“HOW” EDs change

As a person in recovery from a long struggle with bulimia, as well as a person studying to be an addiction specialist, I often ask myself, HOW do eating disordered persons change. I know from my own experience, it has been a long process of small changes over time, which has eventually led to large life changes. But I have to wonder, when, what was it, and how did that switch go off in my brain that said, “Okay, now you are ready to take action and change.” Ya know, that paradigm shift that occurs that makes one realize that they want more out of life than the ED.

Everyone has there own process, clearly. As one who wants to be an ED therapist, I have to wonder (because of my own recovery), how much does therapy actually influence that moment when people decide to take that courageous leap of faith into recovery?

When I think of my own experience, I spent many years in therapy with no real behavioral changes. Not because my therapists weren’t great, but rather because I had to hold on so tightly to the false sense of control/other benefits of the eating disorder. I’m wondering if there is a therapeutic way to “speed up” the process, allowing people to see that they don’t need to hang on to the ED so long. To some extent, I think it’s possible—by strengthening the rational self and helping one to create a sense of self outside of the ED. Most importantly, helping one create a support system. Without a support system, we are all pretty much screwed.

On the other hand, because we are dealing with a mental disorder, which comes with firmly planted irrationalities, maybe a therapist’s job is to be there to plant therapeutic seeds, so that when one is ready, then they will be able to tap into that information and use it as a tool for change.

What prompted these thoughts, I guess, is that when I see friends who are completely entrenched in this disease, I wish I could say or do something to help them get out of their own way and experience life! It’s so much better than the isolation of the ED!!!! Yes, I know… I’m powerless over people, places and things.