A Letter to Leah

Dear Leah (Her name has been changed),

I enjoyed our conversation the other day. You said it would be helpful if you had a review of our conversation, so I looked through my notes…  Perhaps seeing this will be helpful.

You said,  some of the major ways that Eating Problem affects your life are:

  • Makes you gain and loose large amounts of weight.
  • Gets you to eat anything (frozen, food you don’t really like, when your not hungry, etc.)
  • Distracts you from your tasks.
  • Makes you spend more money than you need on food.
  • Keeps you from doing all your housework.
  • Makes you live a “double life”.

Eating Problem tells you and wants you to believe that:

  • That you’ll never get out of this.
  • It likes to scare you.
  • It states with surety that eating issues are so easy to deal with and since you haven’t beaten it you are incompetent.
  • It wants you to believe that it is stronger than you are.
  • It wants you to feel out of control of you life.
  • It wants you to feel ashamed of yourself about eating and in other areas of life.
  • It wants you to be lonely, less social.

Your courage and ability to discuss such a difficult subject for you is inspiring – that even while thinking about your eating problems often caused you to tremble you insisted on continuing. As I mentioned, we will explore the history of that courage, what you called, “…that I want to do what needs to be done…to get out of this…” Notwithstanding, any time during our conversations you feel unsafe there is nothing wrong with slowing down the pace or changing the direction of our conversation – you don’t need to feel emotionally unsafe to do good work.

You pointed out (and laughed) during the session when I asked you about the resources you have developed to fight against Eating Problem and other values and strengths you have outside this issue – as you said you liked that, “ your seeing me as a whole person”.  The reason I asked about those other values and resources is because when we have an influential problem like Eating Problem, depression or other problems they (the problems) tend to try to take over other aspects of our life that they have no business with. As we discussed, who we are and what is meaningful in our lives is far deeper than the one problem story. It is just that the problem and what it wants to convince us about who we are wants to dominate our thinking and emotional lives. So by actually appreciating and learning how to utilize who we are (our abilities, beliefs, skills, resources…) we are better able to fight the problem and enjoy other areas and times of our life. Don’t worry if this doesn’t make total sense – my explanation is not 100% clear – it’ll be easier in the doing than in the explaining.

See you Monday.

David Kaufman


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