Trauma or emotional issues are typically the underlying cause of eating disorders. This may be something that happened when you were younger and you may not even remember. So instead of resolving the issue when it occurred, you have pushed it down and developed an eating disorder.
I struggled for 18 years with eating disorders and only in the latter years did I find out that I didn’t have real problems with food, instead I had real problems with my emotions and trauma that happened to me as a child.
The other day I encountered a suppressed traumatic incident that happened when I was 12. I rarely think about this, but the stimuli presented itself to me and I got a stomach ache. This was really strange because the stimulus was a box of six week old black and white puppies. I was holding them and smiling, but something deep down felt horribly wrong.
It took me a few days of feeling poorly both physically and mentally before it finally hit me. As a lifelong animal lover I had begged my parents to get me a puppy as a child, even though my mom was afraid of dogs. I went to a farm and picked out a tiny six week old black and white puppy (JUST like the ones in the box). I had the dog for a few months and it brought me joy in an otherwise unstable and unhappy childhood. And then one day with no warning whatsoever my dog was gone. My mom took it to the pound because she was sick of it.
This is one of the worst things that ever happened to me in my entire life. And I was 12. It is hard to imagine how I felt at that time or why someone would do that to a child and an animal. But it is more frightening to realize I never thought about it until this incident. I cried for hours releasing the old pain of being a kid who had no control, trust or stability in her life. I cried because I let down my dog and I didn’t protect it from my mother.
I think it was time for me to remember and time for me to let that pain go. But it is a perfect example of the things that happened to us so long ago having so much impact. It is important to know that if you have an eating disorder your problem isn’t with the food. There is something else that happened and it is your job to work hard to find out what it is, so you too can recover. And help is here when you are ready for it.