In the recovery process I came across the term “alexithymia,” aka the inability to identify and describe emotions in the self. Many with eating disorders can have a bit of alexithymia, which makes it hard to put words to feelings.
So for me, instead of being rationale and able to process through how I was feeling….I would just know there’s an icky feeling inside of me that feels bad. Maybe the icky feeling came from the discomfort of being in a body x size or the discomfort of a social situation. Since I couldn’t put those feelings into words, other than my brain screaming EWW EWW EWW THIS FEELS AWFUL MAKE IT STOP…I couldn’t sit with that feeling and would go to my ED behaviors for comfort because I knew that’d make me feel better in the short-term.
Taking the time to care for your emotional health with a journal, therapist and loved ones by beginning to connect words to your feelings can be a slow, challenging process…but it’s not as difficult as continuing to live with the misery of an eating disorder.
Now I know there are healthier ways to express my pain and emotions than having an eating disorder. I now know I can do hard things. I know I can tolerate discomfort. I can let people know if I’m in pain without harming myself with an eating disorder.