Metaphor & Visualization for Understanding ED

“There is a good reason, maybe many good reasons, why you have issues around food. Honour and respect your eating disorder as a way you have devised, early in life, for taking care of yourself. You didn’t know any other way at the time.” – Anonymous

Part of recovery is getting your toes wet and learning to be comfortable with asking yourself some really difficult questions. One in particular is asking yourself to imagine where and when your eating disorder all began.

Ask these questions with compassion and curiosity because eating disorders originate from strength – not weakness.

Metaphor & Visualization 

After a few moments of focusing on your breath…

“Remember what your life was like when the eating disorder began…

Imagine that your life at the time was a fast moving river… and you are in the middle of this river when suddenly the current gets faster and you feel it becoming more and more dangerous or just outside of your control. Imagine the river was your life then…

What factors were making it a scarier place to be?…

Comments about your weight?

Family conflict? A death in the family?

Uncertainty and change?

Your own increased anxieties or depression?

The messages you were being subjected to from the media and from the people around you? Imagine that you are in the middle of this river… far from shore… You felt like you were drowning… perhaps fearing for your life. You were desperately trying to keep your head above the water when you saw a log and grabbed  on to it for dear life.

You cling tightly  to it as it keeps you afloat and moves you to a calmer place in the river.

You feel some relief.

You can see the safety of the shore and want to be there but the heaviness of the log that has kept you afloat also keeps you stuck  in the river.

Now imagine that the raging river represents life and all its challenging emotional currents and the eating disorder is the log. The eating disorder is what many of you have grabbed on to in order to survive and stay afloat through your life’s challenges. You see the shore and want to get there. Some of you may have to tried to let go only to to find the journey to the shore too difficult to make and you returned to the safety of the log.

It is important to acknowledge that there is a part of us that will not let us let go of anything until we are ready.

This process of becoming ready involves developing skills and self- confidence to help us make it safely to shore.

Now imagine what it is like on your shore.” –  Anonymous


A friend from treatment sent me a link that is far too powerful not to share:

Where I Stand is a recovery blog where people can write their own stories of struggle and recovery.

Thank you for sending the link to me.

(And notice almost every quote is anonymous…)

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