What is an eating-disorder?
The first thing to recognise, for carers and sufferers alike, is that eating-disorders can affect anyone – there’s no stereotype. Whilst there may be gender and age bias towards anorexia sufferers being young women, it’s definitely not exclusively so; eating disorders affect young and old, male and female and across the full spectrum of culture and ethnicity.
Then it’s important to understand that eating disorders are all about food and nothing about food. Does this seem like yet another conundrum in an already deeply confusing world? Possibly but let me explain …
There’s no denying that the outward manifestation of eating disorders is an atypical relationship with food. Too little in the case of anorexia, binged and purged in the case of bulimia and just plain too much in the case of obesity. But that’s where our sufferers story with food ends and where the real causes – the underlying issues – begin.
Out of Control?
You may have recently come across the concept of mindfulness. As it happens mindfulness is nothing more than a re-working of a life philosophy that’s over two thousand years old and it’s all about control. Concerning ourselves only with those things that we can control and letting the ‘gods’ deal with the rest.
But what if it seems that you can control NOTHING in your life? What’s the one thing you can take command of? What you eat and – by extension how it affects your body.
The Start of the Journey
Of course this is something an over-simplification – it’s bound to be, humans are hugely complex. Our psychological make-up is forged over years of exposure to a multiplicity of influences. Our parents, our infant years, school, friends, what we read and watch and the culture we are brought up in are just some of the factors that influence who we are and how we view – how we cope – with the world. Small wonder that it sometimes seems over-whelming.
As a counsellor, my approach takes all these things into account and whatever work we do is, of course, completely confidential. You are an individual, no one-size-fits-all solution will ever be appropriate. Whilst we work out what’s right for you, what will help you let go of your burden and rejoin the world, I offer understanding, empathy and patience.