"I'm just coping in my own way" This Emotional Life - PBS

Eating disorders / Blog

 Mary Bellofatto MA LMHC

Mary Bellofatto MA LMHC's Bio

Mary Bellofatto is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist.

"I'm just coping in my own way"


My chosen profession as a psychotherapist allows me to take many interesting journeys with my clients. The emotional highs of their successes and the depths of despair are   interspersed with a roller coaster of emotions.  This complex journey with an eating disorder client is like none other.  The goals of finding meaning in the chaos, getting their needs met, learning to deal with stress, connecting to self and others in a meaningful way are difficult, but thrilling when achieved.  I invite you on this journey as we discover some of the innermost thoughts, emotions and perceived reality of a collage of all eating disordered clients I have ever had the privilege to share in their emotional journey.

Blog # 1

I know I’m really 21 chronologically, but inside, deep inside it feels very small, very vulnerable, very anxious and very fearful and somehow very old.  My family and my few friends are always talking, talking, about what I should do, eat more, exercise less, get out more, be less compulsive about my studies, about life, but I have found if I go to that small place I can shut them ALL OUT.  The first time I found this place it was a shock, I had found a way to save some sanity.  SHUT DOWN ALL VOICES, including my own. 
It feels strange watching everyone around me trying to fix a problem to me that doesn’t need to be fixed, because it does not exist. 

That empty place, that emotional hole can be filled with food. I found this secret formula quite by accident one day when I was feeling anxious, lonely, and disappointed because of a comment my best friend made about my body and when I came home I found that a big bowl of ice cream made it all go away. What a solution, my friend, my comfort, my solace and it was all found in a bowl.  My need for solace grew until I was overwhelmed with feeling full, and then I discovered the emotional solace of the purge to bring me back to balance.  What an incredible journey of emotional solutions. There’s one pay off for this incredible solution, a new body.  My friends are jealous of my new body, so I’ve shut them out, besides how many of them can fit into a size one.  The family continues its daily controlling routine, monitoring my food, trying to monitor my thoughts, but no such luck.  Every day I hear we’re concerned about you; you look tired you must eat, you must get more rest, you must stop all this exercise, and you must get help.

They’re insisting I have an eating disorder that I’m depressed, and I must see someone who specializes in eating disorders.  Can anybody hear me, can anybody see me, and can anybody approve of me.  I don’t have an eating disorder I’m just coping in my own way, what’s the big deal………………….? 

Finding the Real Me:  The encounter with the therapist:  Next Blog