Book Review By Someone Who Knows, By Elizabeth Garstin

Before reading Ulrike Schmidt, Janet Treasure and June Alexander’s book, Getting Better Bite by Bite "A survival kit for sufferers of Bulimia Nervosa and binge eating disorders" I had doubts that this book could genuinely help me. A book itself can merely guide you through a story that it tells. How could this book possible know my story?
I have longed for support and guidance for three out of the four years I have been suffering with Bulimia and binge eating disorder with anxiety. Truth be told, you have to completely fall apart and be hospitalized to receive the level of support you need to recover. Or, if you are lucky enough to have money, then you can buy outpatient support. Without this though, one can feel as though no one cares, which can make you even more isolated. Also, not to mention that inpatient treatment can make people worse off in my opinion.
My eating disorder has ruined my life for the past four years. It has taken everything away from me and forced me to hide away from the world and my destiny. I have moved about countless times and ended up in a Hostel. Even then, it took over a year to receive my long overdue treatment from the NHS.
The harsh truth is that you are on your own and it is up to you to fight. However this does not deny how much support will help you stay positive and fight even harder. This is where Sweet Cavanagh played a part in my recovery (there is help out there if you look hard enough). I have been piecing my life back together on my own for the last year by taking on volunteering responsibilities, committing to Sweet Cavanagh weekly support groups and attending ABA meetings. I have to say that I found Sweet Cavanagh at just the right time and they were crucial in guiding and encouraging me to get the support I need.
Change for the better 'Self help through practical psychotherapy' (Elizabeth Wilde McCormick) is a good book that came recommended by Vincent Square eating Disorder Services. In particularly, I like one of the techniques for working through change:
'There is no situation to which the creative use of your imagination cannot be applied usefully and safely'.
Imagination is not taken seriously enough in the world of medicine. I find this ironic because I could easily argue that imagination is the sole reason for an eating disorder in the first place. One becomes too consumed in their harsh reality and needs an escape, which is where the eating disorder kicks in. Your imagination uses the eating disorder as a distraction from what it does not want to face. You can blame the eating disorder and use it to express physical symptoms of a mental illness you are experiencing. The eating disorder allows your imagination to suppress the truth. Therefore, ultimately the eating disorder is your imagination.
I find imagination one of the most powerful tools in my recovery. Where there are negative thoughts, I imagine positive thoughts. This is very simple to say, however, practice is another story. All I can say is I am learning not to be negative about being negative. When a thought comes along that wants to attack me, I have to add a good thought to it and eventually replace the negative thought with a positive thought. It is working for me.
I imagine a better future where I am over my eating disorder and I am positive about this (although sometimes negative but nothing is perfect).
I am in recovery. I am very pleased to say this. I have responded well to Sweet Cavanagh's support and challenges and I am happy with my NHS therapist. Even though I do not talk at ABA meetings I listen to other people with eating disorders and this lets me know that I am not alone.
For the last four years I have told myself that I will be over this hell hole in a month, over and over and over again in great torment. This has been one of the biggest triggers in contrast with my excessive food restrictions. I have slowly learnt to take the pressure off and enjoy my food more. What will be will be in due course, you tell the time!
Thank you to all for your support.
Elizabeth Garstin
PS: If you are suffering from an eating disorder, keep trying, just keep moving and keep trying!


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