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Empower Through the Chaos

The world of Eating Disorders is an intriguing world of control and chaos. While that may sound absurd and for those of you who are DBT (Dialectic Behavior Therapy) fans, quite dialectic, it is true.

The chaos may not be one’s current life situation. More often than not, chaos is a significant part of one’s past. From my experiences working with those who struggle with Eating Disorders, I know that the disorder may have often times felt like the most stable influence in the individual’s life. The disorder was the comfort, the sense of control and stability that the individual “needed” while growing up in what often felt as chaos.

What is chaos? Chaos can be a myriad of things. Chaos is divorce that requires the child to “pick” one parent over the other. Chaos is loss. Chaos is trauma. Chaos is parents who project their own issues onto their children. Chaos may be significant people with whom they have unstable relationships with. Unstable relationships can feel like walking on eggshells, or a struggle to meet strict and certain requirements. If these requirements are not met, the individual may feel their basic need for human love is at stake.

With the sense of “control” that an eating disorder provides, also comes the inevitable feeling that control is a mere illusion. Once they have realized the illusion, the feeling of powerlessness returns once again. They have succumbed to a monster who has affected every part of their being. A monster who dictates who they are and how they must be to keep from feeling unlovable. These are sad truths, but they don’t have to be the entire biography.

In treating an Eating Disorder, we must treat the entire person. To treat an individual with an eating disorder is to rebuild a skyscraper from the ground up. Eating Disorders are co-occurring disorders. We are not only re-feeding someone. We are creating a new relationship with food for that individual. We are demonstrating what a healthy relationship looks like. We provide space for the individual to identify their own strengths and learn how to love themselves without strings attached. We restore their connection with emotions and thoughts. We encourage, change, and empower them with the possibilities of the unknown. The growth process is long but it is also beautiful. It is a privilege that I do not take lightly because there is so much left to learn. I only hope to remain a constant for someone who may feel as though there is no such thing.

Author: Kaitlyn Anderson


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