A Lack of Control Can Activate My Eating Disorder Habits

January 5, 2022 Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

Confession: I have felt internally out of control during the past month, and as I have come to learn about myself, this perceived lack of control can activate my eating disorder habits. To be fully transparent here, I'm not sure what to do about this recurring behavioral pattern in my life, but for right now, I just need space to acknowledge it. I will undoubtedly examine it through a curious, in-depth lens with my therapist in this week's counseling session. However, at the moment, I have to be truthful about the reality that this lack of control I feel is threatening to activate my eating disorder habits.

Why I Feel Out of Control and How This Can Activate My Eating Disorder

I am a person who thrives on structure, organization, routine, and alone time in order to refuel my energy tank. Without these essentials, I feel a sense of depletion and anxiety; and lack of control begins to encroach on my mental health. As those feelings continue to exacerbate, the lack of control can activate my eating disorder habits—no matter how long I have been in recovery. Allow me to illustrate with an example from this holiday season:

For the last couple weeks, two of my friends, who live in Miami, have been visiting me and my husband at our new home in Phoenix. I love these particular friends of mine immensely, and I have a blast with them, but two weeks of us all crammed into a 650-square-feet apartment can wear on my nerves after awhile. As such, it has been difficult to carve out alone time for myself to retreat and rejuvenate in this confined amount of space. Not to mention, it's basically a lost cause to maintain a clean, organized environment with four humans cohabitating in a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment.

This is no one's fault, of course, but as someone who craves being in control of my own personal surroundings, it can seem chaotic nonetheless. Since I do not want to make my friends feel unwelcome, I have contained this internal anxiety beneath the surface, but the continual effort to repress all that nervous energy takes a mental and emotional toll. I know it's not healthy to become overwhelmed at the slightest disruption to my normal routine and environment, but this is the current state I find myself in. And life experience tells me that when I sense a lack of control, it can activate my eating disorder habits. 

Where to Go from Here in Order to Maintain Eating Disorder Recovery

My honest answer of how to solve this dilemma is that I do not exactly know the solution. I am self-aware enough to realize that my need for control has been harmful to both my relationships and my personal wellbeing over the course of my entire life. When I feel out of control, I succumb to behaviors that impact me and those I care about in negative ways, and I do not want this toxic pattern to follow me into another new year.

I believe the first step in any transformation process is to acknowledge what no longer forwards the person I strive to be or the life I desire to create, so I am doing this now. I confess that a lack of control can activate my eating disorder habits, and I commit to work on dismantling that cycle in 2022. After all, nothing is more sacred to me than eating disorder recovery.

APA Reference
Schurrer, M. (2022, January 5). A Lack of Control Can Activate My Eating Disorder Habits, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

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