Thursday, March 26, 2009

EDs and salvation

This morning, as I was just leaving for work, I happened to notice one of my amazon shipments arrived. I ordered 9 or 10 books which will be trickling in all throughout the week. Some were eating disorder-related books, including Harriet Brown's, Feed Me! one lengthy running book--over 900 pages, looking at ALL aspects of running, a Korean survival book for the future, and a few Suze Orman books. I've been a fan of her for a few years but hadn't read one of her books yet.

The first book that arrived was Kathryn Zerbe's Integrated Treatment of Eating Disorders: Beyond the Body Betrayed. I read her previous book The Body Betrayed a number of years ago and felt that was a good comprehensive book on eating disorders, so I was interested in what this book had to offer as well.

This book is geared more towards the practitioner/therapist, but I think it is likely useful for the client, especially in giving a perspective of what therapists may feel like/struggle with in treating the eating disorder population. The book is broken down into three sections: phases of treatment, treatment through life cycles, and special issues such as sexuality, transference, counter transference, and assessing outcomes and resiliency. I'm quite curious about the last section as those issues aren't necessarily talked about much in eating disorder books. In just a skim of the book, like her previous book, she devotes sections to biology too.

I'm only on the first chapter, but this quote struck me. I believe the quote was also used in her other book where she went more into detail. The context of the quote is in talking about how therapists have a difficult time in retrieving information from eating disorder persons due to the aspect of "identity" as the ED which the client encompasses.

H.N. Boris, a psychoanalyst said, "What we call their symptoms, they call their salvation."

In certain ways, I agree with this. For a long time, the ED was like a "salvation" to me, a way of survival. It was the tool I knew how to use. Later, as I developed other tools, the ED was no longer completely like a "salvation" but something else. I never quite figured out what the purpose was after my die-hard years of ED Hell, but there must have been one. Otherwise, I would have recovered a long time ago.

What are your thoughts? Are ED symptoms like salvation?


Kim said...

Very interesting. I've always thought of my ED as salvation. Yes, I want it out of my life NOW, but when it started, I needed it. Too bad you can't pick up an ED for a brief stint, then be done (well, I couldn't). Once I had it in my life, I was stuck. But, anyway, it did "help" me through a very difficult time. All the planning and counting and obsessing was distraction from much bigger issues. I've never really related to people who say, "F*&# my eating disorder." My attitude is more like, "Ok, thank you for giving me an illusion of ok-ness for the time I needed it, but I don't need you anymore." Maybe that's weird, but it's the mentality that seems to work for me.

Kristina said...

I don't know if I saw it as my salvation, but definitely as a security blanket. As you say, now that I have more tools, I need it less and less and I focus on other aspects of my life and myself.

Gaining Back My Life said...

This sounds like a really interesting read.

I think ed's can be compare to salvation; but in a twisted sense. Whereas true salvation redeems, ed's offer a warped sense of protection from the elements, as Kristina mentioned with her secutity blanket.

I may have to check this one out!

Lissy said...

in oprah's magazine, she writes a column called, "what i know for sure". in my miserable little world, all i knew for sure was that i had to be thin, i had to eat as little as possible, i had to carefully watch every morsel.

bulimia kept me busy in a very different way. but i knew for sure that food needed to be out of me.

that's all i knew for many, many years. salvation? could be

Tiptoe said...

I agree with all of you. It can be looked at in so many ways and is all personalized to us. In the end, EDs have provided us with something, both good and bad.

Anonymous said...

We are so glad to hear that you enjoyed her book. The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt recently interviewed Dr. Kathryn Zerbe on our eating disorder blog. We were able to ask Dr. Zerbe questions such as “Why is it important to consider the patient’s stage of life when treating an eating disorder?” In addition to her interview on our blog, Dr. Zerbe will be a featured speaker at our professional symposium that we are hosting on April 18th 2009. To find out more about Dr. Zerbe or our symposium you can visit: