Healing Bulimia and Addictive Eating (Part 4) - Christine Kane

Click here to read Part 1. Click here to read Part 2. Click here to read Part 3.

Here’s the next batch of Healing Ideas. They’re specific. There’s a reason I’m grouping them together and introducing them as “specific.” More specific ideas point to more specific actions, which may sound like I’m prescribing advice. The challenge with writing a blog (or anything, for that matter) is that each reader is in her own place in the recovery process. As the writer, I don’t know where that place is for each person. So some of the following ideas may be all wrong for one person, but might be the exact thing another person needs. Depending on where the reader is in her healing process, some of these may be too uptight, too rigid, or too hard to do at this juncture. That’s fine. Just keep them in mind — because after you read them, you may find yourself coming face to face with that very thing. That’s called grace. Pay attention to it. It’s a big part of the healing process.

So, I will simply say that in no particular order, the following ideas worked for me when I was in the beginning stages of healing, and continue to be kind of a foundation. Only now, I don’t really have to think about them, except to say something like, “Oh, yea. I used to do that, didn’t I?” Or “Wow. That really made a difference to me at that time.” And now I just take it for granted that it’s necessary behavior.

Since these are continued from the last post, I’ll keep the numbers in order –

Idea #8: Journaling

I don’t know where I’d be without writing. Even if I weren’t a songwriter, even if I was a venture capitalist, I would have to write. Like I said in Part 2, women with eating disorders tend to be very expressive, creative and emotional. Journaling is a safe place to let it out. I actually recommend that you journal everyday. Even if (especially if) the writing feels like it sucks.

The reason for this is that you can’t keep suppressing your feelings, needs, and heart’s desires if you continue to write about them day after day. These things become un-suppressible after a while.

I recommend getting a plain old boring regular spiral notebook. Hardbound journals with flecks of petals and grass ground into the recycled paper pages can make you feel pressured to write something lovely and poetic. Lovely and poetic is not the goal. Putting pen to paper is.

Idea #9: The Truth About Cats and Dogs

As I write this, my cat Atticus is purring in my lap. When I wrote the title, he licked my hand. (He knows we’ve gotten to the good part.)

I wasn’t allowed to have pets when I was little. (Though I did have a chameleon named “Humphrey” whom I adored, and who lived quite a long time.) When I first moved to Asheville, I found a kitten, who became Camille. I’m convinced now that when I first set my intent to heal my eating disorder, the heavens lined everything up so that Camille would somehow find her way into my life. She was that important to me, even though her life ended only four years later.

Animals teach us to get out of ourselves, and out of our self-absorption. Animals are always in the present moment. Animals teach us being, and being cute. Dogs, especially, are great depression prevention because they require that we take them on walks and they get so excited to go outside that you get excited just because they are excited, and you can find your spirit lifting just a teensy bit. My dog makes me laugh out loud every time we’re in the car. That is a gift. I have grown stronger and happier with each animal I have had in my life. Anyone reading this who has ever had an addiction, and then gotten a dog or cat will vouch for the healing power contained within all that fur.

Idea #10: Girls Crafts Night

After I’d been in Asheville a few years, a group of us twenty-something women got together every Tuesday night and did crafts. Some women worked on knitting sweaters for Christmas presents. Some made greeting cards. Some sewed. We’d spread out across the living room of whoever was hosting, and we’d chat lightly while we worked on our craft. Sometimes the conversation got deep, and someone would cry softly while she crocheted. Sometimes it’d be loud and raucous with non-stop laughter.

Lots of times, I didn’t feel like going. I was grouchy, wanting to isolate, feeling sorry for myself, and not feeling like I was “there” yet. (“There” being a place of deserving anything joyful.) Always, when I went, I felt better. Like pets, people can pull you out of yourself, too. Go to meetings. Start a crafts night. Get a group together for whatever reason. (I recommend something other than supporting emotional issues. Let that be the side benefit. This is about fun and lightness.)

Idea #11: Magazines and Media

As I said in Part one, my healing from bulimia was a convergence of many paths. One of those paths was quitting magazines. When I stopped reading fashion magazines, I stopped being bulimic. Not the next day. But very soon. When I was strong enough to say, “Yea, not so much on Glamour for me this month,” (even just glancing at it in the grocery line) I stopped thinking I was supposed to be different. I was living very simply and cheaply, so I didn’t own a television, which made a huge difference as well.

Now, I don’t read many magazines mostly because I just don’t enjoy them. Occasionally I’ll flip through a fashion magazine. I don’t get as sucked in now, but I do feel that fast-paced-skinny-girl-with-things-you-should-have vibe. It used to hook me. Now, I just choose not to go there. (If you chose only ONE of these ideas to do, this would be it!)

Idea #12: Giving Up Diet Coke

I’ve written about this in my very first posts about bulimia. Go read them. Nutra-sweet is hideous for your brain. You don’t need hideousness in your brain. (Just so you know.  I actually lost about 10 pounds after I gave up Diet Coke and started drinking regular Coke.)

Idea #13: Flower Essences

I love flower essences. They fall under the category of “energy healing.” They’re not herbal. They’re more woo-woo than herbal. They’re more woo-woo than anything I’ve mentioned in this blog to date. And they have absolutely worked on my emotional stuff. I would swear to it. (Though, I can’t prove it in a double-blind study. Which is why they’re woo-woo.) If you’re at all curious, my favorite book is Bach Flower Therapy by Mechthild Scheffer. Another great book is Flower Essences: Reordering Our Understanding and Approach to Illness and Health. I learned how to test myself with kinesiology to determine which essences I needed with this book.

If you have any other specific ideas that have helped you in any kind of addiction recovery, please write them in the comments so that othere might benefit from your process.

  • Christine Kane

    cate — as for brands of flower essences, I do like the Bach essences. But Perelandra has great stuff too. (I think you can only order theirs from their site.) Bach essences are available at whole foods and other health stores.

    As for which rememdies…

    it would depend on you. (I use kineseology to determine what I need.)

    I highly recommend reading about them first. The books I recommend in this post are really great.

  • cate

    which flower essences would you recommend?

  • christine

    Hi Lauren, I’m glad to hear you “get” flower essences. They make so much sense to me. And yes, my pets have made huge leaps in health with them too!

    Thanks Patricia! I’m happy to “meet” you and now discover *your* blog… I love the beach too! If only I could live near both mountain and beach! 🙂

  • Patricia

    I just found your blog, and I wanted to tell you thank you for your encouraging and insightful posts on bulimia. Great ideas-I too found writing to God, writing in a journal, and being creative instrumental to my recovery (more than 14 years now). As you mention pets, I also felt healing from the love of my cat, an animal I rescued from a shelter and brought to my apartment. Yes, I believe nature plays a critical role in reminding us of the big picture. I love a scenic mountain setting, but the beach was always my refuge. Thanks for sharing your success!

  • lauren

    Bach Flower therapy is amazing!

    many people in Europe have discovered it, and they are often sold in Pharmacies. Bach Flower healers are as common as homeopaths there, and even pets take them.

    I do think they are under the radar and possibly woo-woo, but I have seen the benefits with my own eyes: on men who were resistant and on kids who had no idea what they were taking or why, thereby negating the placebo effect. It’s not double blind, but the proof is in the pudding. Plus, the books themselves inspire lots of self-evaluation.

  • christine

    Caren, Congrats on your first smiley! Now we need a 12-step group for smileys! 😀

    Heidi, thanks for the beautiful thought. Connection and community are so vital to so many things!

    Hannah, Yes, I got it. I will write you back! I’m preparing for a big show and video this week…

  • Hannah


    It’s Hannah who has sent you e-mail about the film project.
    I sent you e-mail with my address since I got your e-mail.
    Wonder if you get it or not. Plz check you e-mail.

    Thanks for all.

  • Heidi

    For me in early recovery I relied on my support network. I confessed my addiction and then recruited daily help from my parents and friends. In this way I was accountable on those days that I felt I couldn’t go on in addition I had someone to lean on. No one can change for you, but when I was ready to change enlisting help enabled me to get through until I was strong enough to emerge like a butterfly on my own.

  • Caren

    Oh, no – they’re addictive. :-/

  • Caren

    Annnndddd…. that was my first smiley! 😀

  • Caren

    In my own healing, I have found that regular contact with those who have been through it/are going through it has been… immeasureable, in terms of not feeling so alone, so freakish, helpless or hopeless. I have been clean in a 12-step group for a little over 15 years, and the power of sitting in those rooms hearing, “Yeah… I went through that” never diminishes. My involvement in that group taught me how to be honest, open and real in my relationships. At this point, most of my close soul-mate unconditionally loving friendships did not start in the group, but they wouldn’t have been possible without it.

    When I first got clean, I thought “Everyone needs this (recovery)!” but I have since matured to think that only *most* people need it! 😉
    No, actually, I was going to say that I now *don’t* believe 12-step groups are for everyone – but unconditionally loving relationships where you can be real and unhidden definitely *are*, however you get that need met. And it’s an added bonus if those people have dealt with/are dealing with some of the same issues you are — that process of identification has been vital for me.

  • christine

    Hi Kimberly, It’s okay if you don’t make it to Asheville on the 13th. I always encourage people only to do what feels right for them! (that’s why I don’t make a big huge fuss out of advertisting for my retreats. I only want people for whom it’s an absolute YES!) If you DO make it, come say hi! If not, well… that train set sounds way cool…

    Susan, Thanks for your thoughts. Knitting is like everything else I guess! That’s exactly the process I go through with writing songs.

  • Susan

    I think your suggestion of “craft night” is important. I also think handcrafts are important to do solo. Knitting is back in fashion (which means I get to be back in fashion again) and it is more popular than ever to belong to a knitting group. The tactile side of knitting is important to me. Feeling the differences in the textures of all the yarns. And the colors can be comforting or exciting or happy. Knitting and getting it right is very satisfying. But there is something to be said for ripping out and working back through a problem area. Patience, determination, concentration. And there is the other side, letting a small error remain within the work, knowing that for the most part you are the only one who will notice it, and that it’s okay for the flaw to be there. Many adolescent therapy groups are encouraging the participants to learn to knit. They are finding it very beneficial for these kids.


  • Kimberly


    Thanks again. I am in the middle of an extreme makeover that includes healing my eating issues (see extrememakeoverk.blogspot.com). I have dropped about 19 pounds since Sept. 1 but it has been a struggle! I have relied on food way too much the past five years!
    I may not make it to Asheville. I am a single mom and my little boy really wants a cool train set for Christmas that, while not very expensive, is still a little pricey. He doesn’t ask for much and he is a great, great kid. We’ll see how the week goes. It may all work out!
    Your blog inspired me to start my blog today. It is great therapy!


  • christine

    Susie, thanks for the extra thought. i agree with you about sunlight. really, outdoor anything is great for that isolated stuff we can all do! (taking a 20 minute walk is so fantastic)

    PTC, I’m so glad to hear you have kitties. I’m glad you’ve found blogging as a way to express yourself. In a way, it IS like journaling. I still like the pen to paper activity of writing though!

  • Palmtreechick

    I sit here typing with one of my cats sitting curled up next to me with his motor running too. 🙂

    I think your idea of journaling is excellent. I’m not anywhere near changing my ways with my eating issues, but I do find that writing helps a lot. That’s why I started blogging. I don’t feel comfortable writing things down on paper out of fear that someone will stumble upon them, which is kind of ironic because I am opening myself up to the entire world via the internet. Atleast this way no one nows who I am and I can write exactly how I feel.

  • Susie

    Hey Christine,
    I couldn’t agree more with what you and Anne have said about animals and flowers. Another great thing about pets is that you can talk to them out loud and they’ll love you unconditionally and most of the time, folks going through healing processes Need unconditional love.

    I suggest that if someone can’t have a pet, that they go volunteer at an animal shelther, they’re always looking for volunteers to walk and play with the cats and dogs. Not to mention, volunteering just feels great!

    If you don’t mind me retreating to my psychology degree, I also suggest sunlight. Whenever it’s a bright sun-shinny day, take a break to sit outside and enjoy the sunlight. Your body absorbs Vitamin D from the sun which is a natural mood lifter.

  • christine

    Anne…Thanks for the suggestion. It’s a great one!

  • anne

    Hi Christine,
    Couldn’t agree more about the animals! There are soooo many benefits to sharing your house and life with animals.
    I have always found that fresh flowers in the house have many benefits too. It’s very hard to look at something beautiful and not be removed from your own ‘suffering’ for a moment. If possible, grow the flowers in your yard and then cut a few for indoors, but even if you have no yard, I think it’s worth a splurge once a week to get some simple flowers for your kitchen or dining room or wherever. Or some indoor flowering plants that will stay alive for a long time. Currently it makes me smile every morning to see some volunteer Morning Glory growing up our back fence…..nature just plays a big healing role, period.