back into the eating disorder.
Some of the people I deal with have long-term recovery from other disorders but still have not been able to recover from disordered eating and eating disorders. It’s just like any other disorder, when you first start recovery it feels like you had never experienced anything of the situations you are now faced with. Most people report doing everything from the point of recovery is different. It feels like you’ve never done it before.
You are still struggling with keeping the eating disorder, thoughts and behaviors at bay. But you need to perform your duties with no coping skills for the anxiety and situations that arise. It takes a lot of courage to push through each one of these barriers to keep progressing towards recovery. I usually recommend a “get well” job. This allows you to practice your coping skills in a work environment with less pressure. At Rebecca’s House we have always stressed the need for “real” world experience while in treatment.
Please stay tuned for my final installment of this article next week!
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October 12, 2011 | 12:28 pm
Posted by Rebecca Cooper
It is hard to explain to someone who has never had an eating disorder the freedom it is to be out of one. Everyone in recovery will tell you that it’s not necessarily all the behaviors that accompany the eating disorders but it is the obsessive, continual chatter that is in your head about food, weight, diet, and body image. Even the person that is restricting, dieting or suffering from Anorexia, has the same internal negative dialogue.
It is the first thing you think of in the morning and the last thing you think of at night. When you get up in the morning you think today will be different. Today I am not going to engage in my eating disorder, but after a while it seems like you just can’t hold on any longer and you are compelled to get the food, eat it, and get rid of it or watch the extra pounds pile on. Again the behaviors may be different but the underlying symptoms are the same. The disordered eating and thinking becomes a vicious cycle that is impossible to break out of on your own.
Many people start the disordered eating when we were around 13 to 15 years old. It usually begins with a diet or restricting food. At this time in your life you do not have the coping skills necessary to address the many stressors in your life. So you use the one coping skill that you know will give you a few seconds of relief of not feeling, the eating disorders. You spend our younger years using the eating disorder to cope with hard situations in your live rather than learning new healthy skills and implementing them. As time passes, the only coping skills you have is the eating disorder.
Please stay tuned for part two of this article next week on this three part series about eating disorder recovery.