Eating Disorder Recovery

I recently had a lady that I had worked with many years ago contact me. My initial thought was that she was looking to re-engage with me for therapy. How delighted I was to hear that she actually called to tell me how well she was doing. When I met this woman she was in her late 20s and had been suffering from Anorexia Nervosa with extreme OCD traits for about 15 years.

She began the conversation by “Im not sure if you remember me I was the bane of your life for a few months several years ago”. I knew the name immediately and disagreed with the bane of my life comment. In all honesty though this woman probably was one of the most resistant clients I had ever worked with, and her insight and motivation for change was so limited at the time. I felt so much joy to hear that she was in a recovery now for the last five years, and that she had two beautiful children and a third on the way. She was happily married and was in a professional career. She wanted to touch base to thank me for my help when we worked together.

I was so touched for the call and absolutely delighted for her that she had never given up and that she beat her eating disorder and took back her life. It really left me feeling

“Recovery is possible no matter how long you have been ill, or indeed how severe your symptoms are, however a helping hand can be an important step on the journey”.

The Case of the Burnt Pudding

In the fall of 1892 Freud had a patient known as Lucy R. She presented at her own medical physician with symptoms of chronic rhinitis and olfactory hallucinations of burnt pudding. She was referred to Freud for Psychoanalysis. This woman worked as a governess for a widowed man cooking and caring for his children. One day the father who was a violent and abusive man gave out to the governess for a minor matter involving the children. This experience in combination with the olfactory smell of burnt pudding led the woman to fall into a state of hysteria as it was known as at the time.

Through her analysis Freud discovered that as a child this woman was sexually abused by her father and on one of these traumatic occasions there was a pudding burning in the kitchen. In modern day life what this woman experienced is known as dissociation which was triggered by the smell of the pudding and the abusive male opposite her. Lucy was thrown back into the abuse at that moment which caused a hysteric reaction.
To understand more about what happens when abusive memories are recovered please consider attending our conference by Dr Michael Paterson on “Working with Trauma & Dissociation in survivors of sexual abuse” on feb 28th 2014. Fee €125. CPD points available for the day.