What to do if you suspect you have an eating disorder

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Do you think you might have an eating disorder? Psychotherapist Joanna Poppink explains what you should do if you suspect you have one.

Transcript If you suspect you have an eating disorder you probably have one. If you suspect you have an eating disorder you are probably dancing right on the edge of awareness of things that you would rather not be aware of but are coming to grips with. Sometimes I think of an eating disorder as a cold storage vault and a lot of treasures that you have as a person that’s just not safe to bring out – skills, wisdom, curiosity, intelligence, talents that would be just too disruptive in your life if you brought them out. They go into cold storage and because these are so vibrant and you have strong vault to contain them and there’s not much stronger than an eating disorder to keep everything locked up. So when you suspect you have an eating disorder it could very well be that the coast is getting clear. You look around. The coast is clear. You are willing to venture and open up that vault and let a little bit of your talents out in the world and see what happens. The wonderful part about this, I mean it’s terribly frightening, but the wonderful part about this is that when you open up that vault and dismantle the vault itself, which is the eating disorder, out come those talents and skills. Out comes the creativity, it doesn’t matter how old you are. They have been cared for in cold storage. So please know if you suspect you have an eating disorder and you are afraid at what it’s going to unleash please know that if you have an eating disorder you are intelligent; it takes a lot of planning, a lot of thought to have an eating disorder. You are creative; it takes a lot of creativity to maintain an eating disorder. You are determined; you know how determined you are to maintain an eating disorder. It’s intelligence, strength, you have to be strong to have an eating disorder or you would die. It’s too horrific what’s done to the body. Creativity, strength, intelligence, endurance – it’s all there, courage – it’s all there but it’s been used in the service of the eating disorder. So please know that if you suspect to have an eating disorder you have all these wonderful qualities that you are getting ready to pull away from the eating disorder and put into your life. That’s what makes recovery possible. That’s why I enjoy this work somewhat. You see people bloom when this comes out of cold storage and into the world and it could be you.
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  • Joanna Poppink M.F.T.

    Joanna Poppink M.F.T. Psychotherapist Joanna Poppink, MFT, is a licensed psychotherapist with a private practice in Los Angeles. Joanna has more than twenty-five years of experience specializing in treating adults with eating disorders. She suffered from bulimia for many years, found recovery and uses both her professional expertise and personal knowledge to support her clients. She studied journalism at Northwestern University, psychology at UCLA, Antioch and the Saybrook Institute. She corresponds with women throughout the more about this expert »

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