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Bulimia: What Triggers This? - Joanna Poppink

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Joanna Poppink discusses bulimia triggers.

Bulimia triggers. What I invite you to do is to look at the actual behavior of bulimia and then think of it as a metaphor.

The action of bulimia first anxiety then binge, gather everything you possibly can and binge usually in secret because it’s just horrendous how much you can binge on.

Bags and bags of cookies, ice cream, noodles of any kind, things that are soft and smooth so they go down easily and then when you are full and you can’t bear it anymore they come out usually and they don’t hurt.

An experienced bulimic knows how to do this and she is not going to hurt herself. Nobody binges on nuts. It hurts coming up and it’s scary coming up.

It’s got to be smooth and if it doesn’t work then you binge again until up again. Some women do it 10-12 times a day, can’t get out of the house because they have to do it one more time.

Triggers. What would trigger this? What’s going on in your life that you have to take something in, you don’t like it.

You have to take it in – words, ideas, feelings, any kind of relationships where it’s just too much and you have to take it in and then you purge it out.

Anything that reminds you of some of those things will be a trigger. Maybe it’s a person in your life that is just too much to bear, and then you meet another person who is quite different but moves his eyebrow in the same way or has a little gesture that reminds you what you can’t stand.

And all those feelings will come up and you will be lost, again, because you don’t know how to take care of yourself.

The only way you know how to take care of yourself is the acting out of the eating disorder so you’ll act out exactly what you are afraid of.

You will take in too much, feel overwhelmed then know that you have the answer. You can get rid of it all but now you are empty again and you have to fill up again.

People do this shopping. You fill up and then give everything away because you don’t wear it. It wasn’t to wear; it was just to fill up the closet.

You can do it at thrift shops and you can do it at Armani – doesn’t matter. Fill up, get rid of it.

The task, the challenge is to take just enough that actually serves the need that satisfies and then bear the feelings.

Don’t take too much from the person, from the store, from the refrigerator – not so easy but that’s the work that we do in the therapy.

About Joanna Poppink, M.F.T.:
Joanna Poppink, M.F.T., is a psychotherapist specializing in eating disorders. Joanna’s own recovery experience from bulimia contributes to her understanding in her work with others. Her specialized psychotherapy practice is designed to allow her adult women clients to progress through anxiety situations to ongoing recovery from bulimia, compulsive eating, anorexia and binge eating. Joanna’s primary goal is to provide her clients with a way to achieve thorough and long lasting healing and to live a satisfying life in freedom.

Visit Joanna at her website

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