Why is this happening to me?
Unfortunately, there isn't a simple answer to this. For some, it's obvious: disordered eating behaviors correlate with a traumatic event or long term family issues. Others are unsure why they have eating disorders; their lives have been good and the people in their lives love them. Social pressures and media often exacerbate low self-esteem and negative body image.
The onset of mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety, make some people feel out of control. For many, vigilantly attending to food or weight becomes a comfort.
Regardless, people with eating disorders all have one thing in common - they have experienced a level of intense emotion and did not know what to do with it. Learning to express emotions appropriately can reduce eating disordered behavior. Identifying the needs the eating disorder is meeting (i.e., control, attention, comfort, self-punishment) and finding alternative ways to meet these needs can also decrease symptoms.
I DON'T THINK IT'S ALL THAT DEEP. I JUST CAN'T SEEM TO GET SKINNY ENOUGH THAT I'M HAPPY.
If eating disorders were really about food and weight, you would be able to stop on your own. You wouldn't have fallen into the traps of binge eating, purging, over-exercising and/or restricting. Any unhealthy attempt to lose weight indicates a problem with self care. Exploring why you choose not to take care of yourself, or lack the motivation to treat yourself well can be helpful. Obsessing over weight, food, exercise, or appearance can impede your social life, academic or work performance, and quality of life.
IF I RECOVER, WILL I GET FAT?
Recovering from an eating disorder requires you to take care of your body. That means maintaining the weight that's healthiest for you by listening to your body's cues and exercising in ways that feel good to you. I have never worked with someone who took good care of her/his body and became unhealthy.
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT RECOVERING FROM AN EATING DISORDER?
While you are working on recovery, all of the same external pressures will still be there. You will continue to see people you compare yourself to. Meals will still need to be eaten. People in your life who commented on your appearance before may continue to do so. Your disordered eating has served a purpose and now you will attempt to face these challenges with healthier coping skills.
Recovering from any problem is rarely as fluid and easy as we would hope. There are usually "slips" where a person reverts to old behaviors. Instead of seeing these as failure or "relapse", it is helpful to view them as part of the process of healing. No one is perfect and trying to be has made you sick. I will help you navigate this with an eye on progress, not perfection.