Eating Disorder Therapist in Rockville, Maryland. Serving Montgomery County, Maryland. Specializing in the treatment of anorexia, binge eating, orthorexia, bulimia, compulsive exercise.
“It seems like I’m actually experiencing my feelings, now that I’m no longer bingeing and purging my emotions,” my client in recovery from bulimia shared.
One thing that almost all of my clients with eating disorders have in common is difficulty in expressing, processing, and coping with their emotions.
Often eating disorders are a (temporarily) effective way for people to numb out from or attempt to regulate intense emotions, however in the long-term they often cause increased distress, anxiety, and unhappiness.
A Healthy Perspective on Emotions
We live in a culture where we are often taught to try to “numb out from” or to avoid our emotions. We are given this message from the time that we were children, when many of us were told things like "don't cry," or "you don't need to be sad." On the surface this seems comforting, however ultimately the message given is that we need to judge or try to suppress our emotions.
People who are intensely struggling with an eating disorder often are emotionally disconnected. When unpleasant emotions surface, they may turn to an eating disorder behavior in an attempt to try to "feel better."
It's important to note that we cannot “selectively numb emotions.” When we numb out from sadness, we also numb out from being able to truly feel happiness.
Additionally, trying to “get rid” of our emotions is like trying to hold a beach ball under water. It takes a ton of effort and eventually it will pop back up to the surface with force.
The following are a few reminders when it comes to your emotions:
Let Yourself Feel
It’s so important to practice the skills of mindfulness, non-judgement and radical acceptance of emotions. This will be a crucial aspect of recovering from your eating disorder, and living a life according to your values.
Turning to eating disorder behaviors, is a “temporary” fix for regulating emotions, and it often comes at an incredibly high cost.
I recently heard a powerful quote that sums this up beautifully.
“Your feelings will not kill you. Nobody has ever died of an emotion. They have died trying to stop their emotions” –Norah Wynne, Clinical Director at Monte Nido Vido.
Your feelings will not kill you. And letting yourself experience them, and practice healthier ways to process and cope with difficult emotions, will only enhance your recovery-and your life.
Jennifer Rollin, MSW, LCSW-C: is an eating disorder therapist in private practice in Rockville, Maryland. Jennifer specializes in helping teens and adults struggling with anorexia, binge eating disorder, and bulimia, and body image issues. Jennifer provides eating disorder therapy in Rockville, MD, easily accessible to individuals in Potomac, North Potomac, Bethesda, Olney, Germantown, and Washington D.C. Connect with Jennifer through her website: www.jenniferrollin.com
Check out Jennifer's new training "Finding Freedom from Binge Eating!"
Check out the gifts of emotions by Pia Mellody below.
I'm an eating disorder therapist in private practice in Rockville, MD.