Eating disorder interview questions teach me about what can be in the minds of people who don't have eating disorders and wonder about them.
This afternoon I did a practice interview in preparation for my video shoot tomorrow. It's designed to help get the word out about the release of my book, Healing Your Hungry Heart in August.
Naturally a question came up about my personal experience with bulimia and how I had my first binge and purge episode when I was thirteen years old. The intervier surprised me with her next question. She asked, Why did you continue to binge and throw up after that first time? It must have given you a lot of pleasure.
Pleasure? I was startled by the word, yet I understood that, for someone naive in the ways of living with an eating disorder, pleasure was a reasonable assumption.
When I first binged and threw up I didn't feel pleasure. I felt relief and joy that I had found a way to nevigate my life. I didn't have to feel overwhelmed by impossible demands. I could live up to the expectations of my parents, in public, and bury my growing anxieties under a mountain of food that I could vomit in secret.
- Pleasure? No. Relief that my desperation could get channeled into the binge/purge? Yes.
- Pleasure at the result? No. Relief when I was groggy and in a twilight state of consciousness following an episode? Yes.
Most of the time I speak with people who have or had an eating disorder or with colleagues who work with people who have or had an eating disorder. Many of my colleagues are in some form of recovery themselves.
Now, as my book takes me into new experiences I see that I will be speaking to people who don't know about eating disorders. Their lack of knowledge I can meet with information. Their natural assumptions, reasonable and inaccurate, are teachers for me. I need to learn how to address these assumptions and learn.
What about you?
- Is pleasure a word that applies to any aspect of your eating disorder episodes?
- Do you know the difference between pleasure and relief?
- What do you remember of the the first time you began your eating disorder?