Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Creative Connection in the Recovery Process

Do you ever find that you’re at a loss for words about how to share your experience of the eating disorder with others?  Do you have a hard time figuring out what words to use for this largely ‘untalked’ about illness?

You’re not alone if you feel this way from time to time or even all the time! You can take some comfort in the fact that the even the top researchers, clinicians and universities (who have entire departments and staff) also don’t have all the answers. Thankfully, we are learning more but we still have a ways to go. Perhaps you might also feel that it’s not that helpful for others to know about your eating disorder?  When we talk about educating friends and family, I often hear from people, “they just wont get it!”.  Well they might not, but they wouldn’t be alone with that either, right? When it comes to eating disorders, there’s still a lot of unknowns.

Below is an example of creative eating disorder education. It was written by a patient who worked hard to gain an understanding of the illness for herself so that she could explain her experience to others. Art and writing were essential tools for her. This is her comparison between an eating disorder and the film, The Lord of the Rings. Take a look even if you haven’t seen the movie!

The Lord of the Rings

I can see a close connection between the ring and the eating disorder, and how people deal with each of them. In The Lord of the Rings (LOTR), the ring is very powerful and everyone thinks that once they have it, it will give them a lot of power, when actually it will only gain a lot of power over them. Several characters – like Boramir – think that they can use the power of the ring to do good, but in reality the ring only corrupts the person in possession of it, and destroys everything it can. The ring is also incredibly attractive (for lack of a better word). When in its presence it is extremely hard to resist it. So, the eating disorder is irresistible at times, has a lot of power, but instead of giving it, it gains it, and though one may attempt to use it for their benefit or the general good, its soul purpose is to damage and destroy.

The only solution, as Frodo and his fellowship realize, is to destroy the ring (in Mount Mordo, the only place it can be destroyed – I’m such a dork that I know this!). This is a very long, painful, exhausting journey for Frodo who has taken on the burden of the ring, and Sam who is helping him. While Frodo is the only one who can carry the ring (because no one else can go that long without it corrupting them, for some reason), Sam is at his side the entire time supporting him and trying to take care of the rest of his problems so that all he has to deal with is the incredible weight of the ring.

Sam is sort of representative of the support that someone with an eating disorder needs, and I have. A characteristic moment of this type of support is when they are climbing Mound Mordor and they are aaaaalmost there and Frodo collapses from exhaustion. Sam says, “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you!” and he carries him up on his back. (He’s my favorite character). That’s sort of how it is with the eating disorder, no one can make you recover, but they can give you support and encouragement. Anyways, I’m not saying I’m as courageous as Frodo, (I mean he saved the whole world from evil basically, not just himself), but I think the burden of the ring is very similar to an eating disorder.


Thank you to the person (you know who you are) who shared this wonderful example of a movie/eating disorder analogy. The hope of posting it here on WARTD is to encourage others to reach past the difficulties of educating the loved ones in your life.

This is creative connection in the recovery process!!!

Photos/media come from Photobucket!


2 Responses to “Creative Connection in the Recovery Process”
  1. Sarah says:

    And Gollum, who has totally succumbed to the ring/eating disorder, becomes a creature totally unrecognisable to those who once knew him and also to himself…

  2. Lindsee says:

    This is kind of ironic in a good way. I’m in my second year of recovery after I had battled binge eating disorder for 15 years and a year of anorexia and I actually used Lord of the rings as a visual example with Gollum’s split personaility in a newspaper interview a few months ago I did for awareness week about eating disorders to describe what having BDD felt like but I described the evil unhealthy voice sounded more like Reagan’s in The Exorcist. That seems like a deeper thought metaphor and wish I thought of that detail.

    Apparently movies seem to be the best visual metaphors that could be used for the process of helping someone understand an indivdual who is going or has gone through any form of an eating disorder.

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