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Dr. Kim Lampson
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Sometimes, I sit and wonder why some people recover and others do not. As a psychologist, I talk to a wide variety of people, all day, almost every day. We don't talk about the weather, except when making small talk at the beginning of a session. We talk about pain and struggles, the moments of despair and the crosses people courageously shoulder.We also talk about the victories never thought possible, the days free of behavior and obsession, and the turning points that were life changing. Some people recoil from their pain as if it were a hot stove. Does the... Continue reading
Why is accepting "no" so hard for people with eating disorders? Why do we insist on pushing ahead even when cicrumstances or people in our lives are screaming "no"? Many times we insist on doing what we want despite all indicators that say stop. This reminds me of the old joke in which a man who has died confronts God and asks, "Why didn't you rescue me when I was drowning? I prayed for you to help and you let me die!" God replies, "I sent you a rescue helicopter, a rescue boat, and floated a raft you could have... Continue reading
Mirror, Mirror, on the wall,who is the thinnest of them all? I used the story of Snow White as the introduction to a talk I gave last week about body image and self-esteem. The evil queen, as you may remember, was obsessed with her appearance. It was definitely a problem, so much so, that she became murderous. Most people do not try to kill other people when they are unhappy with their appearance, but they may do things that risk their own health or life. I like the following quotation because it points to the root of the body image... Continue reading
If you have an eating disorder, you have experienced suffering. From the moment your behavior stopped being just a diet or a way to lose weight or a binge on comfort food and crossed the line to becoming a way of coping with life, you began to suffer. Having an eating disorder is not fun. It is not desirable. People who say they would like to have an eating disorder for just a little while, really don't understand what it is like. It is not a great way to lose weight. Oh, you might start out feeling okay. The initial... Continue reading
Just like every person has a unique personality that is different from that of anyone else in the world, I believe that every person's journey of recovery is unique. If this is true, you need to ask yourself, "who will design my recovery?". Will it be your parents, your spouse, a treatment program, a therapist, or you? The answer to this question can be a crossroads, a turning point, or both. Let me explain. When I was an undergraduate, I decided that I wanted a major that was not offered at my university. I could leave the school in search... Continue reading
My father used to love to recite the following verse in a fake English accent, "It ain't the 'eavy 'aulin' that 'urt the 'orses 'ooves. It's the 'ammer, 'ammer, 'ammer on the 'ard 'ighway." Believe it or not, there is an application to eating disorder recovery. Perhaps one could say, "It ain't the gaining weight that causes all the stress, it is the feelings of anxiety one feels on the way to the higher weight." Many people in recovery will say, "If I could wake up tomorrow and have gained all the weight, I would be fine. It is the... Continue reading
Fairy tales typically do not end with death. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast have living happily ever after as the end of the story. There are exceptions. Hans Christian Anderson did not always follow the unwritten injunction to have a happy ending. When I first read the story of the Little Match Girl, I was actually shocked. She died. There was no happily ever after. Have you seen a Disney movie about the little match girl? I do not think there will ever be one. So, we grow up expecting to live happily ever... Continue reading
My mom died 2 years ago this June. I understand how hard it is to lose your mother. You will get through this Stacey. Wendy, sounds like you identify as well. You can learn to get thru these feelings without eating disorder behaviors. Mothers Day was hard. Lots of feelings. I miss her. Dr. Kim To:
Mary Jo I like the concept you introduced of sitting with the discomfort. Feeling the feelings. It would be great to hear how that helped you to move to full recovery. There are many people writing in who would benefit from your insights as they are feeling discouraged. Thank you for sharing. Dr. Kim To:
MM Your description of how you use inpatient treatment as a band-aid was very vivid and perceptive. It seems like the band-aid covers the wounds and protects them (just like real band-aids can), but it is the kind of wound that doesnt heal this way. It also seems that no one has been able to find the salve that promotes healing, at least not yet. I hope your detemination to live and not give up will be rewarded with recovery. I have seen people recover after 40 years of an eating disorder. Do you believe it is possible? There is a reason why you are where you are, but there are also reasons to recover that you may have to find for yourself - it has to be yours. Dr. Kim To:
Wendy - adding to what you wrote to Anne. I have found that I learn something of value from every professional that I have consulted with throughout my lifetime, eating disorder related or not. Each person has a slightly different perspective and gift to offer. No one person has all the wisdom we need to recover. Dr. Kim To:
Madeline Sometimes it is very hard to come out of a detour. Friends can help. Feeling the feelings and talking about them with people who care about you helps too. Never give up. The eating disorder is there, but it does not solve anything, only puts life on hold. You can get over this! To:
Wendy That makes so much sense. I like what you said at the end about looking different but still getting you there in the end. Grief is hard. There are so many feelings and no short cuts. Thanks for you comment. To:
Many people talk about how the journey of recovery from any difficult problem is characterized by a zig-zag pattern in which you take three steps forward, then two steps back, but remain on a rather linear course. I think most of us expect that in eating disorder recovery. Sometimes, however, there is something unexpected that happens over which we have no control,namely, an emotional detour. The detour occurs when something blocks your path. It is not about forward or backward motion; it is often curved, off track, or unpredictable. Have you ever been driving in the car in a hurry... Continue reading
Medical Band-Aids are used to protect a person's wound from further injury and/or infection. Eating disorder band-aids are a little different. People in recovery often use them to protect family members or treatment providers from frustration or emotional pain. When pressured by a parent, friend, spouse, therapist, nutritionist, or doctor to change behavior, you may feel like you have to prove that you are intent on recovery by doing something (whether you are ready or not). You may be tempted to put on a band-aid to please or relieve the anxiety of the other person, either sacrificing your own wants... Continue reading
Cheryl Thank you for writing about what you have experienced in this place. My hope for you is that you are now at a crossroads or you would not be writing this comment. There is always a reason why someone stays in the twilight zone and it is hard to move on until you figure out what this is.Sometimes writing something like this down and sharing it helps you take the next step. To:
Patty I am very moved by what your wrote about the crossroads you are facing and what it feels like to be in the twilight zone. I wonder if your comment about trying and feeling discouraged by failing may hold the key to the way to move out of this place. Your comment about hope, that you curse if for without it you would not be facing this crossroads is very thought provoking. I would like you to let me know how you do as you move to a new level in your recovery. To:
Thank you KL for writing about the crossroads you are facing. I am really impressed by how aware you are of your struggle and that you have a difficult choice to make. One of my professors defined the counseling relationship as the only relationship in which two people focus on helping one person make her or his life better. If you find a therapist with whom you can connect, it can really help you recover faster. A well run support group can be a great help as well. It takes a lot of courage to ask for help for the first time, but it is worth doing. To:
Some of the most challenging crossroads and turning points are found in the twilight zone of recovery. What in the world is "the twilight zone of recovery?", you may be asking while wondering, have I ever experienced this place? The twilight zone of recovery is not a psychological term like "denial" or "resistance" or "motivation". It is that nebulous place where there has been behavior change, but not enough for you to be considered recovered. You know you are different, but do not know where you are, how you got there, or where to go next. You feel afraid to... Continue reading
Wendy Thank you for your comment. It seems that a loss of strength and a desire to be strong enough to do normal things or things you love is a powerful motivation to recover for many people. You sound like courageous person. Dr. Kim To:
A crossroads is a place where two or more roads meet . A turning point is defined as a very significant change or decisive moment. If your were to map your eating disorder journey, you would find it peppered with crossroads and turning points. Read on to find out why these forks in the road and opportunities to change direction are so important. I have been recovered from anorexia nervosa for over 25 years. I have been a psychologist treating people with eating disorders for over 20 years and have worked with over 500 people with eating disorders during this... Continue reading
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Posted Jan 20, 2010 at Dr. Kim Lampson's blog
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Jan 19, 2010