The Correlation Between Feelings and Eating Disorder Behaviors

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By: Jessica Koller

What I have learned throughout my struggles with my eating disorder, as well as my recovery is there is always a negative feeling that brings out a negative behavior. Before when I was very sick, I would not be able to handle certain feelings or emotions that seemed to be so strong at the time. Therefore, my eating disorder took over. My eating disorder was very powerful, always reassured me that if I listened to his awful advice, everything I was feeling would go away. It was that simple, when I was either stressed, feeling anxious, anger, sadness, or guilt, my eating disorder took the wheel over. My behaviors were very serious but at the time for years even, I had no idea the correlation between my feelings and behaviors. I just thought I didn’t deserve happiness and therefor I would always be stuck in this never-ending cycle. However, through learning this and correlation during recovery, I now take a moment when I am feeling any negative thoughts or feelings, and really process why I am feeling or thinking this way. It is not expected to feel 100% all of the time. The thing that is consistent is checking in with friends and family when I am struggling and realizing that if I listen to my eating disorder for any reason, I will end up in a much worse state and situation than whatever I was originally feeling. If using an eating disorder behavior was how I were to handle every bad situation in my life today, I would not be here. eating disorders are manipulative and mean. They take you away from friends and family, and make you lose interest in anything you once cared about. All that matters to you now is food, calories, and that number on the scale going down. It will drain you emotionally, mentally, and physically. It will take away any happiness you once had and will NOT make you feel any better from what you are feeling or going through at the time. This is a serious mental illness.

So please, if you are having a bad day in recovery, or struggling to get through day to day with your illness, seek help. Seek out to friends and family who care about your health and well being more than you will ever realize. Search nearby therapists who specialize in this illness or treatment centers that can ultimately save your life. As my time went on through the years in my recovery journey, I have seen a complete change in how I handle situations. The eating disorder can voice his opinion here or there; however, I do not listen anymore to the bullshit he is telling me. Nothing the eating disorder ever says is true, and he will only dig you deeper into your illness. You are strong and have the power to decide how to tell the eating disorder to fuck off and ignore the behaviors he wants you to do. It is not your job to ever be perfect, and not slip up. It is your job how you learn to cope through rough times that will make you feel prouder than ever before. So reach out to someone you have trust in and get your feelings out rather than holding them in. The most important thing I have learned is you are never alone. There is always someone who cares about you and wants to help.

About the Author Jessica Koller resides in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Jess works as a daycare teacher for infants and young toddlers. At Project HEAL, Jess is working on monthly blogs for our site to help share with others her story in hopes of inspiring individuals who are currently struggling or in recovery as well.  Jess is passionate about helping others, animals, and playing sports. Her favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip and loves spending time with friends and family.