DESPITE THEIR MISERY AND LIFELESS EXISTENCE, MOST PEOPLE WHO SUFFER INSIDE AN EATING DISORDER, DO SO IN FEAR THAT IF THEY LET IT GO—THEY WILL DIE.
"I believe eating disorders might actually stem from ancient mechanisms of survival, hardwired into all human DNA."– Robin Phipps Woodall
When the safety of being loved and accepted requires fat loss and food restriction, our most vital psychological and physical needs to survive are threatened. The need for human connection is put at war with the need for food—awakening ancient life and death mechanisms that conflict with each other.
These feelings are disorienting and hard to understand, largely because what is necessary to survive causes the sensation of threat too. Most people describe feeling held hostage by fear, shame, darkness, desperation, isolation, paralysis, panic, chronic anxiety, paranoia, and constant impending death. And the only way to relieve these symptoms is to either binge eat or deprive. But both relieving solutions eventually trigger feelings of death, swapping the need for food with the need to starve (and visa versa).
The pendulum swing between death to life, and life to death, hijacks the brain and freezes it in a constant state of obsessive compulsive survival paralysis. This is VERY difficult to escape.
The war between human connection and food creates a psychological phenomenon, similar to a battered wife syndrome, where the individual's mind is held hostage by their eating disorder in order to survive, both death by rejection and death by starvation. All for illusion that being thin will give them access to belonging and love.
Where does it start?
The threat starts with a culture wide narcissistic system of thin-supremacy. People who believe being thin makes them superior ultimately create the stigma that people who have more body fat are inferior. The captivity between fear of inferiority and the need to diet creates a psychological phenomenon I describe as Body-Image Syndrome.